Egypt’s President El-Sisi makes whirlwind visit to Jordan

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King Abdullah II of Jordan (L) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi review an honor guard at Marka International Aiport, in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 13, 2018. (AFP)
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King Abdullah II of Jordan (R) welcomes Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at Marka International Aiport, in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 13, 2018. (AFP)
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King Abdullah II of Jordan (R) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi review an honor guard at Marka International Aiport, in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 13, 2018. / AFP / Khalil MAZRAAWI
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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi arrives at Marka International Aiport, in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 13, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 January 2019
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Egypt’s President El-Sisi makes whirlwind visit to Jordan

  • Egypt might try to lobby Jordan to push the Palestinians into accepting the US peace plan
  • Egypt and Jordan must prepare for what comes next in Syria, says expert

AMMAN: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has visited Jordan to meet King Abdullah II to discuss regional political and economic issues, as well as Palestine and Syria.
Mamdouh Abadi, the former Jordanian prime minister, told Arab News he believed the visit was largely about Iran and Syria. “The timing of the visit, just after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tour of the region, makes me think the visit was not about Palestine, but about Syria.” 
Veteran politician Abadi added: “I am happy there was a visit. I hope that President El-Sisi discusses Syria with others. Now that the UAE has restored ties with Damascus, this should loosen the regional boycott of Syria.”
Lamis Andoni, a veteran commentator on US-Arab relations, told Arab News he thought there was a clear link between the visit of Pompeo and suggestions of the creation of a pan-Arab military alliance.
“Jordan has no choice but to improve relations with Egypt. Egypt and Jordan must prepare for what comes next in Syria.”
Andoni believes that the problems lie with the Trump administration’s haphazard foreign policy. “All of a sudden, Washington decides something, and wants regional partners to produce results according to its vision,” he said. “If an Arab ‘NATO’ force is created, will it be asked to help remove Iran from Syria?”
Anis F. Kassim, editor of the Palestinian Yearbook of International Law, however, was not convinced that the Palestinian issue was not discussed at the meeting in Amman. 
Kassim told Arab News he worried Egypt might try to lobby Jordan to push the Palestinians into accepting the US peace plan. “Jordan has been a strong opponent to the ‘Deal of the Century,’ and when it comes to Jerusalem it is more principled than the Palestinian leadership,” he said.
The meeting in Amman was also attended by Jordan’s crown prince, Hussein Bin Abdullah, the Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi, and Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry.


Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

A firefighting aircraft flies over a forest near Kibbutz Harel, which was damaged by wildfires during a record heatwave, in Israel May 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 May 2019
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Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

  • Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes on Thursday as fires raged
  • The fires were fueled by high temperatures and dry condition

JERUSALEM: Egypt and four European countries sent aircraft to help Israel battle wildfires that have forced the evacuation of some small towns, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday, as a record heatwave looked set to worsen conditions.
At an emergency briefing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had appealed for international help to combat the fires, and that firefighting planes were coming in from Greece, Croatia, Italy and Cyprus.
Egypt, on the orders of President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi, had also sent two helicopters to assist Israel, Netanyahu told reporters.
The Palestinian Authority and Russia had also offered help, Netanyahu said.
Israel braced for wildfires on Friday amid a major heat wave that shows no signs of abating.
Israel “really appreciates” the help, Netanyahu said, singling out El-Sisi for sending aid.
“I am deeply thankful for the readiness of neighbors to help us in a time of crisis, just as we help them,” Netanyahu said.
Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service said blazes in a key corridor between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were mostly under control but difficult weather remained a conflagration risk.
“As of this moment, this (containment) is being done in the best possible way, but the challenge is yet ahead of us given the weather conditions, the winds and the extreme heat,” Netanyahu said.
Some 3,500 residents of small towns in the path of the fires were evacuated on Thursday, officials said. Dozens of homes have burned down.

Evacuations
Thousands of people were evacuated from towns and dozens of homes were burned on Thursday as fires raged, fueled by high temperatures and dry conditions. Over 500 acres of woodland have burned, said Nitai Zecharya, an Israeli official from the Jewish National Fund, known for planting forests in the country.
Zecharya said that while firefighters had brought most of the blaze under control, officials remained “very stressed” about strong winds fanning flames and “spreading fires to other fronts.”
The cause of the fires remains unclear, but they erupted following the Jewish festival of Lag Ba’Omer, which observers mark with bonfires.
A sweltering heat wave is pushing temperatures in parts of the country up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 Celsius.