UPDATE: Egypt’s politics digest Oct. 26: Egypt denounces Foreign Affairs’ article criticizing its foreign, domestic policies
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid. YOUM7 (archive)
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Egypt denounces Foreign Affairs’ article criticizing its foreign, domestic policies

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid responded Wednesday to an article released by the Foreign Affairs magazine which heavily criticized Egypt’s domestic and foreign policy.

The article titled “Egypt’s Nightmare: Sisi’s dangerous war on terror” by Steven Cook was published in the 95th Volume of Foreign Affairs magazine that focused on the Egyptian policies following the 2011 uprising the toppled Hosni Mubarak.

“President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has established an even more harshly authoritarian regime than the one Mubarak oversaw. By almost every measure, conditions in Egypt are worse now than prior to the revolution. Economic growth remains stagnant. Egypt’s reserves of foreign currency have dwindled to perilous levels,” Cook said in his article.

Attempting to analyze and explain a country’s entire domestic and foreign policy through a single, narrow lens is much like trying to “force several square pegs into the same round hole,” Abu Zeid responded in an article published on the state information services website

“The article’s purpose is to assert that the sole driving force behind all of Egypt’s policies as a state is some obsessive vendetta against the Muslim Brotherhood. Mr. Cook is a highly respected author on Middle Eastern affairs; it is thus unfortunate to see him adopt such a simplistic approach to analyzing Egypt’s policies,” Abu Zeid said.

“The Egyptian Government has made the bold decision to tackle long-term structural problems in parallel with the short-term economic imbalances that resulted from five years of political transformation and turmoil. The ambitious vision for Egypt 2030 covers sector-based plans and projects that will yield results in the short, medium and long-term. Mega-projects are being developed to respond to structural needs as well as boost the economy, creating temporary and permanent job opportunities,” said Abu Zeid.

 

Cassation court upholds life sentence against MB supreme guide, other 36 co defendants

The Cassation Court on Wednesday uphold life sentences against the Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and other 36 co defendants in murder and violence related charges, Youm7 reported.

In the same case, the court also upheld death sentences against other 10 Muslim Brotherhood supporters who were tried in absentia.

The defendants had been charged with murder, attempted murder, resisting authorities, assaulting policemen, sabotage, and blocking a main road in Egypt’s Delta governorate of Qalyubia in the aftermath of the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.

Wednesday’s verdict came two years after a criminal court sentenced Badie and 36 others to life imprisonment.

 

Egypt embassy in Tunisia frees 12 fishermen detained in Sfax port

Egypt’s Ambassador to Tunisia Nabil Habashy said that the embassy managed to reach an agreement with the Tunisian authorities to release 12 Egyptian fishermen who were detained in Sfax port last week, Youm7 reported Wednesday.

The fishermen will be deported to Cairo next week, Habashy said.

An Egyptian fishing boat, along with 16 fishermen on board were detained near the Sfax port on Friday on charges of trespassing Tunisia’s regional waters. They were arrested after ignoring warnings by the Tunisian coast guards, said Habashy.

He added that the embassy is increasing efforts in its negotiations with Tunisian authorities to release the other four fishermen, adding that they will be released later after investigations are over.

During the past few years, hundreds of Egyptian fishermen were detained over fishing without prior license near the coasts of Libya, Tunisia and Yemen.

 

Egypt’s Sisi says military economy just 1-1.5 pct of GDP

(Reuters) – The Egyptian military’s economic activities are equivalent to just 1 to 1.5 percent of GDP and not more than 20 percent as some have claimed, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Tuesday in a televised speech.

Sisi, a former military general who took office in 2014, has promised to revive the economy, which has struggled since a 2011 uprising scared away investors and tourists, Egypt’s main sources of foreign currency.

He has called in the army to assist in major infrastructure projects and with distribution of subsidised commodities to keep a lid on rising prices amid an acute shortage of dollars that has hiked the cost of goods.

“In case you’re wondering how large the economy of the armed forces is in terms of GDP, I’m going tell you so it’s clear: 1 to 1.5 percent,” Sisi said at a national youth conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh.

The size of the military, which produces everything from bottled water to macaroni, has long been a topic of speculation in Egypt but official comment on the scope of its economic activities is rare.

Sisi’s comments come just one day after Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said in a prime time TV interview the military’s economic role was likely to decrease within two to three years .

The military’s activities have appeared to expand over the last year. Armed forces vans roam the country selling cheap groceries and military retail outlets have popped up, while military agencies have attempted to procure basic commodities from international traders amid shortages.

Sisi said the armed forces are not entering the economy to profit or compete with the private sector, and that their projects are subject to taxes and regulatory oversight.

He added that the military would deliver 1,350 projects by 2018 but did not specify their exact nature.

 

Israeli teenage worker killed by gunfire along Egyptian border

(Reuters) – An Israeli civilian, who was aged 15 according to his father, was killed by gunfire along the border with Egypt on Tuesday, the Israeli military said.

The army said in a statement that the shooting did not appear to be connected to militant action and that the Israeli and Egyptian militaries were investigating the incident.

Israel’s defense ministry named the victim as Nimr Abu-Amar an Arab Israeli working for a contractor firm it had hired to carry out maintenance work on the border fence.

He died of his wounds while being airlifted to an Israeli hospital from the remote Israel-Egypt border area in the Negev desert where the shooting occurred, an army spokeswoman said.

Bassam Abu-Amar, Nimr’s father, said his son had accompanied family members working on the border fence doing odd jobs and preparing coffee for other members of the crew.

Egypt is battling an Islamist insurgency in the rugged and thinly populated Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel, but incidents in recent years at the frontier have been rare.

 

Egypt withdraws 40 diplomats, closes embassy and 3 consulates to cut budget

Egyptian Foreign Ministry has decided to close three consulates and an embassy abroad and to withdraw a total of 40 diplomats worldwide to cut its budget, said the Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid in a statement Monday.

“The Ministry is conducting a leading role to rationalize the expenditure and reduce financial burden on the State’s budget more than a year ago, with full coordination with presidency of the Cabinet,” the statement read.

The ministry managed to save 10 percent of its budget and gave it back to the state’s treasury, he added. The closed consulates were in Nigeria’s Lagos, Tanzanian Zanzibar, and Geneva; the ministry also closed embassy in the Central Africa’s Bangui.

 

NCW drafts law to protect women against violence

The National Council for Woman (NCW) has drafted a draft law to protect women against violence, Youm7 reported on Wednesday.

Per Article 11 of the draft law, who he commits rape crime against a minor girl, less than 18 years old or mentally or psychological challenged, shall be sentenced to death penalty.

The draft will be referred to the Cabinet to consider it; in case the bill was passed by the government, the parliament would consider it.

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