Top News: Egypt-IMF loan deal to unlock EU’s further aid

Ambassador James Moran – Head of Delegation of the European Union to Egypt – said the EU’s upcoming aid package to Egypt depends on obtaining an IMF loan, which would certify global trust in the Egyptian economy.


Interior Minister warns Brothers against disrupting referendum
Egypt’s Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim delivered a press conference on Wednesday in which he warned the Muslim Brotherhood against protests to disrupt the referendum on the new draft constitution, which is immanently expected. Ibrahim maintained, “The Brotherhood will not achieve their goal [of interrupting the referendum],” confirming that both the army and police forces would protect voters and safeguard polling stations. The minister delivered his speech against a backdrop of police crackdowns on widening student protests at universities across the country. [Mada Masr, 12/11/2013]

I dreamt that I will be a president: Sisi’s leak
A leaked recording of the head of Egypt’s Armed Forces Abdel Fattah al-Sisi talking about his ability to foresee future events in dreams, in which he predicted that he would become President, stimulated a wave of sarcastic comments, caricatures and even poems on social media. The recording was supposedly leaked from off-the-record comments Sisi gave to daily Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper in October following an official interview. However, the authenticity of the recording has not been verified. In the recording, Sisi tells Al-Masry Al-Youm’s Chief Editor Yasser Rizk, who conducted the interview, that he has always had an ability to foresee events through dreams, which often come true. [Mada Masr, Shorouk (Arabic), KarmaMole, 12/12/2013]

Also of Interest:
Nour party ready to mediate between the state and Muslim Brotherhood: Bakkar | Shorouk (Arabic), AMA (Arabic)  
Egypt’s president to announce referendum date on Saturday | Ahram Online, SIS, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr
Egypt’s interior minister against return of university guards | Ahram Online
Mansour amends political rights law | SIS
Cabinet plans to attract tourists through live online broadcasts | Egypt Independent


Twenty-nine pro-Brotherhood students referred to trial
Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat referred twenty-nine pro-Muslim Brotherhood students to the Cairo Criminal Court over charges of committing acts of violence, sabotage, and breaking into the administrative building of Al-Azhar University on October 30. The students were detained pending trial. They are also charged with assembly for the purpose of influencing authorities and disrupting law, as well as the possession knives and thuggery. Ten students were arrested in the clashes with security forces on Monday and a private bus was torched by demonstrators. [Egypt Independent, 12/12/2013]

Over a dozen arrested for ‘protesting without notice’
Fourteen people are facing the charge of “protesting without notice,” among others, upon being arrested in Cairo during two separate incidents which did not involve protesting. Four young men were arrested in the vicinity of Haram, Giza on Tuesday while putting up posters against the newly-passed and highly-controversial Protest Law. They have since each been released on EGP 5000 bail. In a separate incident, ten Al-Azhar University students were arrested from a coffee shop on Monday; they also face the charge of protesting without a notice, among others. The Protest Law has garnered wide criticism from domestic as well as international human rights organizations since its issuance on November 24. Several political movements have also criticized the law. [DNE, 12/12/2013]

Also of Interest:
Judge recuses himself from Nile University case | DNE
High Elections Committee suggests fine for skipping referendum | Egypt Independent


Amb. James Moran: Egypt-IMF loan deal to unlock EU’s further aid
Ambassador James Moran – Head of Delegation of the European Union to Egypt – said the EU’s upcoming aid package to Egypt depends on obtaining an IMF loan, which would certify global trust in the Egyptian economy. Moran was delivering a keynote speech in a press conference held on Thursday regarding a €20 million aid package granted by the EU in cooperation with the German Agency for International Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit -GIZ). [Amwal al-Ghad]

Also of Interest:
Egyptian Bourse inches up despite students and police clashing | Ahram Online
EGP 80.3 billion in tax revenues collected in six months: tax authority | Egypt Independent
Egypt, KSA ink three agreements of electricity linkage | SIS, Mada Masr
Egypt pound strengthens slightly at Forex auction | DNE
Bread and commodity subsidies EGP 35 billion: Supply Ministry | Egypt Independent


Bassem Youssef, Heba Morayef, and Hossam Bahgat among 2013 FP global thinkers
Foreign Policy magazine has selected satirist Bassem Youssef and human rights activists Heba Morayef and Hossam Bahgat from Egypt among its FP global thinkers of 2013. Egyptian satirist and TV host Bassem Youssef was chosen as one of the top 2013 chroniclers worldwide among reporters, TV hosts and columnists such as Thomas Friedman and NASA’s Mars Rover Team. Egyptian human rights activists Heba Morayef and Hossam Bahgat were also chosen among top human rights activists, who included the young Pakistani Malala Youssef. “Morayef and Bahgat know they’ve made themselves targets for both sides of the political divide. But their activism may just be the antidote to what appears to be Egypt’s slide back toward dictatorship,” the magazine said. Morayef is Egypt’s director of Human Rights Watch. She was nominated for Time’s prestigious top 100 list in 2012. Bahgat is the founder of The Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights, the leading independent Egyptian rights organization. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 12/12/2013]

Egypt’s pro-Morsi coalition renews calls for Friday protests
Egypt’s main Islamist alliance, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, has called on its supporters to take to the streets on Friday in solidarity with protesting university students angered by the killing of their peers during clashes with security forces. Referring to the country’s current interim authorities, the coalition said Thursday in a statement that the students “once again crushed the illusions of those who dreamt of reaching Egypt’s throne with ammunitions, by giving the revolution a new push with [their] creative bravery, determination and peacefulness.” Since the beginning of the academic year in September, Egyptian universities have been at the heart of the unrest gripping the country since Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was ousted early July. Pro-Morsi students have organized near-daily protests to call for his reinstatement and denounce the arrest of fellow students in similar demonstrations. [Ahram Online, Ahram Gate (Arabic), 12/12/2013]

Also of Interest:
Clashes around ministry of defense between police and Brotherhood students | EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), Aswat Masriya
April 6 considers revoking support of July 8 roadmap | Ahram Gate (Arabic)
Cairo University engineering students suspend sit-in | Ahram Online
EIPR announces support for Iron and Steel workers’ demands | DNE
Brotherhood dissident forms anti-violence current | Egypt independent
Civil liberties in draft constitution less than international standards: EIPR | Egypt Independent
Cairo University says only engineering classes suspended | Mada Masr
DNE Investigates: Politicized sentencing and the Alex 21 | DNE


164 killed, 592 arrested in Sinai since July
Military operations taking place in Sinai since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi in July have resulted in 164 deaths and 592 arrests, as confirmed by a military source, state-owned Al-Ahram portal reported. The source also announced that operations would undergo a shift in nature, becoming more preemptive and attacking perceived terrorist hubs before they are active. Additionally, military checkpoints will increase and Special Forces will operate in small groups to better enable them to snare “terrorists.” Among those who have been arrested are 440 Egyptians, with the remainder from Palestine, Eritrea, America, Britain, Norway, Germany and Italy. This confirms that foreign elements have made Sinai a scene for their “Jihadist criminal operations,” the source added. [Mada Masr, 12/12/2013]


Tehran seeks close ‘regional cooperation’ with Egypt: Iranian official  
Iran’s deputy minister of foreign affairs said Wednesday during a meeting with an Egyptian popular diplomacy delegation currently visiting Tehran that his country’s foreign policy was based on the presence of Egypt within the “regional equation.” “There are huge powers who don’t want to see a strong Egypt and work on weakening it. At this point Egypt should restore its leading position in the Arab world and face such foreign ambitions through cooperation with other countries in the region,” Egypt’s state-run news agency MENA quoted Hadi Soleimanpour as saying. Soleimanpour called for setting aside issues of disagreement and taking advantage of areas in which both countries can build a “strategy for Mideastern collaboration.” [Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), 12/12/2013]

US welcomes reduced sentences of pro-Morsi female protesters, concerned over arrests
US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Wednesday the United States welcomes the reduced sentences of the Muslim Brotherhood trials in Egypt but with remaining concerns over the climate leading to arrests and detentions. On the December 11 daily press briefing, Psaki said the United States had closely followed the trials of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt and were pleased with the release of some pro-Brotherhood female demonstrators. “We continue to look to the government of Egypt to ensure the Egyptians are afforded due process with fair and transparent trials, and continue to convey our belief that civilians should be sent to civilian courts,” Psaki said. Psaki also reaffirmed American commitment to a just legal system. “We continue to look to the Government of Egypt to ensure the Egyptians are afforded due process with fair and transparent trials, and continue to convey our belief that civilians should be sent to civilian courts. We have consistently called for an end to politicized arrests and detentions, and we will continue to do so.” [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 12/12/2013]

Also of Interest:
Gulf summit backs Egypt, praises Iran, warns Syria | Ahram Online
Egypt and Libya deny cutting ties over Qadhafi’s cousin | Mada Masr

Image: Photo: European Parliament