Trump to host Egypt's El-Sisi on April 9: White House

In this file photo taken on September 24, 2018, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L), shakes hands with US President Donald Trump (R) at the start of a bilateral meeting in New York. (AFP)
Updated 29 March 2019

Trump to host Egypt's El-Sisi on April 9: White House

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump will host Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at the White House on April 9 for talks on strengthening their strategic partnership and working on shared priorities in the Middle East, the White House said on Friday.
The White House said in a statement the two leaders would discuss "building on our robust military, economic and counterterrorism cooperation" as well as regional economic integration and "Egypt’s longstanding role as a lynchpin of regional stability."
The visit by El-Sisi comes at a time of renewed tensions between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza after a rocket fired from the coastal enclave wounded seven Israelis near Tel Aviv.
Israel responded with air strikes and warnings from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel was prepared to wage a broad military campaign in Gaza if needed.
Trump on Monday signed a decree recognizing Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in the 1967 war. The decision, which was criticized by Arab states, came as Israel gears up for elections on April 9.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Golan decision would help resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians by removing uncertainty. White House advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt have been working to put together a peace proposal to address the conflict.


Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

Updated 14 November 2019

Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

  • Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined a sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks
  • Firebrand cleric leading the protests called for nationwide demonstrations

ISLAMABAD: Anti-government protesters in Pakistan blocked major roads and highways across the country on Thursday in a bid to force Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign.
The demonstrators — led by the leader of opposition party Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), the firebrand cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman — have taken to the streets as the start of their “Plan B” to topple the government and ensure a general election after failing to push Khan out through a fortnight-long sit-in in Islamabad, which ended on Wednesday.
That same day, Rehman told his party workers to spread their protests to other parts of the country.
“This protest will continue not for a day but for a month, if our leadership instructs,” said JUI-F Secretary-General, Maulana Nasir Mehmood, to a group of protesters who blocked the country’s main Karakoram Highway — an important trade route between Pakistan and China that also connects the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province with its northern areas.
The JUI-F protesters also blocked other key routes in KP and a major highway connecting the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. The party’s Balochistan chapter also announced its intention to block the highway connecting Pakistan to neighboring Iran.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined the sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks, demanding the prime minister’s resignation and fresh polls in the country following allegations of electoral fraud last year and the mismanagement of Pakistan’s economy. The government denies both charges.
Rehman is a veteran politician who was a member of the National Assembly for 20 years. He enjoys support in religious circles across the country. His party has yet to share a detailed plan regarding which roads will be closed when, or how long this new phase of protests will continue.
The JUI-F and other opposition parties have been trying to capitalize on the anger and frustration of the public against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ruling party, which came to power last year promising 10 million new jobs for the youth, 5 million low-cost houses, and economic reforms to benefit the middle class.
Since then, Pakistan’s economy has nosedived, witnessing double-digit inflation and rampant unemployment. The government signed a $6-billion bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund to stave off a balance-of-payments crisis.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has stabilized the deteriorating economy, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman ‘Plan B’ will fail like his ‘Plan A,’” Firdous Ashiq Awan, special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, said in a statement to the press.

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