Egyptian president sacks intelligence chief, appoints replacement

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has fired the country’s chief spy and temporarily assigned his confidante and office director Abbas Kamel as director. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2018
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Egyptian president sacks intelligence chief, appoints replacement

CAIRO: Egypt’s president has fired the country’s chief spy and assigned a confidante and head of his office to run the General Intelligence Directorate Agency temporarily.
Thursday’s one-line statement from President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s office gave no reason why Khaled Fawzi was removed from office. The Egyptian president seldom explains decisions pertaining to national security or foreign relations.
The statement says the president’s confidante and office director Abbas Kamel, a retired army general who works behind the scenes, would run the agency until a new director is found.
Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate is the country’s equivalent of the US Central Intelligence Agency, but it has also taken tasks that normally fall under the mandate of a domestic security agency.
The agency’s chiefs have traditionally hailed from the military.


Lavrov says Russia has invited Syria's Assad to visit Russia and Crimea - Interfax

Updated 44 min 45 sec ago
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Lavrov says Russia has invited Syria's Assad to visit Russia and Crimea - Interfax

LONDON: Russia has invited Syrian President Bashar Assad to visit Russia, including Crimea, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, according to Interfax.
“The head of the Republic of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, recently visited Damascus on the invitation of President Assad.
He naturally conveyed, in line with normal diplomatic practices, an invitation to President Assad from the Russian leadership to visit the Russian Federation, including Crimea,” Lavrov said in an interview with the Euronews television channel.

Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday that Assad has tentative plans to visit Crimea in April 2019 and is in talks about starting regular passenger flights between Syria and the Black Sea peninsula,

Crimea has been under Western sanctions since it was annexed from Ukraine by Russia in 2014.
Russia is a key ally of Assad in Syria’s seven-year long conflict and the leaders of two other Russia-backed breakaway regions, Georgia’s South Ossetia and Abkhazia, also visited Damascus this year.