Top News: Egypt expects $1.5 billion in aid by year-end, eyeing IMF

Egypt expects to receive $1.5 billion for budget support from the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) by the end of the year, according to International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr. Egypt could also discuss potential financing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) once Egypt’s new parliament convenes. Nasr said she had negotiated loans with the World Bank and AfDB worth $3 billion and $1.5 billion respectively, which will be disbursed over three years with the first tranche arriving “within days” of the deals being signed later this month. The economic reform program Egypt launched in June 2014 helped it secure the aid without a list of specific conditions. Nasr said the loan would bring much-needed foreign exchange into Egypt. Egypt also expects to receive EUR 370 million in budget support from the European Union over three years, Nasr said, without elaborating. Meanwhile, Egypt signed a EUR 100 million loan agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on Tuesday to upgrade Cairo’s second metro line. On Sunday, Egypt signed a $600 million loan deal with the European Investment Bank to finance a new power plant in Beheira. [Reuters, 12/8/2015]


Nine Mohamed Mahmoud protesters referred to court over violating protest law
The Qasr al-Nil prosecution referred nine people on Tuesday to misdemeanor court on charges of violating Egypt’s protest law. The defendants are accused of disrupting traffic, illegal assembly, disseminating leaflets, and protesting without a permit. The nine defendants were arrested on November 22 during a protest to commemorate the fourth anniversary of deadly clashes between protesters and security forces in Cairo’s Mohamed Mahmoud Street in 2011. An Egyptian court accepted in November the prosecution’s motion to remand the nine people in custody, after they were arrested for “illegal assembly” and “protesting without a permit.” [Cairo Post, 12/8/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Renowned chemist accused of Brotherhood links released from custody | Anadolu Agency


Russian airline to seek compensation from Egypt over Sinai crash
Russian airline Metrojet is planning to seek compensation from Egyptian authorities over the crash of its Airbus A321 passenger jet over Sinai on October 31, Russian news agency TASS reported. Forbes quoted the owner of Metrojet’s parent company Russian Tourist Holding TH&C Ismail Lepiyev as saying, “Since there is a clear cause for the disaster, then we [the company] have the right to receive compensation from the country where the attack occurred.” He added, “Egypt is Russia’s partner in many spheres, these are the relations that have been built over decades, and we respect this and will try to agree to the last on compensation without judicial steps.” [Ahram Online, DNE, 12/7/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt stocks tumble on profit-taking, Arab sell-off | Ahram Online
  • Egypt sees tourist returns down 10 percent after plane crash, eyes gradual recovery | Reuters
  • Egypt will not take loan from Hungary to buy trains says Transport Minister | AMAY
  • Mega-projects event aims to drum up investors | DNE
  • Egypt stocks tumble on profit-taking, Arab sell-off | Ahram Online
  • EGPC negotiating to delay dollar payments owed to banks | Reuters
  • Egypt’s external debt down to $46 billion in Q1 of 2015/16 says CBE | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
  • Obstacles discussed at Egypt Automotive summit | DNE
  • Egypt targets production of 1 million vehicles a year by 2025 | Egypt Independent
  • Cairo Governor, Tourism Minister plan to develop downtown Cairo | AMAY
  • CBE says EGP 1.8 trillion increase in banks’ deposits at end of September | SIS
  • Prime Minister urges purchase of local products, cutting consumption | SIS
  • Petroleum Minister witnesses signing two deals for oil, gas exploration | SIS
  • Prime Minister meets Planning Minister on economic policies | SIS
  • Fifty vessels transit Suez Canal on Monday | SIS
  • Business contracting at fastest rate since 2013, employment falls steeply says survey | Mada Masr


Endowments Ministry uses Friday sermon to warn against January 25 protest
Egypt’s Endowments Ministry declared sermons nationwide this Friday will focus on “destructive calls” to destabilize the country and spread sedition, referring indirectly to calls for anti-government protests on the upcoming fifth anniversary of the January 25 revolution. The model sermon, published Sunday on the ministry’s official website, described those calling for January 25 protests as “ill-hearted, weak believers; those who don’t believe in the country and carry extremist ideas, who work on disintegrating society and destabilizing it.” The ministry asserted such calls are “malignant conspiracies” that aim to destroy the state, spread chaos, breach the state of law, threaten national security and fuel extremism and terrorism. The sermon stresses the importance of obeying the “guardians” — a term used in Islamic theology to refer to political leaders. “Obeying guardians is like obeying God and upholding the interests of the country should be a way by which Muslims get closer to God. If [a guardian] orders [him/her] to do or not do something, obedience is obligatory, as long as the order veers away from what God has prohibited,” the speech continued. The ministry asserted the consequences of disobeying political leaders are wider reaching than the benefits of obedience, and that there are various peaceful and democratic means of advice and reform. [Mada Masr, 12/8/2015]

Journalists to rally at Press Syndicate Wednesday
The Press Syndicate’s Freedoms Committee plans to protest Wednesday evening in front of the syndicate building to call for the release and medical treatment of detained journalists. After the protest, participants will hold a conference as part of a campaign launched Monday by the syndicate. There are currently 32 journalists (not only syndicate members) detained in various cases, including 18 in cases related to journalism, Khaled al-Balshy, the committee head said.  Between seven and nine of these detained journalists are in dire need of medical care. [Ahram Online, DNE, 12/8/2015]

Travel ban upheld for activist Esraa Abdel Fattah
The Cairo Criminal Court on Monday upheld a 2014 travel ban on activist Esraa Abdel Fattah and two others, turning down challenges by their defense lawyers. Osama Kamal, Abdel Fattah’s lawyer, said he will maintain his challenge against the ban before the Supreme Administrative Court, noting that no official charges had been filed against his client nor has she been interrogated since December 2014, when she was banned from traveling to Germany. [AMAY, 12/8/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Fourth suspect in Agouza nightclub attack arrested | DNE, Aswat Masriya, Cairo Post
  • Brotherhood prisoners start hunger strike in Mansoura jail | DNE, AMAY
  • Exempting domestic workers from labor law consolidates exploitation, violence says NCCM | AMAY
  • Expelled Cairo University students file for readmission | AMAY
  • Egypt inaugurates museum inside Cairo airport | Aswat Masriya


IED kills four security personnel in Egypt’s North Sinai
Four police conscript were reportedly killed on Tuesday and four others wounded by a roadside IED in the North Sinai town of Rafah, security sources said. The roadside bomb, remotely detonated by suspected militants, targeted an armored vehicle carrying the conscripts as it passed by a police station in the town’s center, near the border with Gaza and Israel. Security forces have been scanning the area searching for the perpetrators. [Ahram Online, AMAY, 12/7/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt, Greece carry out Medusa 2015 joint training | SIS
  • Al-Sisi discusses security with defence minister | DNE, SIS


Egyptian minister says talk of international arbitration on Ethiopian dam is ‘premature’
Egyptian Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazy says it is “premature” to talk about resorting to international arbitration over Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam. Egypt, which relies almost entirely on the Nile for farming and drinking water, has expressed fears the hydroelectric dam will significantly cut the supply of water downstream. Moghazy said Monday that negotiations with Addis Ababa are underway pursuant to a cooperation deal signed last March. He also ruled out that Cairo seeks to involve African intermediaries in the issue. Moghazy’s remarks followed assertions made on Sunday by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir that the Ethiopian dam project has become “a reality.” [Ahram Online, 12/7/2015]

Sisi begins three-day visit to Greece
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi began a three-day visit to Greece on Tuesday, meeting first with the country’s President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. With the visit, the two countries seek to uphold their commitment to advancing steadfast relations, broadening the horizons of cooperation, and strengthening the longstanding and historic friendship between the two nations, according to a statement from the Egyptian presidency. Sisi is also expected to meet Greek Minister of National Defence Panos Kammenos to discuss ways to advance military and security relations in the face of current challenges in the region. A trilateral summit will be held between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus on Wednesday, and is part of a series of ongoing summits aimed at encouraging cooperation on a range of strategic matters including security, energy, and a number of signed agreements between the nations. [DNE, AP, Reuters, SIS, Cairo Post, 12/8/2015]

UN official expresses concern about Egypt’s human rights abuses
UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic expressed concern Monday about human rights abuses and rule of law in Egypt. He said UN chief Ban Ki-moon had raised concerns especially about the death sentences of dozens of defendants, including the country’s first freely elected President Mohamed Morsi. The mass criminal proceedings “were not befitting rule of law standards and criteria,” according to Simonovic. He added that after the ouster, the military-backed authorities launched a massive crackdown on Morsi supporters, with scores of defendants handed long-term prison terms or the death penalty. Simonovic also expressed sadness that “the Arab Spring that we were all closely observing now is stuck in a situation” marked by rights abuses. His remarks come days before the December 10 Human Rights Day and follows criticism by Ban directed toward the death of five Sudanese migrants in Egypt in November. [Anadolu Agency, 12/8/2015]

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