Cairo set to sign deal to resume Russian flights

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during a meeting in Cairo on Dec. 11, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 14 December 2017
0

Cairo set to sign deal to resume Russian flights

CAIRO: Egypt’s aviation minister will travel to Russia to sign protocol agreements as early as Friday to allow the resumption of Russian flights that were suspended after the 2015 bombing of a tourist jet, Egyptian sources and Russia’s minister said on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo this week to discuss resuming flights and to sign a deal for a nuclear power plant as part of growing bilateral cooperation.
Two Egyptian sources said the minister would leave on Thursday for Russia, but did not confirm the date for signing the agreement.
The two governments may sign a deal on Friday allowing to resume Russian civilian flights, the TASS news agency cited Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov as saying on Thursday.
“We expect that he (the Egyptian minister) will come on Friday,” Sokolov said, according to the RIA news agency. Asked whether an aviation security protocol with Egypt will be signed, he said: “We expect that it will be signed.”
Moscow halted civilian air traffic to Egypt in 2015 after militants detonated a bomb on a Russian Metrojet flight leaving the tourist resort of Sharm El-Sheikh and killing 224 people on board.
The bombing and the Russian suspension were blows to Egypt’s tourism industry, a key source of hard currency. The industry has been struggling after the upheaval triggered by a 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
The return of Russian flights and tours could be a massive boost to tourist numbers that are still well below the 14.7 million visitors annually Egypt saw in 2010 before the uprising a year later and the unrest that followed.


Washington says observation posts in place on Syria-Turkey border

This Wednesday, April 4, 2018, file photo shows a US position, installed near the tense front line between the US-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council and the Turkish-backed fighters, in Manbij, north Syria.(AP)
Updated 29 min 17 sec ago
0

Washington says observation posts in place on Syria-Turkey border

  • The measure aimed to reassure the YPG, which Turkey considers a "terrorist" group but which is the spearhead of the international fight against the Daesh group
  • Syria's long-oppressed Kurdish minority has established a semi-autonomous region in the north of the war-torn country

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon announced Tuesday that American observation posts in northern Syria, meant to prevent altercations between the Turkish army and US-supported Kurdish militia, have been erected, despite Ankara's request to scrap the move.
US support for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) has strained relations with Turkey, which fears the emergence of an autonomous Kurdish region on its southern border.
"At the direction of Secretary (James) Mattis, the US established observation posts in the northeast Syria border region to address the security concerns of our NATO ally Turkey," Department of Defense spokesman Rob Manning said.
Mattis announced in November that the US military was in the process of installing the observation posts.
The measure aimed to reassure the YPG, which Turkey considers a "terrorist" group but which is the spearhead of the international fight against the Daesh group.
"We take Turkish security concerns seriously and we are committed to coordinating our efforts with Turkey to bring stability to northeastern Syria," Manning added.
The Turkish army since 2016 has already launched two military operations against Kurdish forces in Syria, the last of which saw Ankara-backed Syrian rebels take the border city of Afrin in March.
After Turkey shelled Kurdish militia posts in northern Syria in late October the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), of which the YPG is the backbone, announced the suspension of their operations against Daesh for several days, to the embarrassment of Washington.
During a meeting with US Special Envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, in Ankara on Friday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had asked that Washington scrap the observation posts.
Akar also called for the US to end its cooperation with the YPG.
Syria's long-oppressed Kurdish minority has established a semi-autonomous region in the north of the war-torn country.