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

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.


The famous Egyptian city square that shaped a nation’s history

Updated 18 min 41 sec ago

The famous Egyptian city square that shaped a nation’s history

  • Following the two mass demonstrations, Tahrir Square, which lies at the midpoint of Cairo, has become not only a significant part of Egyptian history but also a popular tourist attraction

CAIRO: As famous city squares go, few can have played a more prominent role in shaping a country’s history than Tahrir Square in Cairo.

Best known for providing the stage for nationwide protests, which led to the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, the public gathering place is one of the capital’s most important sites.

For 18 consecutive days, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators — some reports put the number at millions — descended on the square before Mubarak finally resigned after 30 years in power.

And the anti-Mubarak protests were not the only political demonstrations Tahrir, also known as Martyr Square, has witnessed.

On June 30, 2013, a year after Mohamed Mursi became the Egyptian president, thousands of protesters gathered in the square demanding his resignation.

Following the two mass demonstrations, Tahrir (Liberation) Square, which lies at the midpoint of Cairo, has become not only a significant part of Egyptian history but also a popular tourist attraction.

Directly after the protests, Egyptians and foreigners feared venturing into Tahrir after it gained a reputation for being unsafe, despite a heavy police presence.

Nine years on from its most significant event, the square is now once again bustling with commuters being within walking distance of the Abdel-Moneim Riad bus station and a transport hub.

Tahrir is also home to the Egyptian Museum which houses more than 100,000 artifacts from the country.

The square is overlooked by the downtown branch of The American University in Cairo, one of the most famous international educational institutions in the country and the Arab world. In 2008, the university relocated to New Cairo, in the Fifth Settlement, taking with it a significant amount of traffic.

Renovation work resumed this month in the square, part of which will involve the addition of four rams restored from Karnak Temple’s Hall of Celebration in Luxor. They will be placed around an obelisk being moved from Sun Al-Hajar in the east of Egypt.

With the Egyptian Museum due to relocate to Haram, near the Giza pyramids, the future of the square is not clear. But with its history, offices, schools, coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, and timeworn residential buildings, Tahrir Square is guaranteed never to be short of visitors.