Top News: Russia, Egypt Discuss Bilateral Relations in ‘Historic’ Visit

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are in Cairo for a two-day visit, for meetings with interim President Adly Mansour and Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi along with other political figures.


Nour Party says Morsi’s statement ‘unrealistic’, Morsi transferred to a solitary cell
The Nour Party described Wednesday deposed president Mohamed Morsi’s first public statement since his July 3 ouster as “unrealistic.” Nour Party spokesman Sherif Taha told Al-Ahram that Morsi’s statement, which lawyer Mohamed al-Damaty read at a press conference Wednesday, reflects “the absence of a realistic vision of the [current] situation.” Taha said that the content was not new and represents the same stance of the Muslim Brotherhood. Giza’s Nour Party Secretary General Ahmed Shokry also criticized Morsi’s statement. Shokry told Youm7 that it was an invitation to increase divisions between Egyptian people, which could lead to corruption and even civil war. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy said Morsi has the right to express his opinion, but he is charged with several cases considered by the courts. Asked if Morsi’s statement could be considered incitement to violence, Beblawy referred the issue to the public prosecution. Meanwhile, Assistant Interior Minister Ahmed Helmy said that the prison sector has transferred Morsi to a solitary cell in Borg al-Arab Prison after his ten-day quarantine ended, in accordance with the prison regulations. Helmy ruled out any discriminatory treatment against Morsi, adding the same regulations applied to all prisoners. [Ahram Online, Cairo Post, Egypt Independent, SIS, 11/14/2013]

Preparations for parliamentary elections begin
Preparations for parliamentary elections, scheduled to take place in February-March 2014, have begun prior to the fifty-member committee’s decision on the electoral system that will be implemented. The Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to update its database to admit the registration of Egyptians abroad who have recently issued IDs. Various political parties started to prepare their lists of candidates for the coming parliamentary elections. They are scheduled to hold a number of meetings during the coming weeks coinciding with the end of the constitutional amendments drafted by the fifty-member committee. The parties hope to form coalitions during elections to gain the majority of parliamentary seats, at the expense of Islamist parties. [Cairo Post, 11/14/2013]

Also of Interest:
State of emergency and curfew to officially end on Thursday | Ahram Online, DNE, AMAY (Arabic), SIS, Cairo Post
Beblawy calls on interior minister to deal firmly with rioters | Cairo Post
Regular laws are sufficient to face vandalism: NSF leader | Cairo Post
Foreign Ministry says content of HRW report ‘wholly inaccurate’ | DNE
We should avoid Russia-US dichotomy: Nader Bakkar | Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic)    


Egypt president able to name key ministers in new constitution; Disagreements continue over military, women, and farmer related articles
Egypt’s new constitution will allow the president to appoint key ministers and remove the government with parliament’s consent, an official has said. These include allowing the head of state to remove the cabinet or any of its ministers after obtaining the consent of one-third of parliament. The president will also be able to name sovereign ministers – foreign, interior, justice and defense – with a temporary provision regulating the latter. The committee, however, continued on Thursday discussions on military related articles, but have yet to come to an agreement over contentious issues, including the nomination of the defense minister, or military trials. Meanwhile, Azza Kamel, a women’s rights activist told Youm7 the committee has not given much attention to women’s rights, and refused to allocate a quota for women in parliament. The committee disregarded suggestions related to women’s rights such as, equality between men and women regarding political rights, criminalization of violence against women and trafficking of girls and women, giving more attention to poor women and changing the legal age to eighteen years, she added. Hussein Abdel Razek, a member of the committee, said that clauses in the amended constitution for positive discrimination for women, peasants and Copts will be discussed at the final sessions after the main clauses have been discussed. [Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), Cairo Post, 11/14/2014]

Cairo court sentences students to seventeen years in prison for attacks on al-Azhar
A misdemeanour court on Wednesday sentenced twelve university students to seventeen years in prison over riots at Al-Azhar institution in October, Al-Ahram reported. The students were found guilty of attempting to storm the headquarters of the institution, inciting riots and attacking Al-Azhar employees and security personnel, as well as sabotaging public and private property. They were also ordered to pay a fine of EGP 64,000 ($9,300) each. The lawyer representing the students appealed the verdict on Thursday, reported the privately owned ONA news agency. Hundreds of pro-Muslim Brotherhood students staged a protest on campus Thursday in response to the ruling. Ahmed al-Bakry, the head of Al-Azhar University Student Union, as well as students of the ultra-conservative Salafi Front slammed the verdict, describing it as “unjust.” [Ahram Online, AFP, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, Cairo Post, 11/14/2013]

Also of Interest:
Fifty-member committee is invalid: al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya | Cairo Post
Essam Sultan to be tried December 15 | EGYNews (Arabic)
Badie and al-Shater’s to be tried December 11| EGYNews (Arabic), Mada Masr
Muslim Brotherhood Essam al-Erian leader sues al-Sisi for ‘coup’, violence | Egypt Independent


Egyptian government sets maximum wage at thirty-five times minimum wage
Egypt’s cabinet set the country’s maximum wage on Wednesday at thirty-five times the minimum wage of the employees working in the public sector, state-run news agency MENA reported. According to the governmental decree, the maximum wage will be implemented as of January 2014 and its ceiling has been settled at EGP 42,000 ($6,000)  per month. In September, the Egyptian government set a long-awaited minimum wage for the public-sector employees at EGP 1,200 ($174) minus deductions for pensions and other items. [Ahram Online, SIS, AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 11/13/2013]  

Also of Interest:
Egyptians spend heavily on entertainment despite financial woes: Survey | Ahram Online
Sawiris to invest billions of dollars in Egypt after constitution is ratified | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
Arab Spring economies hit by uncertainty: IMF | DNE, Mada Masr
Egypt to seek bids for first nuclear plant | DNE, Egypt Independent, Reuters


Students arrested in Mansoura, Damietta
Mansoura University students staged an on-campus a protest on Wednesday calling for the resignation of university chairman al-Sayed Abdel Khaleq and the release of detained students. Clashes broke out in Mansoura University on Tuesday after a protest by Students Against the Coup was attacked by unknown assailants. The Ministry of Interior announced on Tuesday it had arrested twenty-three “rioting” students during the clashes. The ministry released a statement saying it entered the university campus, upon the university chairman’s request, to “protect lives and property.” It accused Muslim Brotherhood students of torching administrative security offices. Meanwhile, nine high school students who belong to the Revolutionary Socialists movement were detained in Damietta on Tuesday. The students were organizing an exhibition on the 2011 Mohamed Mahmoud Street clashes, which left around fifty people dead. Haitham Mohamedein, lawyer and Revolutionary Socialist, said three girls and six boys were dragged into the Damietta Military High School by security forces dressed in civilian clothes and school teachers. Mohamedein said four of the arrested students were physically assaulted inside the school before being sent to the Damietta Police Station. The students were released on Tuesday night. Mohamedein said they weren’t officially charged or referred to prosecution. [DNE, 11/13/2013]

Also of Interest:
Nour Party calls for the prohibition of any Shia’a related celebration in Egypt | EGYNews
NCHR requests information on pro-Morsi disperals | Egypt Independent
Morsi supporters denounce the detention of female protesters Ahram Online


Officer, militants killed in fresh Sinai attack Thursday
Militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula killed a police officer in the early hours of Thursday, Egypt’s military spokesman said. Unidentified gunmen killed the junior police officer while on guard in the northern city of al-Arish and stole his weapon, army spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali said Thursday afternoon. Abdel Moneim Ahmed, 40, was killed in front of his family when three militants broke into his residence and opened fire on him, according to a statement by the Ministry of Interior. Security sources told Aswat Masrya that officer was shot twelve times in front of his wife and children by unknown gunmen. Meanwhile, witnesses confirmed to Youm7 that three armed men were killed in clashes with the security forces in al-Arish during security campaigns. An informed source explained that militants had opened fire on an armored vehicle at Arish city coast, with no damages. The incident was followed by the militants launching a rocket on al-Arish’s third police station, after which security forces opened fire heavily on the source. No injuries have been recorded as of yet. [DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, Cairo Post, 11/14/2013]

Police replace army following end of emergency
Security sources confirmed to Al-Masry Al-Youm on Thursday morning that the armed forces have started to withdraw from streets following the end of the state of emergency and the curfew. The sources added police have been deployed in the vicinity of vital installations as well as checkpoints on roads, replacing the armed forces. The sources pointed out the armed forces would not withdraw completely from streets as some would remain outside embassies and certain facilities. [Egypt Independent, 11/14/2013]

Also of Interest:
Islamists threaten to strike Interior Ministry on anniversary of Mohamed Mahmoud clashes | Egypt Independent


Russia, Egypt discuss bilateral relations in ‘historic’ visit
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are in Cairo for a two-day visit, for meetings with interim President Adly Mansour and Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi along with other political figures. According to state media, Shoigu discussed military cooperation between Russia and Egypt with al-Sisi on Thursday morning, while Lavrov and Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy also met to discuss bilateral relations. In an interview with state newspaper Al-Ahram, Lavrov said that Russia expressed its support for democratic transformation in Egypt and for the creation of more effective socio-economic systems. In a press conference following his meetings, he added that Russia was not striving to replace “any country” – a reference to the United States –  as Egypt’s key strategic partner. Fahmy, who described the Russian officials’ visit as “historic,” sought to downplay speculation of a major foreign policy shift, confirming that Egypt is not looking for a “substitute for anyone.” In the midst of the visit, Ruslan Pukhov, a member of the Advisory Board of the Russian Defense Ministry, told Bloomberg that Egypt is concluding a Russian arms deal estimated at US$2 billion for MiG-29 fighter jets, air defense systems and anti-tank missiles. However, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson did not mention any arms agreements and said the Russian officials came to talk about politics, commerce, security and tourism. [Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), DNE, Reuters, Cairo Post, SIS, AP, Egypt Independent, 11/14/2013]

No point negotiating with current authority: Brotherhood leaders to EU
A source close to the Muslim Brotherhood said that the meeting of Brotherhood figures Mohamed Ali Beshr and Amr Derag with Bernardino Leon, the European Union’s envoy to the Middle East, did not arrive at anything new regarding reconciliation between the Brotherhood and the current authority. The meeting lasted for an hour and a half in a Cairo hotel on Monday evening. The source said the Brotherhood leaders told Lion that there is no point negotiating with the authority and that negotiating would detract from the group’s legitimacy in the street and reduces its support. The source added that the Brotherhood leaders are convinced that there is no other way but to continue what they see as the fight for legitimacy to be restored. [Egypt Independent, 11/13/2013]

Also of Interest:
US has lost influence in Middle East: Senator McCain | Egypt Independent

Image: Photo: CSIS