Top News: UN’s Ban and Kerry in Cairo to Discuss Egypt’s Gaza Initiative

The US and Egypt sought Tuesday to find an end to two weeks of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, and officials raised the possibility of restarting stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities as a necessary step to avoid sustained violence.


Egyptian Social Democratic Party eyeing 80 percent of individual parliament seats
The Egyptian Social Democratic Party is currently preparing a list of party members who will run for the parliamentary elections, a party spokesman told Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website. Spokesman Mohamed Qassem said the party, which has so far settled on 120 out of a desired 281 members, is eyeing 80 percent of the parliament’s individual seats. Qassem said some prominent members running on the party’s ticket in the upcoming parliamentary elections include Ziad Bahaa al-Din, current head of the party’s economic portfolio and former deputy to ex-PM Hazem El-Beblawi, as well as constitutional expert Nour Farahat. Meanwhile, the High Elections Commission (HEC) decided in a meeting on Monday to contact judicial authorities and concerned ministries to nominate their candidates in the HEC’s permanent secretariat, spokesperson of the commission Medhat Idris said. [Ahram Online, 7/21/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Political parties continue to meet to form electoral alliances | Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Trade unions to negotiate alliances with political parties | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)


Morsi supporters jailed for 25 years over ‘illegal protests’
A court in Minya has sentenced three supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to twenty-five years in prison for protesting without a permit. Another defendant was given a suspended one year sentence, while five others were acquitted. The defendants were also convicted of defying the constitution, obstructing state institutions, and rioting. [Ahram Online, 7/21/2014]

Retrial for Alaa Abdel-Fattah, 24 others adjourned to August 6
The retrial of prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah and 24 others for protesting in front of the Egyptian cabinet headquarters in late 2013 has been adjourned by a Cairo criminal court to August 6. In June, the defendants were sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison and fines of EGP 100,000 each on charges of holding an unauthorized protest in front of the cabinet buildings in downtown Cairo to denounce provisions in Egypt’s amended constitution that allow civilians to be tried in military courts. [Egypt Independent, 7/22/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Activists trial over breaking into Alexandria police station adjourned to October 13 | DNE, Egypt Independent
  • Beltagy, Hegazy trial postponed | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Chief Inspector of Antiquities imprisoned on bribery charges | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Two students arrested for terrorist activities | Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Beblawi gives testimony before June 30 committee | Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Judge restricts Brotherhood funds | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Commission will not intervene in management style of Brotherhood companies | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Commission: Judicial decisions on Brotherhood funds will not adversely affect investment climate | Ahram Gateway (Arabic), Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Egypt to pay off all arrears to foreign oil firms by 2017
The Egyptian government has reached an agreement with foreign oil firms to pay off all of its arrears by 2017 instead of its previous plan to pay EGP 21 billion ($3 billion) out of a total of EGP 42 billion ($6 billion) by that time. The ministry of petroleum plans to pay EGP 10.5 ($1.5 billion) by this September to companies including BG group and British Petroleum. [Ahram Online, 7/22/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Steel tycoon Ezz released on bail, ordered to pay EGP 50 million | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt imposes fees on stone exports, banning raw minerals | Ahram Online
  • Tourism ministry to launch campaign to encourage Europeans to visit Egypt | DNE
  • Maximum wages announced, regulations show no exemptions | DNE
  • Saudi company SCDC takes on tourist residential project | DNE, SIS
  • Egyptian cigarette maker Eastern posts 17 percent jump in profit | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt delays bond sale results as short-term yields soar | Reuters, Bloomberg, DNE
  • Sisi discuss integrated plan to develop, establish new roads | SIS
  • PM discusses difficulties facing investors | SIS
  • Stock market to ease trading restrictions | Mada Masr
  • Agricultural production prices rise after electricity prices raised | Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • New investments in energy private sector | Al-Ahram (Arabic)


Morsi supporters prepare march under “Against Poverty” slogan
Supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi are preparing marches on Tuesday after evening prayers from the major mosques in Cairo and Giza under the slogan “Against Poverty,” to denounce prices hikes and poor economic conditions. Brotherhood youths intend to enter Tahrir and Raba’a al-Adaweya squares, which they consider a “moral gain” for their cause. They are also preparing to distribute leaflets comparing economic conditions at the time of Morsi with the current situation. They called on their members on social networking sites not to carry sticks during the marches in order to avoid clashes with the residents. [Egypt Independent, 7/21/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Civil society groups criticize ‘unregulated’ decision to provide emergency cases with free medical treatment | DNE, Mada Masr


Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claims responsibility for New Valley attack
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attack on the al-Farafra checkpoint in New Valley that left 22 army personnel and border guards dead. The group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on Twitter, MENA reported. The Twitter account has not been verified. The Ministry of Interior said that security forces have begun launching raids in response to the deadly attack in order to identify the perpetrators. On Monday, the US Statement Department released a statement condemning the killing of the Egyptian soldiers. It said that the US “continues to support the Egyptian Government’s efforts to counter the threat of terrorism in Egypt” as part of the strategic partnership between the two countries. [Egypt Independent, 7/22/2014]

Islamic militants kill two tribal leaders in Egypt  
Security officials in Egypt say suspected Islamic militants have gunned down two tribal leaders in the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula over their alleged connection to authorities. The officials said that Sheik Ashtewi Maraheel and Hassan al-Baiera, both from the well-known Sawarka Bedouin tribe of the northern Sinai, were killed in two separate incidents in the town of Rafah after sunset Monday. The officials say that masked militants opened fire on each of them near their homes before fleeing. Security sources in Rafah said the incident is part of several planned assassinations of key tribal leaders in the area. [AP, Mada Masr, 7/21/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Unidentified gunmen kill guard in Sinai’s Arish | Aswat Masriya
  • Mahlab: Egypt will remain safe | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Police seize black market gasoline and diesel | AMAY (Arabic)


UN’s Ban and Kerry in Cairo to discuss Egypt’s Gaza initiative
The US and Egypt sought Tuesday to find an end to two weeks of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, and officials raised the possibility of restarting stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities as a necessary step to avoid sustained violence. US Secretary of State John Kerry began a diplomatic push in Cairo on Monday to secure a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Following a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday, Kerry praised the Egyptian initiative, while in a press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry he described it as the “framework” to end the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Egyptian security officers checked Kerry and his top aides with a metal detector as they arrived for the meeting with Sisi, an unusual screening for a senior State Department official. MENA reported that Kerry decided to extend his stay in Cairo for an additional day, opting to leave Wednesday instead of Tuesday. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, also arrived in Cairo on Monday for talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and other officials on the fighting in Gaza. The UN chief also voiced support for the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas before he left Cairo on Tuesday. Three Egyptian officials told Reuters Egypt might be willing to amend its truce initiative to end the fighting in Gaza in order to accommodate the Palestinian militant movement Hamas, which had rejected its terms. “Egypt does not mind adding some of Hamas’ conditions provided that all involved parties approve,” one senior Egyptian official said, without giving details. Egypt’s foreign minister, however, denied these reports saying that the proposal will not be amended.  Assistant US Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Derek Chollet, meanwhile, also arrived in Cairo on Monday on a three-day visit to discuss issues of common interest with military officials, including Gaza. [AP, 7/22/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egyptian FM calls Moroccan counterpart after prostitution comment | DNE
  • Muslim Brotherhood accuses Arab countries of working hand-in-hand with Israel | Egypt Independent
  • International cooperation minister meets Hungarian Ambassador | SIS
  • Saudi Arabia denies visas to Egyptian pilgrims | Al Monitor
  • Analysis: Egyptian ceasefire in crisis | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Algerian delegation arrives in Cairo to discuss Egyptian gas imports | Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Trade Minister discusses bilateral trade with Sudan | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Japan agrees to implement aqueduct project | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)