Below please find a summary of news you may have missed in the last week about Egypt, the Egypt-U.S. partnership, and other relevant issues. In this issue:
- President El Sisi Vows To Eradicate Terrorism, Complete $15 Billion Sinai Development Plan by 2022
- President El Sisi Meets Delegation From the Jewish Institute for National Security of America
- President El Sisi Commemorates Labor Day
- IMF Delegation To Arrive in Egypt Next Week
- Islamic Thought Forum To Combat Extremist Ideology Will Take Place in Sharm El Sheikh
- Greek, Cypriot Presidents Visit Egypt To Inaugurate Cultural Heritage Initiative
- Minister Nasr: World Bank Capital Increase Will Benefit Egypt
- Egyptian Cabinet Makes Progress in Efforts To Revive ‘Route of the Holy Family’
We hope you enjoy. Please let us know if the Embassy can be a resource.
PRESIDENT EL SISI VOWS TO ERADICATE TERRORISM, COMPLETE $15 BILLION SINAI DEVELOPMENT PLAN BY 2022
On Saturday, 28 April, President El Sisi vowed to accomplish the goals of the ongoing counter-terrorism campaign, Operation Sinai 2018, and work quickly to fulfill a comprehensive development plan for Sinai. According to Ahram Online, Presidential Aide for National and Strategic Projects Ibrahim Mahleb said the planned investments of more than $15 billion by 2022 include a comprehensive network of roads, residential and industrial developments, four water desalination plants, hospitals and sewage networks. In mid-April, Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail announced the allocation of 275 billion Egyptian pounds (about $15.6 billion) for the development of the Sinai Peninsula within four years. Developing Sinai is a key component of the Government of Egypt’s economic and security agenda.
PRESIDENT EL SISI MEETS DELEGATION FROM THE JEWISH INSTITUTE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY OF AMERICA
On Tuesday, 1 May, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met in Cairo with a visiting delegation from the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. According to a statement released by the Office of the Presidency, President El Sisi “emphasized Egypt’s keenness on continuing engagement with all segments of American society so as to enhance the joint understanding and intensify consultations on ways to address the challenges facing the Middle East, primarily terrorism and extremist thought.” President El Sisi also “underscored the significance of the decades-old strategic relations between Egypt and the U.S., stressing Egypt’s commitment to strengthening and further advancing these ties.” The meeting touched on the latest regional and international developments, with a focus on ways to settle crises in the region. President El Sisi “discussed efforts to push forward the peace process and confirmed Egypt’s support for international efforts and initiatives aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive solution for the Palestinian cause,” reiterating “that reaching a just and comprehensive solution for this issue will provide a new reality in the region, particularly on the level of public opinion, and thus contribute to achieving sustainable security and stability in the entire region.”
PRESIDENT EL SISI COMMEMORATES LABOR DAY
On Monday, 30 April, President El Sisi gave a national address to mark Labor Day, which is celebrated in Egypt every 1 May. In his remarks, President El Sisi celebrated the role of Egyptian workers in protecting Egypt, completing national infrastructure projects such as the New Suez Canal, and advancing Egypt’s economic recovery. According to Cairo Scene, the Egyptian Parliament will vote later this month on a new labor law, “which President El Sisi called on the Parliament to pass quickly to provide the 26 million private sector workers with job security and stable work environments.” Amongst other benefits, the law would grant pregnant mothers new benefits and protections as they prepare to welcome a child.
IMF DELEGATION TO ARRIVE IN EGYPT NEXT WEEK
Reuters reports that an International Monetary Fund delegation will arrive in Cairo next week to review Egypt’s progress on economic reforms before it disperses the fourth instalment of a $12 billion loan program. Egypt agreed to the three-year IMF loan program in November 2016, which has led to sweeping monetary and fiscal reforms. These reforms continue to deliver positive results, and according to a recent report published by the IMF, “the outlook for Egypt has improved relative to the October 2017 forecast.” The report follows spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) where Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a press conference that the Egyptian economy is “heading in the right direction,” and highlighted “a clear rebound of growth.”
ISLAMIC THOUGHT FORUM TO COMBAT EXTREMIST IDEOLOGY WILL TAKE PLACE IN SHARM EL SHEIKH
Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) reported this week that Awqaf (Religious Endowments) Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa announced that the next Islamic thought forum will be held at El Sahaba mosque in Sharm El Sheikh from May 15-26. In a meeting with South Sinai Governor Khaled Foda, Minister Gomaa said prominent Islamic scholars, intellectuals and journalists will attend the forum. It will focus on spreading moderate thought and combating extremist ideology, as well as focus on values, ethics and some general issues.
GREEK, CYPRIOT PRESIDENTS VISIT EGYPT TO INAUGURATE CULTURAL HERITAGE INITIATIVE
President El Sisi hosted President Prokopis Pavlopoulos of Greece and President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus in Alexandria on Monday, 30 April, to inaugurate “Nostos: Reviving Roots.” The cultural heritage initiative will provide Cypriots and Greeks that used to live in Alexandria the opportunity to return to their old homes in the Mediterranean city. “The imprint of these foreign communities … cannot be overlooked; it is an imprint that is part of the colorful and diverse profile of the city. It is a diversity that has always been cherished, and not just by Alexandrians who had lived with these communities,” said Minister of Immigration and Expatriates’ Affairs Nabil Makram in an interview with Ahram Online. The outlet also noted that “Egyptian, Cypriot and Greek ties have strengthened since President El-Sisi assumed office in 2014.”
MINISTER NASR: WORLD BANK CAPITAL INCREASE WILL BENEFIT EGYPT
During a speech on Sunday, 29 April, Investment and International Investment Minister Sahar Nasr highlighted that Egypt will be among the countries to benefit from an increase in the capital of the World Bank. In April, the World Bank Group’s shareholders endorsed a series of measures that included a $13 billion paid-in-capital increase. Minister Nasr noted that the historic increase of the World Bank’s capital will be directed to Egypt and other countries that have economic reform programs with the World Bank. According to the State Information Service (SIS), she also added that “the bank is keen on participating in funding infrastructure and energy projects which are very vital for Egypt’s development process.” The news comes after a high-level delegation from Egypt concluded successful spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington, D.C. that saw the completion of a $500 million loan agreement with the World Bank to support education in Egypt.
EGYPTIAN CABINET MAKES PROGRESS IN EFFORTS TO REVIVE ‘ROUTE OF THE HOLY FAMILY’
On Wednesday, 2 May, the State Information Service (SIS) reported that the Egyptian Cabinet reviewed a report by Tourism Minister Rania El Mashat on steps to revive the Route of Holy Family. This follows efforts by Egyptian tourism officials to promote the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt, as mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew, as an essential part of the Roman Catholic pilgrimage route. In October 2017, Pope Francis gave the initiative his blessings, reflecting on his own “fond” Apostolic Journey to Egypt in April 2017.