Egypt’s foreign minister accused Qatar, Turkey, and Hamas on Thursday of conspiring to undermine Cairo’s efforts to bring about a ceasefire between the Palestinian militant group and Israel in Gaza, Egypt’s state news agency reported.


Sisi orders formation of general secretariat of the National Defense Council
President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has ordered the formation of the general secretariat of the National Defense Council (NDC), Al-Ahram reported. The NDC is headed by Sisi and was reconstituted by a decree issued by interim president Adly Mansour in February. The secretariat will be headed by a general secretary, who will be recommended by the defense minister and appointed by Sisi. The defense minister appoints the members of the secretariat, mostly army officers as well as officials from other state institutions. Its headquarters will be at the defense ministry. The secretariat’s tasks include forming the agenda of the NDC, and conducting research for the NDC. The general secretary will also be accountable to the judiciary, and has the authority to request any documents from the judicial and executive authorities as well as other institutions. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 7/18/2014]

Egypt to create three new governorates
Sources say the government has agreed to the establishment of three new governorates in central Sinai, al-Alamein, and the Bahariya Oasis as part of the redemarcation process of the country’s provinces. The project is headed by Minister of Local Development Adel Labib, who stressed that the demarcation process is aimed at promoting development and social justice. The process is expected to be completed within a year. Meanwhile, the ministry of housing announced that new housing projects will be launched in each of the new governorates. [Shorouk (Arabic), 7/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egyptian National Movement will not join Moussa’s alliance | Egypt Independent, Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • High Elections Commission to amend regulations on religious slogans | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Parties to announce initial parliamentary alliances next week | Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Politicians demand harsher punishments for sexual harassment | Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Politicians prepare to launch Egyptian Front alliance | Al-Ahram (Arabic)


Defense lawyer in “Tahrir harassment” case questions police evidence
A defense lawyer in the Tahrir harassment case has questioned police evidence upon which his client was sentenced to life in prison in three different harassment cases. Amr Mohamed Fahim is one of nine defendants who have received sentences from 20 years to life in prison over four separate sexual harassment cases. “The police were not completely unbiased,” Mahmoud Sami Qarni, Fahim’s lawyer, told Aswat Masriya. Qarni considered that the suspects standing directly before the victims and not in a line of suspects “illegal.” He said that the evidence against his client is very weak and claimed that the pictures taken during the harassment incidents did not show the convicts and did not prove their involvement. Qarni’s team is preparing to appeal the verdict in hopes of annulling it and getting a retrial. [Aswat Masriya, 7/17/2014]

Sources: Morsi’s son arrested in Upper Egypt-bound train
Authorities arrested on Friday morning Abdallah Morsi, son of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, in a train headed to Upper Egypt. Abdallah Morsi, whom the authorities consider a fugitive, was previously convicted in a hashish possession case. Morsi, 19, was arrested while boarding a train bound for Upper Egypt, the state-run Middle East News Agency said. According to security sources, he planned to travel to Libya or Sudan through Fayoum. Earlier in July, a court sentenced him and one of his friends in absentia to one year and fined him EGP 10,000. [Aswat Masriya, 7/18/2014]

Also of Interest:


Egypt raises interest rates to curb inflation
Egypt’s central bank raised the overnight deposit rate, overnight lending rate and the rate of the bank’s main operation by 100 basis points to 9.25 percent, 10.25 percent, and 9.75 percent, respectively. The decision made by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) on Thursday aims to contain inflation, expected to increase in July as a consequence of price increases on subsidized fuel and electricity. [Reuters, 7/17/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt’s oil and gas production dips in May | Ahram Online
  • European Bank allocates $50 million to investment projects in Egypt | Egypt Independent
  • Cabinet considers implementing monetary subsidies | Mada Masr


National Alliance to Support Legitimacy calls for protests in support of Palestinians
Muslim Brotherhood supporters marched in solidarity with Gaza on Friday, as the pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy called for protests in support of Palestinians. Marches started in Cairo’s Zeitoun district, and police dispersed a march in al-Mounib after protesters blocked traffic. Security forces arrested five Brotherhood supporters marching to Alexandria, as police reinforcements were deployed in anticipation of Brotherhood protests. Meanwhile, in the Giza governorate, police dispersed a protest in using teargas. Clashes also broke out between security forces and hundreds of Broterhood supporters in Fayoum after Friday prayers, and security forces intensified their presence in Damietta in preparation for pro-Morsi demonstrations. [Ahram Online, 7/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt: After the revolution comes the battle for language | The Guardian
  • Zakat fund will address poverty and unemployment | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • University of Cairo students plan protest to support dismissed students | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Egyptian TV presenter apologizes for insulting Moroccans on air | Ahram Online, Mada Masr
  • Egypt’s foreign minister angered by anchor’s insults to Moroccan people | Ahram Online


Security alert at border after Israeli ground campaign in Gaza
Security forces at the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip are on high alert after Israel launched a ground campaign launched against Gaza on Thursday night. Intense firing began along Gaza’s borders, Gaza residents and eyewitnesses said. Security forces are continuing to sweep and monitor various border areas, security sources said in a press release. Security was intensified at the entrances and exits of roads leading to the borders and checkpoints were set up to check passing vehicles. [Aswat Masriya, AMAY (Arabic), 7/18/2014]


Egypt says Qatar, Turkey, and Hamas hurt Gaza ceasefire bid
Egypt’s foreign minister accused Qatar, Turkey, and Hamas on Thursday of conspiring to undermine Cairo’s efforts to bring about a ceasefire between the Palestinian militant group and Israel in Gaza, Egypt’s state news agency reported. The news comes after Qatari officials said it is time for the Gulf state to step in as a mediator, citing its close links to the Palestinian group. While US officials say Washington has asked Qatar to try to influence Hamas, whose leader lives in Doha, they emphasize that those links mean Israel is unlikely to accept it as a mediator.  In Cairo, following talks between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a joint statement was issued stating that both leaders agreed on the necessity of an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Such a ceasefire is to be based on the terms and conditions of the Cairo-brokered ceasefire of 2012, the statement noted. Sisi also said that flexibility on both sides was necessary to stop the Gaza conflict. Hours later, Israel announced the launch of its ground operation in the Gaza Strip, prompting the Egyptian foreign ministry to express its condemnation of the move, and call on Israel to exercise “maximum restraint.” Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry also contacted Arab and international leaders in an effort to stop ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip after the start of the ground assault late Thursday night. Shoukry spoke to the foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan, as well as the secretary general of the Arab League and US Secretary of State John Kerry. Finally, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrived in Cairo as part of a diplomatic push to stop the fighting in Gaza, holding a meeting with Abbas at Cairo Airport prior to the latter’s departure. [Reuters, Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 7/18/2014]

EU parliament calls for ban on export of military, surveillance equipment to Egypt
The European parliament on Thursday passed a resolution calling on the European Union (EU) to take action regarding Egypt in light of various infringements on rights of the press and expression. The resolution called on the EU to ban the export of all “intrusion and surveillance technologies” citing possible use “to spy on and repress citizens”, and an additional ban on security equipment and military aid to Egypt “that could be used in the suppression of peaceful protest”. Thursday’s resolution also urged the Egyptian government to “immediately and unconditionally release all those detained, convicted and/or sentenced solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedoms of expression and association.” The EU parliament also expressed its “deepest concern” over a number of court cases, including the sentencing of Al-Jazeera journalists and mass death sentences. [DNE, Mada Masr, 7/17/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Hillary Clinton: Without Morsi, Hamas feels ‘trapped’ | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to hold tripartite meeting in August | Ahram Online
  • Kuwaiti emir thanks al-Sisi for making Gulf security an Egyptian concern | Ahram Online
  • Shoukry: Egypt-US relations better since June 30 | Ahram Online
  • Egyptian official: UAE to consider providing $3 billion in guarantees for debt to foreign partners | DNE
  • Denmark lifts travel ban on Cairo and Sharm al-Sheikh | Aswat Masriya, AMAY (Arabic)
  • Foreign Ministry discusses situation of Egyptians living in Libya | SIS, Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Endowments Ministry: No normalization with Israel | SIS
  • Egypt, Switzerland agree on organizing training on transitional justice | SIS
  • Putin: Sisi protected Egypt against collapse | SIS, Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Shoukry: there is no truth to investigations of State Department ties with Muslim Brotherhood | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Sisi emphasizes need for unified Arab position towards Iraq | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)