Top News: Egypt, Saudi Arabia issue “Cairo Declaration” to Strengthen Cooperation

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed Bin Salman issued what they name the “Cairo Declaration,” outlining six facets of cooperation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia,  notably enhancing cooperation in the military, investment, trade, politics, culture, and media sectors. The document is meant to reinforce the strategic alliance between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. “The two sides stressed the need to exert all efforts to boost security and stability in the region, and to work together to protect Arab national security,” Sisi’s office said after the signing. [AFPDNEAPSIS, 7/31/2015]

Thirty-eight alleged Brotherhood members referred to military trial
The Suez prosecution referred thirty-eight alleged Muslim Brotherhood members to military trial over charges of setting fire to cars belonging to the Suez Oil company in February, a security source said on Friday. The defendants were accused of committing crimes of “vandalism and setting eight cars ablaze in order to carry out a terrorist act,” the source added. Earlier this week, a total of twenty-two defendants, also allegedly belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood group, were reportedly sentenced to life in absentia by a military court on charges of attacking a police station in Upper Egypt’s governorate of Assiut. Another seven defendants in the same case, who were present during the court session, were sentenced to seven years in prison. [Aswat Masriya, Cairo Post, 7/31/2015]

Egypt raises electricity prices for mid to high household usage
Egypt raised electricity prices on Thursday for mid to high household usage by an average of 19 percent for the 2015/2016 fiscal year, the electricity ministry said on Thursday. The government began raising electricity prices last year as part of a five year plan to reduce subsidies. Low-end household consumption is not affected by the latest rises. Mid-level household usage was the most affected by the latest price increases, with prices for consumption rising by just over 27 percent. [Reuters, Egypt Independent 7/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt central bank keeps benchmark rates unchanged: Statement | Reuters
  • Minister expects Suez Canal returns growth by 9 percent | Egypt Independent
  • Critics say Suez Canal project falls short of expectations | Al-Monitor
  • New Port Said Canal digging to take five working months | Cairo Post

Al-Azhar condemns calls for protests on Raba’a al-Adaweya anniversary
Al-Azhar, Egypt’s primary religious institution, condemned, in a Friday statement, calls for protests by a group called the Al-Azhar Scholars Front on the anniversary of the dispersal of the pro-Mohamed Morsi Raba’a al-Adaweya sit-in. Last Wednesday, the Al-Azhar Scholars Front called for people to protest on the second anniversary of the dispersals. Al-Azhar noted in its statement that the Front was dissolved in 1999, and warned against the group’s schemes, as it aims “to destabilize security” in the country. The statement added that the Front has no relation with Al-Azhar itself, noting that legal action will be taken against anyone belonging to the Front. Al-Azhar stressed that such calls seek “to spoil the joy of the Egyptians in the celebration of the completion of the new Suez Canal project,” which is set to open on 6 August. [DNE, 7/31/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Stories of veiled women banned from entering resorts and restaurants | Egypt Independent, DNE  
  • Media professionals issue recommendations on covering terrorism | Ahram Online
  • Koraymat power station breakdown causes power cuts in 3 governorates | Egypt Independent
  • Truck owners criticize import, license ban | Egypt Independent
  • Water shortages bring suffering to Egypt’s countryside | Mada Masr
  • Egypt train, metro tickets free of charge August 6 | Cairo Post
  • Pope: Church still studying personal status bill | Egypt Independent

Security measures beefed up in Suez
Security authorities stepped up measures on Friday across the Suez governorate—focusing on the eastern and western parts of the Suez Canal area and Ataka Mountains—to secure the inauguration ceremony of the New Suez Canal on August 6. Police forces deployed checkpoints and patrols to the entrances and exits of the governorate, a security source said. [Egypt Independent, 7/31/2015]

Egyptian fishermen in Sudan to be tried on Sunday
According to head of the independent fishermen union in Daqahlia, Taha al-Sheraidy, the Sudanese court adjourned the trial of 101 Egyptian fishermen, charged with espionage, to Sunday. He added that the Egyptian government is exerting great efforts to release the fishermen, pointing out that the ministers of agriculture and irrigation have attempted to solve the problem during a recent visit to Sudan. The evidence brought against the fishermen includes five photos and five videos of military installations, the union’s lawyer, Samy al-Ghabn said. The fishermen have reportedly denied the charges adding the photos and videos were shot after their arrest. [Egypt Independent, 7/31/2015]  

Also of Interest

  • New F-16s to fly over Cairo to celebrate arrival from US | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s Sisi expresses support for Bahrain’s counterterrorism efforts | Ahram Online, SIS  
  • Egypt condemns Israel for new settlements decision | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Turkey snubbed in Suez Canal Opening celebrations | Ahram Online  
  • Sale of Northampton’s Sekhemka statue sets dangerous precedent | The Guardian