Top News: Some See Qatar’s Hand in Collapse of Egypt-led Gaza Talks


An official from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement suggested Wednesday that Qatar torpedoed Egypt-led peace talks between Gaza and Israel, as negotiations ground to a halt by Wednesday.


Cabinet approves law on Suez Canal investment certificates
The Egyptian cabinet, under Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, approved on Wednesday a law on investment certificates for the new Suez Canal Project. The cabinet also approved a draft resolution amending several provisions of the law on the Suez Canal Authority. The aim of the amendment is to achieve more flexibility and better manage traffic through the canal. Meanwhile, the cabinet discussed several other issues, including establishing a number of road networks and developing a power plant west of Damietta. [SIS, 8/21/2014]

Officials trade blame for power shortages
As extended electricity cuts plunge households and businesses across Egypt into darkness for hours each day, officials appear eager to make sure that blame for the power crisis is not cast at their feet. Earlier this week, electricity demand hit a record daily high of 27,700 megawatts, 20 percent more than powers stations could provide, state media reported. Minister of electricity Mohamed Shaker claimed in a memorandum to Egypt’s cabinet that inferior quality fuel oil supplied by the ministry of petroleum is causing frequent breakdowns at power stations. The cabinet is schedule to hold a special session on electricity on Monday, and Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab promised a gradual improvement to the problem of power cuts, with tangible results as soon as next week. In a press conference following a cabinet meeting with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday, Mahlab added that 50 percent of the current power deficit will be provided by the end of August. During the cabinet meeting, Sisi called for introducing urgent amendments to plans to cut down power loads to maintain balance in power outages. Meanwhile, the Nour Party called on Wednesday for the government to find a quick solution to the energy crisis, and Tamer Ziadi, Vice President of the Congress party, said that investments in solar energy could solve the energy crisis by 50 percent. [Mada Masr, 8/20/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egyptian Front coalition to start choosing candidates for parliamentary elections on Saturday | EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Nour party supreme commission to meet Saturday to discuss electoral alliances | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Democratic Current and Egyptian Front attack on one another | EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Tourism, manpower ministers sign cooperation protocol | SIS
  • Cabinet officially approves creation of three new governorates | SIS, Mada Masr, Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Marsa Alam city becomes part of Luxor: governor | Aswat Masriya


Court to release Serify under “probationary measures” over hunger strike
The Cairo Criminal Court decided on Wednesday that Karima al-Serify, 21, detained in Qanater prison since last April, is to be released under what they call “probationary measures.” Serify has been on hunger-strike for over 68 days before the Court’s decision, with Serify yet to be released from Qanater prison. According to the conditions of her release, she will be detained at the police station every day from 9 am to 5 pm. Serify was arrested in mid-April, leaving her family unaware of her whereabouts for three days until she was taken to Qanater prison. According to her mother, her arrest was a means of putting pressure on her father, a close affiliate of former president Mohamed Morsi. She was charged in espionage cases along with members of Morsi’s presidential team. [DNE, 8/21/2014]

Also of Interest:


World Bank to advise on Egypt’s Suez Canal mega project
The World Bank has announced its strong backing for Egypt’s recently-launched Suez Canal mega project, pledging its advisory assistance. “We are very pleased to join forces with the Suez Canal Authority to provide technical advisory services in support of the development of a strategy and master plan for such a mega project, the Suez Canal Regional Development Project,” Hartwig Schafer, the World Bank’s Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, said on Tuesday. The plan includes creating an industrial hub beside the international waterway and a centre for supplies and logistics. [Ahram Online, 8/20/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt negotiates with Russia, Algeria to get 12 LNG freights | Cairo Post
  • Electricity crisis in Egypt threatens agricultural exports | Al-Mal (Arabic)
  • Forty-three companies have started work on new Suez Canal project: Egyptian military | Ahram Online
  • Minister of supply: New Suez Canal project will see establishment of global financial hub | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Eni starts production at DEKA project in Egypt | Reuters
  • Ministries of Housing, Industry to settle with 1,250 New Cairo factories to resume work | DNE, Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Finance ministry announces issuance of EGP 14.2 billion for settlement of insurance indebtedness agreement | DNE
  • Egyptian pound stable at central bank sale, weaker on black market | Reuters
  • Sisi reviews fresh road, railway, port projects | SIS
  • Smart card based subsidies come to Giza | Mada Masr
  • Tensions rise between Sisi and business sector | Al Monitor


NGO law will comply with constitution and international standards: Ministry of Social Solidarity
The ministry of social solidarity called on civil society and human rights groups “to respect the democratic consultative process” amid continuing criticism of a draft law regulating non governmental organizations in Egypt. The ministry pointed to three sessions held by the General Federation of NGOs where the draft law was discussed with the affected parties. The ministry added that a workshop would take place in Sohag for Upper Egyptian NGOs and another would be held with the National Council for Human Rights. The ministry’s statement this week emphasized its commitment to the constitution while drafting the law and its “full commitment to the international treaties endorsed by the Egyptian government.” The ministry also stated the importance of the NGO law’s approval by the upcoming elected parliament “which represents the nation.” [DNE, 8/21/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Arab Lawyers Union: HRW report on Raba’a is a political statement issued by a group with ties to the Brotherhood | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • UNICEF officer: Egyptian education system doesn’t prepare the youth for modern jobs | The Guardian
  • June 30 fact finding committee sends plan to interior ministry | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Chair of fact finding committee will travel outside Egypt to meet with Brotherhood leaders | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Pro-Brotherhood female Al-Azhar students organize protest | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)


Four militants killed in Sinai; Fifth decapitated body found
Security forces killed four militants in shoot-outs in the Sinai Peninsula on Thursday, state news agency MENA reported. Some 31 terrorist hotbeds used by terrorists as launching pads for their attacks against the Egyptian police and armed forces were also destroyed during the operation. Security forces in the Sinai also said Thursday that a decapitated body was thrown out of a car by masked individuals in Sheikh Zuweid in clashes with security forces. The incident comes after four beheaded corpses were found on Wednesday by residents in a Sinai town. Meanwhile, six army recruits were wounded on Thursday after an explosive device blew up in a bus they were in in North Sinai’s Rafah, a security source said. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), 8/21/2014]

Egypt police say they arrested 13 alleged members of Helwan Brigade
Security officials said Wednesday they have arrested 13 members of a new alleged armed group that threatened attacks against police in south Cairo. Prosecution is currently investigating those arrested, who are believed to belong to “Kataeb Helwan,” Arabic for “Helwan Brigades,” officials told Al-Ahram. Helwan is a southern suburb of the capital. The alleged, self-proclaimed militia appeared in a video, published and circulated on social media networks, where they vowed to target all police facilities in south Cairo. [Ahram Online, 8/20/2014]

Two arrested for Facebook page inciting violence against police
Security forces said Thursday they had arrested two people for creating a Facebook page that uses inciteful language against the Egyptian police force. Police said the language used on the page, entitled the People’s Resistance Movement, incites to disturb public peace. Posts shared on the page called for protests against the government, and used slogans belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the police. The page administrators were two brothers, both teachers, aged 42 and 40. [EGYNews (Arabic), 8/21/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Twenty-five unlicensed firearms seized in security crackdown in Minya | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Clashes erupt in Minya between security forces and Brotherhood supports | AMAY (Arabic)


Some see Qatar’s hand in collapse of Egypt-led Gaza talks
An official from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement suggested Wednesday that Qatar torpedoed Egypt-led peace talks between Gaza and Israel, as negotiations ground to a halt by Wednesday. After signs of progress last week, Hamas negotiators returned to the table after consultations in Qatar with new conditions – prompting a similar response by Israel, he said. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly, said the experience indicated the Qataris “have no interest” in seeing Egyptian-led talks succeed, and that Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood are working together to undermine Egypt. Representatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad both denied any Qatari interference. London-based newspaper Al-Hayat separately quoted a senior Fatah official saying Qatar threatened to expel Mashaal if Hamas accepted an Egyptian peace proposal. A Qatar-based spokesman for Hamas dismissed the Al-Hayat report as baseless and said it was an attempt to sabotage the negotiations. Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas’ head of politburo Khaled Meshaal in Doha to discuss the situation in Gaza, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported on Thursday. [AP, 8/21/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Human rights groups demand access to Gaza from Israel, Egypt | DNE
  • Egypt’s foreign ministry condemns ISIS killing of American journalist | Ahram Online, AFP, Egypt Independent, SIS, Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Shoukry: Rafah crossing is not a part of the Gaza blockade | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Ibn Khaldun Center sends letter to Obama denouncing police oppression of peaceful protesters in Missouri | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Tunisia, Cairo airport closes air routes to and from Libya | Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Egyptian airline cancels flight to Israel due to deteriorating security situation | Shorouk (Arabic), Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Egyptian blue berets to be sent to Central African Republic, Mali, Darfur | SIS, EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Irrigation minister denies reports on Ethiopia starting to reserve Nile water | SIS
  • Egypt agrees to join Arab Convention Against Corruption | EGYNews (Arabic), Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Shoukry and Sudanese leader discuss Egypt-Sudan relations | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Qustul Port between Egypt and Sudan to open Monday | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Egypt’s ambassador meets with Mauritanian foreign minister to discuss bilateral cooperation | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Egypt signs two agreements with Saudi Arabia to promote trade and cooperation | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • Shoukry: Egypt seeks an end to violence in Libya to protect Egyptian national security | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)