Top News: Israel Embassy Reopens Doors in Egypt after Four Year Closure

Israel has reopened an embassy in Cairo after four years of closure, the Israeli prime minister’s spokesman to the Arab media, Ofir Gendelman, announced on Wednesday. The Tel Aviv mission in Egypt closed its doors in the aftermath of the storming of its former premises in Giza in 2011 amid anti-Israel protests. Israel opened its new embassy inside its ambassador’s residence, saying on Thursday that holdups in finding separate premises as is customary had encumbered an already challenging relationship with Egypt. Months of scouting for a separate embassy building had been snagged by wrangling over leases and security arrangements, Israeli and Egyptian diplomats said. They described the new location in Ambassador Haim Koren’s residence as temporary. Dore Gold, Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, attended the reopening ceremony along with Israel’s ambassador to Cairo Haiem Koren. “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu and President al-Sisi we have seen off threats and we are working with Egypt to achieve stability in the region,” Gold said at the event, adding that “Egypt will always remain the region’s biggest and most significant country.” [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Egypt Independent, 9/10/2015]


Egypt Elections Committee will redraw constituency boundaries in Cairo and Qena
The High Elections Committee (HEC) announced on Wednesday that it will redraw the boundaries of electoral constituencies in Cairo and Qena, in accordance with an Administrative Court ruling issued on Monday. The ruling also stipulated that candidates must retake medical checkups performed in February. On Monday, the Administrative Court ruled that the cabinet must redraw two constituency boundaries due to administrative errors committed. HEC Spokesman Omar Marwan, meanwhile, confirmed that the court ruling would not lead to a delay in the elections. Meanwhile, the HEC accepted Thursday the application of steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz to stand as a nominated candidate in the elections despite Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court upholding a ruling on Tuesday to disqualify his candidacy. Ezz’s solicitor Mohamed Hamouda, who submitted the application, said the ruling was relevant only to Ezz’s potential nomination for elections planned for March 2015, which were postponed. The total number of candidates who have applied to run in the elections increased on Wednesday to 4,532. [Ahram Online, 9/10/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Muslim Brotherhood reportedly debates negotiating with Egypt’s regime | AMAY
  • Freedom and Justice Party speaker calls on Brotherhood leaders to step down | AMAY


Armed Forces’ Chief of Staff to testify in Morsi’s Qatar espionage case
The Cairo Criminal Court postponed to Thursday the ongoing trial against former president Mohamed Morsi and ten other defendants, to listen to the testimony of current Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Lieutenant General Mahmoud Hegazy. Hegazy is also the current Vice President of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and was the former Head of Military Intelligence. The session was postponed as Morsi was unable to attend due to unfavourable weather conditions. In Tuesday’s session, former Chief of the Republican Guard Mohamed Zaki testified that the documents included as evidence in the case had been presented to the former president, but had not been returned in order to be archived. The documents are “top secret” military files. Zaki explained that all documents belonging to the Armed Forces are first delivered to the office of the Chief of the Republican Guard to be registered in the archive and then presented to the president to be ratified, before being returned to the archive once again. [DNE, 9/9/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Former Brotherhood minister’s health condition deteriorates in prison | DNE, AMAY


Egypt achieves $3.7 billion surplus in balance of payments for FY 2014/2015
Egypt’s economic transactions during fiscal year (FY) 2014/2015 achieved a surplus of $3.7 billion in the balance of payments, according to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE). This comes after a surplus of about $1.5 billion in FY 2013/2014. The CBE said the surplus in the balance of payments resulted from capital and fiscal transactions that achieved a net inflow of about $17.6 billion due to increased foreign investments in Egypt. According to the bank, inflows of foreign direct investment in Egypt increased from $4.1 billion to $6.4 billion in FY2014/2015. A surplus in services and income balance also contributed to the overall surplus in the country’s balance of payments. These developments follow a 13 percent increase in Egypt’s trade deficit in FY 2014/2015.[DNE, 9/9/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Qalaa Holding to expand Nile transportation project to Adabiya, Damietta ports | DNE
  • Eni to add three hundred million cubic feet of gas daily from Noras field by year-end | DNE
  • Egypt’s gas find refires exploration plans but wider Mediterranean overlooked | Reuters
  • Government should use economy to improve people’s livelihood: German Embassy official | DNE
  • Egypt’s urban consumer inflation drops to 7.9 percent in August: CAPMAS | Reuters
  • Technical proposals for electricity interconnection project with Saudi Arabia to be presented | DNE
  • Czech textile firm Pegas signs deal for new Egypt production | Reuters
  • Egypt pound steady at dollar sale, sharply higher at exchange bureaux | Reuters
  • Sisi approves loan with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development | SIS
  • Egyptian Businessmen Association, Polish delegation confer on investment opportunities in Egypt | SIS
  • Minister’s remarks about depreciation stoke tension with Central Bank | Mada Masr


Egyptian student becomes anti-corruption icon
Schoolgirl Mariam Malak has become a symbol of the fight against corruption in Egypt after scoring zero in her final exams. The nineteen-year-old top student, who aced her exams in previous years, says her answers were replaced with someone else’s–clearly not in her handwriting. Her lawyers believe Malak’s exam papers were swapped for those of an influential person’s child. Malak appealed to Assiut’s education authority, which dismissed the complaint. She appealed to the prosecution, whose forensics team determined that the answers were in her handwriting. Her case came to the attention of Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, who invited Malak to Cairo for a meeting. Mahlab said he would “support the student in her appeal as if she were his daughter.” The Coptic Pope Tawadros II also asked to meet her, but Malak, a Christian, declined lest it appear a sectarian issue, saying her case was “that of an Egyptian citizen.” The prosecution service has now reopened the case. [AFP, Ahram Online, AMAY, Mada Masr, 9/10/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Minister announces new fire stations in fifty-two industrial areas | Egypt Independent


Army kills thirty militants in North Sinai says Military Spokesman
Security forces in North Sinai have killed thirty alleged ‘terrorists’ and arrested forty-one suspects on Wednesday during the third day of  “The Martyr’s Right” operation, said the (Warning: Graphic Images) Military Spokesman. The armed forces, in cooperation with the police, began the operation on Monday in the towns of al-Arish, Rafah, and Sheikh Zuweid. A total of fifty-six militants were killed between Monday and Tuesday during the security crackdown, bringing the total death toll to eighty-six. [Aswat Masriya, 9/10/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Group impersonating police arrested in New Cairo | AMAY
  • Two bombs found on ancient bridge in Qalyubia | MENA
  • ‘Interior Ministry values human rights’ says Interior Minister | DNE


Presidential source denies ground troops sent to Yemen

An unnamed presidential source denied media reports on Wednesday claiming that Egypt sent 800 ground troops to Yemen to face the armed Houthi group. “Such claims are groundless,” an anonymous presidential official was quoted as saying. Press Secretary for the Yemeni Presidency, Mokhtar al-Rahby meanwhile told Mada Masr, “So far the Yemeni presidency hasn’t received any news about Egyptian forces on Yemeni soil. There are Saudi and Qatari preparations to begin engagement with armed militias. We’re not certain about the Egyptian situation, but Egypt remains part of the Arab Coalition that might intervene at any moment.” Reuters reported that an anonymous Egyptian security source said four units of ground troops, tanks, and personnel carriers were sent to Yemen Tuesday to participate in the Saudi-led military campaign against the Houthis. [Youm7, Mada Masr, Cairo Post, 9/10/2015]  

Sisi says Egypt hosts around 5 million refugees
In a meeting with a delegation from the Committee for Foreign Affairs of the Italian Senate, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi highlighted the importance of the role of the international community in regard to Arab and African refugees, saying that Egypt currently hosts around five million refugees from Arab and African countries. Spokesman Alaa Youssef said that the president told the delegation that refugees in Egypt are receiving the same health and educational services as Egyptians, despite the economic burden the Egyptian government carries. According to the UNHCR website profile on Egypt, the country hosts 261,741 registered refugees, mostly from Sudan, Syria and Libya. The number of unregistered refugees in Egypt is much higher than the official registered numbers. [Ahram Online, 9/9/015]

Defense officials say US beefing up protection for Sinai peacekeepers
The United States is reportedly sending dozens of additional troops and support equipment to improve protection for the Multinational Force of Observers (MFO) peacekeepers in the Sinai in the aftermath of a roadside bomb attack last week that wounded four US soldiers, unnamed defense officials said Wednesday. The officials said at least seventy-five additional troops are being deployed, including a light-infantry platoon and a surgical team, as well as surveillance equipment and other assets designed to increase the peacekeepers’ ability to protect themselves from threats. [AP, 9/9/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Rafah border opened for Palestinian pilgrims | DNE
  • Saudi King Salman to visit Egypt: Foreign minister | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s Sisi to meet Palestinian President Abbas in Cairo | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Shoukry, Hammond discuss Sisi’s visit to UK | DNE
  • Prime Minister says Egypt, Tunisia share views about region | SIS
  • Syrian government delegation visited Cairo to discuss terrorism reports BBC | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt participates in EU-Africa meeting on illegal immigration | SIS