Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1318, (3 - 9 November 2016)
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1318, (3 - 9 November 2016)

Ahram Weekly


Al-Ahram Weekly

Dam talks

SUDANESE Irrigation Minister Moataz Moussa arrived in Cairo for talks on the mega dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile River. During his two-day stay, Moussa held talks with top governmental officials on ways to "boost Egyptian-Sudanese cooperation on the Renaissance Dam project".

They also discussed cooperation between both countries on a joint technical authority regulating the Nile waters. The 6,000-megawatt Grand Renaissance Dam, which is 54 per cent complete, is situated close to Ethiopia's border with Sudan.

In September, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia signed contracts tasking two French firms, BRL and Artelia, with carrying out studies on the environmental and economic impact of the $4 billion dam. Officials said the studies will start in late 2016 and take 11 months.

Leaders of the three countries signed a cooperation agreement in Khartoum in March 2015 to pave the way for a joint approach to sharing regional Nile waters.

Egypt has sought assurances the dam will not significantly diminish the flow of the river, its near-exclusive source of irrigation and potable water. Ethiopia has maintained that the project will not affect Sudan or Egypt and should benefit all sides.

Heliopolis explosion

FIVE takfirist suspected of carrying out an improvised explosive device (IED) on Gesr Al-Suez road which killed one man and injured another have been arrested.  The 28 October blast was in the Heliopolis district of Cairo.

The Interior Ministry stated on its official Facebook page that the five men, arrested on 30 October, claimed responsibility for the IED attack, saying they were targeting security forces.

The explosion was intended for a passing security convoy. The ministry's statement added that the attackers were plotting "other attacks targeting army and police personnel".

Attacks against security forces have become common in recent years but are mostly concentrated in North Sinai where Egypt's army and police are battling an entrenched Islamist insurgency.

Last week an army brigadier general, Adel Ragaei, was shot dead in front of his home in Obour City, on the outskirts of Cairo. He had previously been deployed in North Sinai.

Protesters acquitted

THREE people have been acquitted over charges of illegally protesting against the maritime agreement with Saudi Arabia regarding two Red Sea islands.

The three men were arrested in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura on 25 April and were tried in a special circuit of the Mansoura Court of Misdemeanours. They were acquitted by the Mansoura Court of Appeals.

The maritime demarcation agreement in early April to hand over the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia sparked widespread public outcry and a number of protests.

Dozens of protesters stood trial for demonstrating without permits. Most have been released from jail after paying hefty fines.

The maritime deal is currently being challenged in Egypt’s Higher Administrative Court, with the government appealing a verdict that annulled the deal in June. The next hearing in the case is set for 7 November.

Resuming flights

A DECISION on when to resume Russia-Egypt flights may be taken before the end of the year, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said. "If the Egyptian colleagues invite our commission by December, if the group works rapidly and prepares the corresponding report, we will inform the administration. And if the decision is made by the authorities, it [the resumption of flights] can be launched before the winter holidays. But for now these are just assumptions," Sokolov said.

Sokolov noted that the Egyptian authorities implemented almost every airport security measure demanded by Russia with the remaining ones, including a biometric system tracking employee access to airports, to be put in place in the coming weeks.

Russia suspended flights to and from Egypt shortly after an Airbus A321 en route to St Petersburg crashed over the Sinai Peninsula soon after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh on 31 October 2015, killing all 224 people aboard.

In a relevant context, Cairo International Airport will receive biometric airport equipment recommended by Russian inspectors to improve the airport's security. Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi said the equipment was due to arrive in Egypt this month.

"It should arrive in Egypt mid-November. We will need some time to install it, then we will contact our Russian colleagues and discuss our next steps," Fathi said.

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