Tag Archives: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

France delivers three Rafale fighter-planes to Egypt

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France’s Dassault Aviation on Monday handed over three Rafale fighter jets to Egypt, the first sold abroad in the 14 years it has been building the versatile but hard-to-sell plane. Cairo signed an order for 24 Rafales in February

The three planes were handed over at a ceremony attended by Egypt’s ambassador to France Ehad Badawy and Egyptian air force general Ragga Khalil in southern France.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi signed the contract for 24 Rafales in Cairo in February, after a record six months of negotiation, and the delivery of the first three on Tuesday will break another record.

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They will take part in the ceremony to open the new Suez Canal, a project started a year ago on Sisi’s orders.

Badawy on Monday praised the plane’s versatility, useful to Egypt’s military government, which faces Islamist insurgency in Sinai, the west of its own territory and in neighbouring Libya.

Cairo has also ordered air-to-ground missiles from French company Sagem, part of Safran, to equip the Rafales.

 

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Readout of the President’s Call with President al-Sisi of Egypt | The White House

Mr_ President al-Sisi

Mr. President al-Sisi

President Obama spoke with Egyptian President Abdelfattah al-Sisi today to discuss the U.S.-Egyptian bilateral relationship and developments within the region.  The President affirmed the United States’ continuing commitment to the strategic partnership with Egypt and emphasized the importance of bilateral cooperation to promote shared interests in counterterrorism and regional security.  President Obama expressed his condolences to the Egyptian people for the spate of terrorists attacks they have suffered.  The two leaders agreed on the importance of continuing their countries’ close military and intelligence relationships and encouraged President al-Sisi to invest in the political, economic, and social aspirations of the Egyptian people.  The two leaders agreed to stay in touch in the weeks and months ahead.

The White House.

Pope Francis meets Egyptian president on European trip

Pope Francis meets Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, at the Vatican, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014.

Pope Francis meets Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, at the Vatican, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says Pope Francis emphasized Egypt’s role in establishing Middle East peace during a meeting with the country’s president.

Francis and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met privately for about 20 minutes at the Vatican on al-Sisi’s first visit to Europe since taking office, exchanging gifts before parting: a papal medallion for al-Sisi and a silver box for Francis.

The Vatican said the pope emphasized the need for dialogue and negotiation to bring an end to regional conflicts.

Al-Sisi meets later with Italian Premier Matteo Renzi and then Tuesday with Italian and Egyptian entrepreneurs before continuing to Paris. Al-Sisi’s visit is expected to focus on investment, fighting terrorism and the flows of migrants from conflicts in the Middle East and Africa toward Europe, where Italy is often the first stop.

 

Sisi is president

Egyptian President Fattah al-Sisi was sworn into office on Sunday at Cairo’s Supreme Constitutional Court.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was sworn into office on Sunday at Cairo’s Supreme Constitutional Court as he sat next to former interim President Adly Mansour in front of court officials.

Among those present at the ceremony was al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and other ministers, along with former Prime Ministers Hazem al-Beblawy and Kamal al-Ganzouri.

Following the swearing-in ceremony, Sisi made his way to the presidential palace.

Before Sisi took the oath of office, Egypt’s national anthem was played followed by Quran recitation inside the court. Sisi took office after a 96 percent landslide win in last month’s presidential election.

Ittihadiya Palace

After being sworn in as the sixth president of Egypt, Sisi then headed to Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo, where state TV broadcast images of foreign heads of state arriving at the ceremony.

Among the top Gulf officials attending the Ittihadiya celebrations are Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan.

Monarchs of Bahrain and Jordan as well as the Palestinian, Eritrean and Somali presidents are expected to attend too.

Along with Israel and Syria, Turkey and Qatar were left off the guest list amid bitter ties following Mohammad Mursi’s one-year rule. Both countries have been critical of Egypt’s new rulers.

Amid street celebrations in Cairo, an image was taken of Sisi supporters holding a banner featuring burning Israeli, Turkey and Qatar flags outside the Constitutional Court.

Still, the heavy presence of leaders from the Middle East is a great show of Arab support for Sisi, according to Emad el-Din Hussein, the Editor-in-Chief of Egypt’s al-Shorouk newspaper.

“The inauguration is a display of Sisi’s strengths, with strong public backing of the new leader, as well as strong foreign diplomatic backing.

“Sisi now enjoys popular legitimacy, legal legitimacy and regional and international legitimacy as president,” Hussein added.

Street celebrations

With the Egyptian flag draped over their shoulders, crowds of people outside the Constitutional Court ecstatically waved pictures and banners in support of the former army chief as he arrived at the venue in a blacked-out car.

The inauguration ceremony will be followed by a reception at Cairo’s Ittihadiya Palace which heads of state, ministers and diplomats are set to attend. A second reception will be held in Cairo’s Quba Palace with guests from several political groups, according to state news agency MENA.

 

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Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi declared Egypt’s president

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Former Army Chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi won 96 percent of the votes in the recent presidential election, the Presidential Election Commission said on Tuesday.

The commission said Sisi has more than 23 million votes of the 53 million registered voters. The voter turnout was set at 47 percent, said Anwar el-Assi, chairman of the commission.

The official results of the three-day Egyptian presidential elections last week is expected to be announced by the electoral committee on Tuesday.

Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is already being celebrated in the country as a clear winner, according to exit polls which saw him take the lead against his sole competitor leftist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi with 93 percent of the vote.

Egypt’s elections committee rejected Sabbahi’s appeal against voting results that gave Sisi a landslide victory, judicial sources said.

Sabahi’s campaign sent a complaint to the elections committee on Friday objecting to what it said was “the existence of campaigning inside polling stations” by Sisi supporters, among other abuses.

It also appealed to the committee to nullify all votes cast on the third day of polling, which was introduced at the last minute of the second day of the vote on Tuesday in a surprise move to boost low turnout.

On Thursday, Sabahi conceded defeat and he said he will accept the final result of the vote.

The vote came 10 months after the army’s ouster of elected Islamist President Mohammad Mursi in July in reaction to protests against his rule. Since then, Sisi has ridden of wave of popularity after having led Mursi’s ouster.

 

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U.S. says Russia shouldn’t weigh in on Egypt’s vote

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The United States scolded Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday for endorsing Egyptian military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the key U.S. ally’s presidential polls.

Washington also assured that a warming of relations between Cairo and Moscow wouldn’t harm the “historic” ties shared between Egypt and the United States, which have soured in recent months.

“Of course we don’t endorse a candidate and don’t think it’s, quite frankly, up to the United States or to Mr Putin to decide who should govern Egypt,” said State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf.

“It’s up to the Egyptian people to decide.”

Putin publicly threw his support behind Sisi’s as yet undeclared presidential bid during talks with the Egyptian defense minister in Moscow.

“It’s not up (to) us to endorse a candidate, and really not up to anyone else outside of Egypt to either,” Harf told reporters.

In remarks broadcast on Russian television, Putin spoke with Sisi about his presidential ambitions.

“I wish you luck both from myself personally and from the Russian people,” Putin said.

The 59-year-old Egyptian field marshal has not actually declared his presidential ambitions but is overwhelmingly predicted to run in elections set to be held later this year, after Islamist President Mohammed Mursi was ousted in July.

Sisi came to Moscow with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy for talks aimed at securing Russian assistance, particularly for the military.

Russia — one of the world’s top weapons exporters — is keen to revive military ties with Egypt, which had been extensive through the 1960s and early 1970s.

Cooperation between the two sides dropped after Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty and Cairo began receiving generous aid from a United States eager to encourage adherence to the peace deal, secure its own access through the Suez canal and support the most populous Arab country amid the “war on terror.”

But Washington ultimately froze a portion of its military aid to Cairo in October as punishment for Egypt’s bloody crackdown on Mursi supporters.

The U.S. State Department also denied that growing ties between Moscow and Cairo would hurt Washington’s “long-standing, strong, historical relationship with Egypt.”

“Egypt is free to pursue relationships with other countries. It doesn’t impact our shared interests,” Harf said, adding that the United States brings “unique capabilities to bring to bear militarily and economically” for Cairo.

 
Marie Harf Deputy Spokesperson Daily Press Briefing -Washington,DC
February 13, 2014

TRANSCRIPT:
Via Teleconference
1:19 p.m. EST

MS. HARF: Hi, everyone. Happy snow day. It’s the second time we’ve had to do this over the phone this year. And I appreciate folks, their patience and understanding with doing this.

So this will be just like a normal daily press briefing. It’ll be all on-the-record. What I’ll do is just give a quick travel update, and then we’ll go ahead and open it up for questions. So as the moderator just said, the question-and-answer mode should be on now.

So that’s all I have at the top. No athlete of the day today, because I don’t have the screens to show you all photos. So with that, we’ll start with Lara Jakes of the Associated Press.

QUESTION: Hi. Can you hear me?

MS. HARF: I can.

QUESTION: Hooray. Okay. I have two questions, one on Egypt and one on Afghanistan. I’ve never done this before, so do you want me to just ask both of my questions —

MS. HARF: No, go ahead and do Egypt. We’ll keep your line open, so you can ask follow-ups. So go ahead and do Egypt, and then we’ll do Afghanistan.

QUESTION: Okay. So on Egypt, I’m sure you saw the reports today out of, I believe, Moscow, where Putin has endorsed Field Marshal al-Sisi’s unannounced bid for president. Wanted to get your all’s response on this. Also, a couple of ministers there, Russian and Egyptian, issued a joint communique condemning meddling in foreign affairs by foreign – I’m sorry – in domestic affairs by foreign nations. This is seen on the ground as a poke at the United States and their involvement with working with domestic political issues in Egypt. Can you respond to that?

MS. HARF: Yeah. So on your first question, I think in part we need to wait and see what comes out of this visit to Moscow. Of course, we don’t endorse a candidate and don’t think it’s, quite frankly, up to the United States or to Mr. Putin to decide who should govern Egypt. It’s up to the Egyptian people to decide. So we’ve said – we have urged the government to continue to advance an inclusive transition that includes all groups and all parties. And again, it’s not up for us to endorse a candidate, and really not up to anyone else outside of Egypt to either. In terms of the – your second question, who issued that? I’m sorry. I haven’t seen that communique. Who issued that, Lara?

QUESTION: I will get you the names momentarily. It was – hold on. I don’t have the names of the people right now. I was just looking over a story, and I didn’t see it. I was just told this from one of our correspondents on the ground, but I will get that information.

MS. HARF: It’s okay. And the top line – and it said that no one should be meddling in Egypt’s affairs?

QUESTION: Hold on, and I will get you the exact language. Okay. I’ll just read this to you: Russian and Egyptian ministers issued a joint communique in which they, “condemned foreign interference in domestic affairs of any country and call for solving all existing problems and crises exclusively by peaceful means and broad, all-inclusive dialogue.” So no names, and I don’t have the names of the —

MS. HARF: Okay. That’s fine. Well, having not seen it, I think there is some irony to a foreign country issuing a statement saying other foreign countries shouldn’t get involved. But putting that aside, we have a long-standing relationship with Egypt that’s based on shared interests, as does Russia, as do other countries. So what we’ve said from the beginning is that we certainly do not – cannot and would not want to impose outcomes in Egypt. It’s up to the Egyptian people to decide what their future looks like. And that’s why we’ve said we will work with all parties and all groups across the political spectrum to help advance a process, right, an inclusive democratic transition, but not to impose outcomes and not to endorse candidates, because, again, that’s up to the Egyptian people. So I think that our position certainly hasn’t changed. We have relationships with countries all over the world, including Egypt, based on shared interests, not based on what the U.S. wants or doesn’t want to be done there, but based on what our interests are and what their interests are. You had Afghanistan?

QUESTION: Okay. I was wondering if you have anything more about the arrest of this employee in the Embassy in Egypt. You said you were going to get more clarity. Is this – have you been notified that this is because of any contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood? And what are you – given that this employee wouldn’t have any diplomatic immunity, but – what do you plan to do about this?

MS. HARF: Yeah. So – and thank you for the question. I know there’s been a lot of sort of churn in the media out there about this case. We have been in touch with the Government of Egypt. We have requested additional information about his case. To our knowledge, no charges have been filed against him, although he does remain in prison. He is a member of our political section at the Embassy, performed a number of duties, and does what locally employed staff do for political sections, sort of, in embassies all over the world, right: help us interpret political developments on the ground and connect American diplomats to a wide variety of political actors so we can inform our policy decisions based on those discussions. So what we said to the Government of Egypt is that they need to tell us, and more importantly make public, right – not through anonymous sources, but make public very clearly why he was arrested and is being held. They have not done that yet. I’ve seen some of the anonymous Egyptian officials being quoted about why – talking about why he may have been arrested, but they have not told us yet why he has been detained.

QUESTION: Okay, but given the fact that they haven’t told you this, are you – do you believe that this is because of his work in the political section, which when you say that he connected American diplomats to various —

MS. HARF: Political actors.

QUESTION: — political actors, I’m assuming that would mean the Brotherhood. And given what these anonymous officials are saying in terms of why he was arrested, I mean, what does that say to you about the overall crackdown on the Brotherhood and the intimidation of diplomats who might have contact with them?

MS. HARF: Yeah, well, again, we’ve seen – at least the anonymous sources I’ve seen in the press – maybe I’m missing something – don’t actually mention the Muslim Brotherhood as talked about dealing with certain groups or outlawed groups – which, of course, some could mean that. But I think what we have said is that there are a lot of anonymous officials out there talking about why he may or may not have been arrested, but they need – the Egyptian Government needs to tell us and needs to make public why he was arrested – not through anonymous sources but actually tell us why officially, right? That’s how the process works here. I think – so I don’t – and it’s what we said yesterday, sort of – until they tell us why he was arrested, we don’t want to jump to conclusions and don’t want to, in this specific case, make judgments that we don’t know are necessarily founded in reality. But putting aside his specific case, we have been concerned about the political climate in Egypt. We’ve talked about it a lot. We’ve been concerned about Egyptians of different parties being able to peacefully demonstrate and express their political views. We’ve been as concerned about the inclusiveness about the process and very clearly said that it needs to be inclusive going forward. So we need some more details, quite frankly, about this – official details, which is how the process works, before we’re going to make, I think, any generalizations about his case.

QUESTION: But have any of your diplomats in Egypt been encouraged or subtly threatened or anything not to be speaking to the Muslim Brotherhood?

MS. HARF: By the government?

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. HARF: Yep. It looks like our next question is from Michael Hernandez of Anadolu Agency.

QUESTION: Well, thank you, Marie. I just have a couple quick questions going back to al-Sisi’s visit to Egypt.

MS. HARF: Yep. Moscow?

QUESTION: I’m sorry?

MS. HARF: To Moscow.

QUESTION: I’m sorry. Yeah. Yeah, to Russia.

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: Okay. First of all, I wanted to get your reaction to the fact that this is his first foreign trip since the military endorsed his unannounced bid for the presidency, and also what you make of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov saying that the two have agreed to a document talking about the need to accelerate military-to-military technological cooperation.

MS. HARF: Yeah, so just a couple of points on this. I think we want to see sort of what comes out of the meeting – the meetings, in terms of what happens and sort of any analysis we have on that. Look, Egypt is free to pursue relationships with other countries; it doesn’t impact our shared interests. Obviously, each country brings unique capabilities and pieces of the pie, so to speak, to relationships, bilateral relationships with Egypt and with other countries. So again, this doesn’t impact our relationship, but we’ll wait to see what comes out of it. And if we have more analysis to do then, we’ll do so after it’s over.

QUESTION: And just to follow up, if I could, you don’t see this in any way as Russian – Russia kind of stepping into the historically strong role that the U.S. has had with Egypt on military cooperation?

MS. HARF: It’s an interesting question and it’s in some ways an easy narrative for people to try and pick up on, right? When some of the other countries in the region offered Egypt some financing, for example, people said, “Well, are they trying to take your role in terms of financing?” And what we said on that – and what I would say here – is that the United States has unique capabilities to bring to bear military and economically in terms of the relationship, right? So we have a longstanding, strong, historical relationship with Egypt. That has not changed, and we don’t think that this visit to Russia will impact our shared interests with Egypt. So again, we’ll wait and see what happens. But because I think we do have unique capabilities to bring to the relationship, which we’ve seen over decades, I think we feel like we are in a place where we’ll keep working on issues together, and if they want to work with other countries, then they’re free to do so.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:02 p.m.)

Daily Press Briefing – February 13, 2014.

2013 big moment : When Time Stopped

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Location – Cairo, Egypt – Date : July 3 – Time : 7 p.m. (1700 GMT)

Egypt’s people and armed forces overthrew  Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday and announced a political transition with the support of a wide range of political, religious and youth leaders.

After a day of drama in which tanks and troops deployed near the presidential palace as a military deadline for Morsi to yield to mass protests passed, the top army commander General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced on television that the president had “failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people”.

Mideast Egypt

Flanked by political and religious leaders and top generals, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced the suspension of the Islamist-tinged constitution and a roadmap for a return to democratic rule under a revised rulebook.

The president of the supreme constitutional court will act as interim head of state, assisted by an interim council and a technocratic government until new presidential and parliamentary elections are held.

“Those in the meeting have agreed on a roadmap for the future that includes initial steps to achieve the building of a strong Egyptian society that is cohesive and does not exclude anyone and ends the state of tension and division,” Sisi said in a solemn address broadcast live on state television.

After he spoke, Millions of anti-Morsi protesters in central Cairo’s Tahrir Square erupted into wild cheering, setting off fireworks and waving flags. Cars drove around the capital honking their horns in celebration.

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The Muslim Brotherhood president, in office for just a year, was at a Republican Guard barracks surrounded by barbed wire, barriers and troops, but it was not clear whether he was under arrest. The state newspaper Al-Ahram said the military had told Morsi at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) that he was no longer head of state.

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“TERRORISTS AND FOOLS”

Military chiefs, vowing to restore order in a country racked by protests over Morsi’s Islamist policies, earlier issued a call to battle in a statement headlined “The Final Hours”. They said they were willing to shed blood against “terrorists and fools”.

Armored vehicles took up position outside the state broadcasting headquarters on the Nile River bank, where soldiers patrolled the corridors and non-essential staff were sent home.

In another show of force, several hundred soldiers with armored vehicles staged a parade near the presidential palace, and security sources said Morsi and the entire senior leadership of his Muslim Brotherhood were banned from leaving the country.

Security sources told Reuters the authorities had sent a list of at least 40 leading members of the Brotherhood to airport police.

U.S. oil prices rose to a 14-month high above $100 a barrel partly on fears that unrest in Egypt could destabilize the Middle East and lead to supply disruption.

The massive anti-Morsi protests showed that the Brotherhood had not only alienated liberals and secularists by seeking to entrench Islamic rule, notably in a new constitution, but had also angered millions of Egyptians with economic mismanagement.

33 Million protester in Egypt – 30 June 2013

Tourism and investment have dried up, inflation is rampant and fuel supplies are running short, with power cuts lengthening in the summer heat and motorists spending hours fuelling cars.

Liberal opponents said a rambling late-night television address by Morsi showed he had “lost his mind”.

The country’s two main religious leaders, the head of the Al-Azhar Islamic institute and the Coptic Pope, both expressed their support for the army’s roadmap in speeches after Sisi