Egypt’s parliament approves establishing anti-terrorism council 

Egypt’s parliament has approved the articles of a new law to establish the Supreme Council for Combating Terrorism. (Reuters)
Updated 03 April 2018
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Egypt’s parliament approves establishing anti-terrorism council 

  • New Supreme Council for combatting Terrorism to be voted in by parliament in Egypt
  • The council will set the strategy to coordinate all state efforts to eradicate terrorism
Egypt’s parliament has approved the articles of a new law to establish the Supreme Council for Combating Terrorism.
The preliminary approval of all 20 articles of the new law modifies a presidential decree which first regulated the council, Egyptian newspapers said.
It will replace the National Council to combat terrorism and extremism suggested by President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi in 2017. The council will set a strategy to mass all state institutions to eradicate both external and internal terrorism without messing with freedom rights.
Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal ‎announced that the final vote on the law ‎will be postponed until a later meeting.
“As ‎we lack two-thirds of MPs as required by ‎the constitution, I decide to postpone the ‎final vote to a later date,” said Abdel-Aal as quoted by Ahram Online. 
The council’s main location will be in Cairo, and its head will have to call for meeting every two months.


Israeli general denies role as US slaps sanctions for arms sale

Brigadier-General Yisrael Ziv reportedly planned to organize attacks by mercenaries on South Sudanese. (Reuters)
Updated 9 min 48 sec ago
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Israeli general denies role as US slaps sanctions for arms sale

  • The US Treasury slapped sanctions on Israel Ziv and three firms he controls

JERUSALEM: A retired Israeli Army general hit by US sanctions for alleged involvement in the South Sudan conflict denied the charges on Sunday, saying they were based on false information and that he was available for investigation by the Trump administration.

The US Treasury on Friday slapped sanctions on Israel Ziv and three firms he controls, accusing him of using an agricultural consultancy as cover for weapons sales worth $150 million to the Juba government while also arming the opposition.

“He (Ziv) has also reportedly planned to organize attacks by mercenaries on South Sudanese oil fields and infrastructure, in an effort to create a problem that only his company and affiliates could solve,” a Treasury statement said.

Interviewed by Israel’s Army Radio, Ziv said he had never trafficked in weaponry and called the charges against him “ludicrous, baseless, completely divorced from reality.”

“We have an amazing agriculture project there ... that many communities depend on. Tens of thousands of people are employed through this project and it feeds the South Sudan market. So anyone who claims this project is a cover should come see it.”

The Trump administration has championed international arms embargoes against South Sudan to pressure President Salva Kiir into ending the country’s civil war and humanitarian crisis.

Two South Sudanese nationals, Obac William Olawo and Gregory Vasili, were named alongside Ziv in Friday’s US Treasury sanctions notice. Neither was immediately available for comment.

“This is not the first time the (US) administration has used sanctions to enforce its foreign policy,” Ziv said.

“I am approachable ... I want to believe in the decency of the administration. And they are welcome to come, to check, to investigate. We will open up everything for them.”

South Sudan erupted in conflict in 2013 after Kiir sacked Riek Machar as vice president. Ethnically charged fighting soon spread, shutting down oil fields and forcing millions to flee.

At least 383,000 South Sudanese have died as a result of the war, through combat, starvation, disease or other factors, according to a recent study by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine researchers.

Under pressure from governments in East Africa and from UN and Western donors, Machar’s group, other rebel factions and the government in September signed the peace accord under which he will again become vice president.