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.


500,000 children face ‘immediate danger’ in Libya capital: UN

Updated 2 min 36 sec ago
0

500,000 children face ‘immediate danger’ in Libya capital: UN

TRIPOLI: Half a million children are in “immediate danger” in Libya’s capital Tripoli due to fighting, the United Nations children’s fund UNICEF said on Monday.
Clashes that broke out between rival militias in late August had killed at least 115 people and wounded nearly 400 by Saturday night, according to Libya’s health ministry.
UNICEF said more than 1,200 families were displaced in the past 48 hours as the clashes intensified in southern Tripoli before pausing on Monday.
That put the total number of people displaced by the recent fighting at over 25,000, half of whom were children, it said.
The UN agency’s Middle East and North Africa director, Geert Cappelaere, said children were paying a “heavy toll” and were increasingly being recruited by armed groups.
“We see children being prevented from going to school, we see children not having the vaccination that they urgently need,” he said.
Those whose parents came to Libya with the hope of migrating to Europe by sea suffered doubly, said Cappelaere.
“They are already facing dire living conditions, many of them are held in detention,” a situation made worse by “the violence that is happening today,” he said.
UNICEF also said schools are increasingly being used to shelter displaced families, which is likely to delay the start of the academic year beyond October 3.
It said residents are facing food, power and water shortages, adding that the clashes had exacerbated the plight of migrants.
“Hundreds of detained refugees and migrants, including children, were forced to move because of violence. Others are stranded in centers in dire conditions,” Cappelaere said.
Despite a UN-brokered cease-fire on September 4, fighting broke out again last week in southern districts of the capital.
The clashes have pitted armed groups from Tarhuna and Misrata against Tripoli militias nominally controlled by Libya’s UN-backed unity government.
The Libyan capital has been at the center of a battle for influence between armed groups since dictator Muammar Qaddafi was ousted in a NATO-backed 2011 uprising.
The country’s unity government has struggled to exert its control in the face of a multitude of militias and a rival administration based in eastern Libya.