Top News: US to Give Egypt US$190 mn, Need for Consensus for IMF Deal

Kerry Morsi State Dept.jpg

President Mohamed Morsi met with US Secretary of State John Kerry at Ettehadiya Palace in Cairo Sunday. The American official said the US would give Egypt US$190 million to support the government’s budget, according to Reuters. 


Opposition groups in Egypt’s Mahalla to launch ‘popular parliament’

Opposition groups in Mahalla, an industrial city in Egypt’s Nile Delta, are planning to launch a ‘popular parliament’. Among the groups looking into the idea are the Constitution Party, Egyptian Popular Current, Egyptian Social Democratic Party, April 6 Youth Movement (Democratic Front), and Mahalla Revolutionary Youth Movement. The ‘popular parliament’ is part of the campaign to boycott parliamentary elections, slated to begin on 22. The initiative will be launched nationwide in conjunction with political groups. [Ahram Online, 3/4/2013]

Freedom of information draft bill to be released 9 March
The final draft of the freedom of information law will be put out for discussion in its final draft on 9 March, Justice Minister Ahmed Mekky said during a press conference. “We have come today to bring to the light a law consistent with all state institutions in order for all citizens to acquire their right of knowledge, because that is a right and a duty at the same time,” the minister said. [Egypt Independent, 3/2/2103]

Salafi Dawah head hits out at Brotherhood over renewed Egypt-Iran ties
Salafi Dawah deputy head Yasser Borhamy said that the normalization of relations between Egypt and Iran is one of the drivers of the dispute between his group and the Muslim Brotherhood. Islamist movements and Salafi parties plan to organize a demonstration in Tahrir Square on 15 March to protest the normalization in relations with Iran and Shia Muslims, and to pressure the president and Muslim Brotherhood to stop exchanging visits with Iran. [Egypt Independent, 3/2/2013]

Also of Interest:
Justice Ministry denies public notary offices closed | Egypt Independent
Ghad al-Thawra Party to run in upcoming parliamentary elections | Egypt Independent
Egyptian parliamentary elections nomination period opens Saturday | Ahram Online
Egypt’s Nour Party calls for electoral law to be referred to HCC | Ahram Online
Salafis and Jama’a al-Islamiya mull alliance | Egypt Independent


SCC rejects lawsuit challenging Constituent Assembly

The Supreme Constitutional Court ruled Sunday against a lawsuit calling for the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly that wrote Egypt’s constitution. A judicial source had said earlier that the court will likely turn down the case, saying that since the constitution has already come into force there is no justification for the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, whose mandate expired with the passing of the Constitution. The source, which spoke on condition of anonymity, predicted that the commissioners’ report would call for rejecting the cases that challenge the presidential decree determining the criteria for the election of members of the Constituent Assembly. [Egypt Independent, 3/3/2013]

Brotherhood figure accused of defaming military
Prosecutor General Taalat Abdallah ordered an investigation into a complaint submitted by a political activist that accuses a Muslim Brotherhood figure in Alexandria of defaming the Armed Forces. Ali Abdel Fattah allegedly said the military council masterminded and carried out the Rafah operation that killed 16 officers and soldiers last Ramadan. [Egypt Independent, 3/3/2013]

Egypt comedian investigated for insulting President Morsi
Egypt’s prosecutor-general has ordered an investigation of television comedian Bassem Youssef, following a complaint alleging he insulted President Mohamed Morsi during his satirical program. The complaint accused Youssef of ridiculing and insulting Morsi by parodying parts of his Feb. 25 interview on the Mehwar satellite channel and suggesting he be awarded an Oscar as best actor, according to an e-mailed statement today. [Bloomberg, 3/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
Retrial of Egypt’s Mubarak and sons set for April 13 | Reuters, Ahram Online
Egypt bars OCI chief from leaving country: state media | Egypt Independent, Reuters


Egypt foreign reserves drop $105m in February

Egypt’s net foreign reserves fell by $105 million in February to $13.508 billion, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) stated on Monday. As of the end of January 2013, net reserves had stood at $13.6 billion, down $1.4 billion on December; a drop exacerbated by a $650 million debt repayment to the Paris Club of creditor nations. Reserves remain at a worrying level despite the marginal drop in February. Fifteen billion dollars is typically regarded to be a safe level as it covers three months worth of imports. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 3/4/2013]

Egypt to project huge fuel price rises in IMF talks-Source
Egypt is sending projections to the International Monetary fund (IMF) of sharp increases in gasoline and diesel prices as it comes under pressure to curb soaring energy subsidies, a cabinet official said on Sunday. The government plans to continue subsidized fuel prices for the most needy under a rationing system to be implemented in July. However, Egyptians excluded from this scheme would face a jump in prices that could provoke an angry reaction if implemented. Diesel shortages may grow more severe in March as import allocations fall short, an official source at the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation has said. The official claimed that Egypt’s decision to cut down dollar allocations for fuel subsidies is the result of insufficient international reserves. [Aswat Masriya/Reuters, Egypt Independent, 3/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt sets limits on GDRs, tightens grip on local stocks | Aswat Masriya/Reuters
Egypt finance minister expects IMF loan before elections | AFP/Egypt Independent, Reuters


Egypt’s army intervenes in Port Said clashes

The military intervened in clashes between thousands of protesters and police in a restive Egyptian canal city on Sunday, the latest in a cycle of violence that killed two security members and three civilians, and which continues to rock Egypt two years after the uprising that ousted longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak. The battle outside the police and government buildings started early Sunday and continued until past midnight. At one point, Egyptian soldiers intervened by forming a line between the two sides, as protesters climbed the tanks chanting support for the country’s armed forces that, unlike the police, have not cracked down on rioters in the city. "The people and the army are one hand!" the demonstrators shouted, urging the soldiers to side with them. [AP, 3/3/2013]

Interior Ministry: Security solution for Tahrir, Mansoura clashes not enough
The Interior Ministry has called on all political forces to help end persistent clashes in Tahrir Square and in the Delta city of Mansoura, stressing that a security-centered solution was not enough. Public Relations Director Abdel Fattah Othman in a telephone call with Al-Hayat satellite channel’s program “al-Hayat al-Youm” Sunday that police were attacked by thugs and forced to retreat when they tried to reopen the square to traffic Sunday morning. He added that the ministry has been unable to end violent clashes between protesters and security forces in Mansoura, urging politicians in the city to go to protest sites themselves and help restore calm. [Egypt Independent, 3/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
Military says it stopped 49 cross-border smuggling attempts last month | Egypt Independent
Security forces break up Luxor railway sit-in | Egypt Independent
Police guards strike at Egyptian state TV building Maspero | Ahram Online
Interior Ministry: Police vehicle attacked near Tahrir | Egypt Independent
69 Egyptian protesters face charges after police raid Tahrir | Ahram Online, DNE
Police vehicle set alight, teargas fired in Cairo’s Nile Corniche clashes | Ahram Online


Violent protests erupt for second day in Egypt’s Port Said

Five were killed, including two policemen, and over 400 injured late Sunday in violence between police and anti-regime protesters in Cairo and Port Said. The Interior Ministry had earlier decided to transfer inmates from Port Said’s central prison in order to ensure their safety as clashes rage nearby between protesters and security forces. Keeping the defendants in Port Said is a popular demand among the city’s residents. Relatives of the 39 prisoners – convicted or facing charges for their role in Port Said’s 2012 football disaster – attacked Sunday the Egyptian Canal city’s security directorate after learning of the transfer to an unknown location. Funeral marches for those who died overnight in Port Said took place on Monday afternoon. Four rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), say Egyptian officials are "turning a blind eye" to police abuses in Port Said. [Reuters, Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, AP, DNE, 3/4/2013]

Mansoura violence flares after resident’s death
Just after Friday prayers this past weekend, hundreds poured into the streets of Mansoura near the Daqahlia Governorate building protesting against President Mohamed Morsi and the government and fighting back advances by Central Security Forces. The clashes mark a climax in what has been a week of growing unrest in the city. What began as a small protest attempting to replicate the civil disobedience measures taking place in the canal city of Port Said has since grown into a city-wide revolt stemming from economic grievances and broader discontent with Muslim Brotherhood rule. Clashes re-erupted in Mansoura after the funeral of a slain young man was held Saturday and attended by hundreds, including leading political and party figures. Tens of angry protesters threw rocks at Mansoura general prison during the funeral, reported Ahram Arabic website. Radical opposition groups ‘Black Bloc’ and The ‘Hooligans’ announce they will head to Mansoura to protect protesters and avenge those killed in police-protester clashes. Activists in Cairo and Alexandria are calling for protests Saturday to denounce a crackdown on demonstrators by police. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, DNE, 3/3/2013]

Ultras Ahlawy protest at Central Bank to demand retaliation
Security forces have started negotiations with Ultras Ahlawy, who gathered at the Central Bank of Egypt in downtown Cairo to demand retaliation for their fellow group members killed during the Port Said Stadium violence in February last year. About 600 protesters from the football fan group prevented employees and customers from going in and out of the bank, state newspaper al-Ahram’s website reported. Cairo security chief Major General Osama al-Sagheer deployed more Central Security Forces to the area and imposed a cordon around the bank, fearing attacks. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 3/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
With forensic report inconclusive, accusations fly over journalist’s death | Egypt Independent
Allam officially inaugurated as Grand Mufti | DNE
Protesters in Ismailia shut governmental offices, halt train traffic | Egypt Independent, DNE
Ismailia joins civil disobedience campaign | Ahram Online, DNE


Kerry: US to give Egypt US$190 mn, need for Egypt consensus for IMF deal

President Mohamed Morsi met with US Secretary of State John Kerry at Ettehadiya Palace in Cairo Sunday. The American official said the US would give Egypt US$190 million to support the government’s budget, according to Reuters. Kerry conveyed President Barack Obama’s support of the transition to democracy in Egypt. Kerry also urged Morsi to reach a consensus with opposition powers and restore their confidence in order for Egypt to secure the IMF deal. pass its current stage and achieve stability and development. Kerry has said that Egyptian opposition leaders are apparently not backtracking on their decision to boycott parliamentary elections slated to start on 22 April. He also met with Egyptian Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi in Cairo on Sunday. The meeting looked into bilateral ties and strategic cooperation at the military level, without tackling Egypt’s political situation. Participants in a demonstration outside Kerry’s visit with the foreign minister claimed that the purpose of Kerry’s visit is to support the Muslim Brotherhood and interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt. [Egypt Independent, Reuters, US Dept of State, AP, DNE, SIS, Ahram Online, 3/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
Qandil leaves for Iraq | Egypt Independent
Al-Azhar warns Iraqi government against political exclusion | Egypt Independent

Photo: US State Department

Image: Kerry%20Morsi%20State%20Dept.jpg