Bahrain imposes entry visas on Qatari nationals, residents

Corniche Bay of Doha, Qatar. (AP)
Updated 31 October 2017
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Bahrain imposes entry visas on Qatari nationals, residents

CAIRO: Bahrain will impose entry visas on Qatari nationals and residents, it said on Tuesday, in what it called a security measure.
The Anti-Terror Quartet — comprising Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE — cut diplomatic, transport and trade ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of financing terrorism.
“The new measures aim at preventing harming the security and stability of Bahrain particularly in light of the latest repercussions of the crisis with Qatar,” said a statement on official news agency BNA.
Citizens from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are supposed to be able to travel within the GCC carrying only an identity card. Bahrain’s visa requirements will apply from Nov. 10.
Bahrain believes Qatar is fomenting unrest in the country by supporting protests and even sporadic shooting and bombing attacks against security forces.
Bahrain’s foreign minister said on Sunday his country would not attend December’s GCC summit if Qatar does not change its policies, and that Qatar should have its GCC membership suspended.
Also on Tuesday, Bahrain’s lower court jailed 10 Shiite men for life on charges of plotting attacks. Three were sentenced in absentia after fleeing to Iran, Ahmad Al-Hamadi, head of the counter-terrorism prosecution, said in a statement on Twitter.
The 10 were also stripped of their Bahraini citizenship, Al-Hamadi said.
They had been charged with forming an outlawed group that plotted “terror” attacks, smuggling arms and ammunition into Bahrain, traveling to Iran and Iraq for military training and possessing arms and ammunition.
On Monday, 19 Shiites were given lengthy jail terms after being convicted of spying for Iran and plotting to overthrow the regime.
Eight were given life terms, nine got 15 years and two received 10 years for espionage and inciting public dissent, a statement from the counter-terrorism prosecutor’s office said.
Fifteen of those convicted on Monday were also stripped of Bahraini citizenship, the statement said.
In April, Parliament gave approval for military courts to try civilians charged with “terrorism,” a vaguely defined legal term in Bahrain.
Manama accuses Iran of training “terrorist cells” that aim to overthrow Bahrain’s government.


El-Sisi confident Russian flights will resume ‘soon’ to Egyptian resort cities

Updated 15 min 58 sec ago
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El-Sisi confident Russian flights will resume ‘soon’ to Egyptian resort cities

  • “I am confident that given the positive spirit between the two countries, direct flights to other Egyptian cities will resume,” Sisi said
  • El-Sisi also hailed Egypt’s diplomatic relations with Russia, which have enjoyed a course of 75 years

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Tuesday he is confident Russia will resume direct flights to Egyptian resorts as he discussed ways to bolster ties with Russian officials and lawmakers.

Addressing the Russian parliament’s upper house, El-Sisi said: “Our efforts to resume direct flights between Cairo and Moscow ended in success after the visit by President Putin to Egypt in December 2017.

“I am confident that given the positive spirit between the two countries, direct flights to other Egyptian cities will resume,” the Egyptian president said, emphasizing that restoring the flights was essential for Egypt’s tourism industry.

The highest number of tourists to Egypt annually used to come from Russia before Moscow suspended flights after a bomb planted by the Daesh group brought a Russian passenger plane down over Sinai in October 2015, killing all 224 people on board.

Earlier this year, flights between Moscow and Cairo resumed in April after Egyptian officials beefed up airport security.

El-Sisi also hailed Egypt’s diplomatic relations with Russia, which have enjoyed a course of 75 years.

“Russia was the first to help Egypt restore its occupied territories. Egypt also won’t forget Russia’s contribution in its battle for development, as it helped [Egypt] build the high dam and other megaprojects,” he said.

El-Sisi attended meetings in Moscow with top Russian lawmakers and Cabinet ministers, he then met over dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi later in the day.

The two leaders have developed a close personal rapport and sought to expand bilateral ties, which have strengthened considerably over the past few years.

El-Sisi is on his fourth trip to Russia since taking office in 2014, and Putin visited Egypt in 2015 and 2017.

Egypt has signed deals to buy billions of dollars’ worth of Russian weapons, including fighter jets and assault helicopters. When Putin visited Cairo last December, officials signed a deal for Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Dabaa.