Top News: Sisi Tells Putin Regional ‘Political’ Settlement is Urgently Needed

 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi discussed over the phone the latest security and political developments in the Middle East with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin late Wednesday, according to state-affiliated MENA news agency. Sisi emphasized to the Russian president the immediate need for a political and security settlement that will provide both stability and a solution to the crises currently facing the Middle East. The two presidents also discussed means to strengthen relations between Cairo and Moscow in different fields. Meanwhile, Egypt’s stance on recent Russian military operations in Syria was welcomed by Deputy Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad on Thursday. [Ahram Online, SIS, 10/8/2015]


Former Egyptian general sees his bloc leading new parliament
A former intelligence officer who heads the largest loyalist coalition running in Egypt’s upcoming elections expects his bloc to lead the new parliament and eventually seek to curb the legislature’s wide-ranging powers. Sameh Seif Elyazal, an ex-general who now heads a pro-government think tank, said his Fi Hob Misr (For the Love of Egypt) alliance would compete for all list seats and draw on individuals to form a large bloc that can pursue its legislative agenda. “We are coordinating with the individuals so that we can have an independent parliamentary bloc…that can lead parliament,” he told Reuters. Meanwhile, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) announced their electoral program on Wednesday. In a press conference, the party discussed several issues while introducing its program, including freedoms, education, health spending, fighting corruption, culture, and unemployment. The party is fielding six candidates, who are contesting independent seats. The Supreme Administrative Court upheld on Wednesday decisions preventing two controversial candidates–steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz and belly dancer Sama al-Masry–from running in the approaching parliamentary elections. Masry was excluded for lacking “trust” and “a good reputation.” Ezz’s national post office account–where he had deposited his money — was frozen in September by a decree of the prosecution and the country’s illicit gains authority. He was eliminated from the electoral race as a result. The High Electoral Committee (HEC) reportedly said Thursday that it will ban women from wearing the ‘niqab’ (face covering) while casting their ballots. The HEC also announced that more than sixty foreign embassies in Egypt will be allowed to monitor the elections, while the Prime Minister’s advisor Refaat Qomsan announced Wednesday that eighty-one domestic and six international NGOs will also be allowed to observe. [Reuters, Ahram Online, 10/8/2015]

Also of Interest

  • ‘They deserve freedom’: Bread and Justice Party holds conference on detainees | DNE
  • Nour Party supports terrorism and extorts Egyptian state says Egyptian Socialist Party | DNE
  • Elections countdown: 11 days | Mada Masr


Egypt may reconcile with four fugitives over illicit gain cases
The Illicit Gains Authority (IGA) may reach financial settlements with four fugitive businessmen in exchange for dropping charges of profiteering and embezzlement, a judicial official told Youm7 Wednesday. The IGA will issue a decision on whether to accept a reconciliation and settlement between the government and the four in the coming days, the official added, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media. The four Mubarak-era figures include tycoon Hussein Salem, former Minister of Trade and Industry Rashid Mohamed Rashid, and two others whose names the official refused to disclose. The official said that if the IGA reached a reconciliation decision, the state would reclaim 9 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.19 million). [Cairo Post, 10/8/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Court releases defendants in ‘pro-legitimacy alliance’ case | AMAY
  • Detention of former agriculture minister renewed fifteen days | Cairo Post
  • Assaulted Egyptian waiter case before Jordanian court on Sunday | SIS


Egypt’s annual inflation rises to 9.2 percent in September
Egypt’s annual inflation accelerated to 9.2 percent in September compared to 7.9 percent in August, while the monthly inflation rate spiked 2.8 percent, state statistics agency CAPMAS said Thursday. CAPMAS attributed the sharp rise in inflation to a 19 percent hike in vegetable prices, a 14.4 percent increase in outpatient clinic fees, and a 17 percent rise in the cost of school uniforms. Egypt’s core annual inflation rate dropped to 5.55 percent in September, down from 5.61 percent in August. The Egyptian government has projected an inflation rate of about 10 percent in the 2015/2016 fiscal year and a rate of about 7 percent by the 2018/2019 fiscal year. In other news, the Egyptian government said its repayment of $1.25 billion for ten year bonds that recently matured was responsible for the country’s drop in foreign currency reserves last month. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 10/8/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt says foreign reserves fall to $16.335 billion at end-September | Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Mada Masr
  • Bond payment of $1.25 billion behind drop in foreign reserves | Aswat Masriya
  • Orascom Telecom and Act Financial seek 100 percent of Beltone Financial | Ahram Online, Reuters
  • Egypt’s stalled $35 billion housing scheme: big dreams to harsh reality | Reuters
  • EGX gains 4.1 billion pounds | SIS
  • Bourse to organize first conference for sustainable development | SIS


Police deny arresting missing activist Massouny
Egypt’s Interior Ministry denied in a statement on Wednesday that former activist Mostafa Massouny, who has been missing for almost three and a half months, was arrested by the police or any affiliated security apparatuses. The Twitter hashtag “Where is Massouny?” was trending in Egypt early in October, referring to his disappearance. He vanished after he went to buy some food on the night of June 26 while staying at a friend’s home in downtown Cairo. Massouny’s friends and family say that two weeks into his disappearance, his colleagues informed them that State Security agents had been asking about him at work. The interior ministry’s statement was the first official comment since the allegations surfaced. His family alleges that they reached out to someone in State Security who told them that Massouny was in custody and would be released from the State Security headquarters in Cairo’s Lazhougli after investigations were concluded. His family says they still do not know what happened to him or where he is. The Interior Ministry says it is investigating his disappearance. [Ahram Online, 10/7/2015]

Also of Interest

  • ElBaradei condemns enforced disappearance of activists | Egypt Independent
  • Interview: Fear and Islamism in Egypt | Ahram Online
  • Three of forty-eight families submit DNA on missing Egyptian pilgrims | Ahram Online
  • ECRC to sue Education Ministry for child who lost his eye at school | AMAY
  • Talkha City Coca Cola employees protest factory shutdown | AMAY


Two Egyptians injured in blast near Azbakeya police station
A bomb detonated late Wednesday near Cairo’s Azbakeya police station leaving two citizens injured, state-affiliated MENA news agency reported. The Media Spokesperson for the Interior Ministry released a statement about the attack late on Wednesday, stating that the blast occurred on a back street bordering Azbakeya police station in central Cairo. The blast damaged police vehicles that were parked outside the station, and civil defense forces along with bomb disposal experts arrived at the scene to comb the area for additional explosives. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing. [Ahram Online, AMAY, Aswat Masriya, 10/8/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Police visit online news site Masr al-Arabiya’s offices in Dokki | Mada Masr


French Prime Minister to visit Egypt on Saturday for cooperative deals
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls is expected to arrive in Egypt on Saturday to discuss economic projects and sign deals with Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, the media office to the French embassy said. The French Minister of Defense will accompany the Prime Minister on his twenty-four hour visit. Valls will visit the Middle East for five days starting October 9. He is expected to also visit Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The Prime Minister will hold talks with his Egyptian counterpart where the two are expected to sign a number of agreements, according to the French embassy. The embassy also said on its official website, “This movement will strengthen economic ties and will allow the PM to support the presence of French companies in the Middle East.” [Ahram Online, 10/7/2015]