Egypt reopens five ports after weather improves

Ayman Saleh, head of the Red Sea Ports Authority, stressed that the heads of ports should be in contact with the Egyptian Meteorological Authority to ensure the regularity and safety of maritime navigation. (File/AFP)
Updated 17 January 2019
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Egypt reopens five ports after weather improves

  • Several Egyptian port cities and the capital Cairo were hit by a severe sandstorm on Wednesday
  • The Red Sea Ports Authority announced the weather has improved and winds have stabilized

ALEXANDRIA: Egypt reopened five ports on Thursday that it had shut due to bad weather as conditions improved and winds stabilized, the Red Sea Ports Authority said.

Several Egyptian port cities and the capital Cairo were hit by a severe sandstorm on Wednesday, which prompted the closure of several ports.
He said the decision to reopen the ports was made after wind speed, wave height and visibility had returned to "normal levels that allow ships to enter and exit the port safely".

The ports of Suez and Zeitiyat in the Suez governorate were reopened at 0700 local time (0500 GMT) and the Sharm Al-Sheikh port in the South Sinai governorate reopened at 0800 local, the authority said.

He said the decision to reopen the ports was made after wind speed, wave height and visibility had returned to "normal levels that allow ships to enter and exit the port safely".

Ayman Saleh, head of the Red Sea Ports Authority, stressed that the heads of ports should be in contact with the Egyptian Meteorological Authority to ensure the regularity and safety of maritime navigation.


Erdogan offers seminary exchange for Greek mosque minarets

Updated 16 February 2019
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Erdogan offers seminary exchange for Greek mosque minarets

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday suggested the mosque in Athens should open with minarets if the Greek premier wants to reopen a seminary in Istanbul.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was in Turkey this month and visited the disputed landmarks of Hagia Sophia and the now-closed Greek Orthodox Halki seminary.
Tsipras said during the visit to the seminary located on Heybeli island off Istanbul on February 6 he hoped to reopen the school next time with Erdogan.
Future priests of the Constantinople diocese had been trained at the seminary, which was closed in 1971 after tensions between Ankara and Athens over Cyprus.
Erdogan on Saturday complained that the Fethiye Mosque in Athens had no minarets despite Greek insistence that it would open.
The mosque was built in 1458 during the Ottoman occupation of Greece but has not been used as a mosque since 1821.
“Look you want something from us, you want the Halki seminary. And I tell you (Greece), come, let’s open the Fethiye Mosque,” Erdogan said during a rally in the northwestern province of Edirne ahead of local elections on March 31.
“They said, ‘we are opening the mosque’ but I said, why isn’t there a minaret? Can a church be a church without a bell tower?” he said, describing his talks with Tsipras.
“We say, you want to build a bell tower? Come and do it... But what is an essential part of our mosques? The minarets,” the Turkish president added.
Erdogan said Tsipras told him he was wary of criticism from the Greek opposition.
After the independence war against Ottomans began in 1821, the minaret is believed by some to have been destroyed because it was a symbol of the Ottoman occupation.
Ankara had returned land taken from the seminary in 1943 but there is still international pressure on Turkey to reopen it.
Erdogan has previously said that its reopening is dependent on reciprocal steps from Greece to enhance the rights of the Turkish minority.