Egypt, Russia agree on two-state solution for Palestine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry shake hands after their joint news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 24, 2019. (AP)
Updated 24 June 2019

Egypt, Russia agree on two-state solution for Palestine

  • Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has moved to increase military cooperation with Russia
  • The two nations foreign and defense ministers have held regular meetings

CAIRO: Egypt and Russia said on Monday that they agree on a two-state solution and the need to reach a comprehensive deal to the Palestinian issue.

Speaking during a joint press conference, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Moscow and Cairo have a common vision on a large number of regional issues.

He added that counter-terrorism must be treated with a comprehensive strategy.

His Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, said Moscow supports dialogue between the Arabs and Iran and wants to build confidence to establish security in the Arabian Gulf.

On Syria, Lavrov said: “We are concerned about trying to turn Syrian territory into a zone of conflict between Iran and Israel.”

He said that Russia stresses the need for dialogue and reject attempts to secede in Syria.

Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Egypt was successfully fighting terrorism — an important step for the whole region — during talks with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Ahmed Zaki in Moscow on Monday.

“We are certain that neutralizing the extremist and terrorist groups operating in your country corresponds to the interests of the whole region,” Shoigu said. According to him, Egypt was “an example of stability in these tumultuous times for the whole Arab world.”

“Largely, this is a personal achievement of President (Abdel Fattah) El-Sisi and the Egyptian Armed Forces. We support the effort of the Egyptian leadership to combat terrorism and normalize the situation on the Sinai Peninsula,” the Defense Minister added.

Shoigu also pointed out “Egypt’s key role in resolving political and economic issues in North Africa and the Middle East.”

Talking about the regular meetings of the two countries' defense and foreign ministers an important part of bilateral cooperation. “The diplomats and the military of our countries have a great opportunity to discuss the burning issues of the current agenda,” the Russian Minister said.


Militant sentenced to 19 years for role in Benghazi attacks

Updated 24 January 2020

Militant sentenced to 19 years for role in Benghazi attacks

  • Al-Imam is the second militant convicted in the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American personnel
  • The head of the extremist militia who directed the siege, Ahmed Abu Khattala, was convicted in 2017 on terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 22 years in prison

NEW YORK: A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a Libyan militant to more than 19 years in prison for his role in the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador.
A jury convicted Mustafa Al-Imam last year of conspiring to support the extremist militia that launched the fiery assaults on the US compounds but deadlocked on 15 other counts.
The attacks, aimed at killing American personnel, prompted a political fracas in which Republicans accused the Obama administration of a bungled response.
Al-Imam was sentenced to a total of 236 months behind bars. He is the second militant convicted in the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, communications specialist Sean Smith and security officers Tyrone Snowden Woods and Glen Anthony Doherty.
The head of the extremist militia who directed the siege, Ahmed Abu Khattala, was convicted in 2017 on terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Khattala was accused of driving to the diplomatic mission on Sept. 11, 2012, and breaching the main gate with militants who attacked with assault rifles, grenades and other weapons.
The initial attack killed Stevens and Smith and set the mission ablaze. Woods and Doherty were later killed at a CIA annex.
On Thursday, federal prosecutors in Washington asked US District Judge Christopher Cooper to send a message to others contemplating attacks on Americans overseas, saying Al-Imam deserved the maximum 35-year sentence.
“In the current geopolitical environment, terrorists must understand that there are harsh consequences for attacking diplomatic posts and harming US personnel — particularly a US ambassador,” Assistant US Attorney John Cummings wrote in a court filing.
Defense attorneys said Al-Imam made a “tremendous mistake” by damaging and looting US property after the attacks. But they insisted there was no evidence he intended to harm any Americans, noting jurors could not reach a verdict on the murder charges Al-Imam faced.
“Mustafa Al-Imam is a frail, uneducated and simple man,” they wrote in a court filing. “He is not a fighter, an ideologue or a terrorist. He is a former convenience store clerk whose main loves in life are soccer and family.”
Al-Imam was tried in a civilian court despite the Trump administration’s earlier contention that such suspects are better sent to Guantanamo Bay. His arrest, five years after the attack, was the first publicly known operation since President Donald Trump took office targeting those accused of involvement in Benghazi.
Prosecutors acknowledged there was no evidence that Al-Imam “directly caused” the killings at the US compounds. But they said he aligned himself with Khattala and acted as his “eyes and ears” at the height of the attacks.
During a four-week trial in Washington, prosecutors pointed to phone records that showed Al-Imam was in the vicinity of the mission and placed an 18-minute call to Khattala during a “pivotal moment” of the attacks.
Al-Imam also entered the US compound, prosecutors said, and took sensitive material that identified the location of the CIA annex about a mile away from the mission as the evacuation point for Department of State personnel.
In interviews with law enforcement following his 2017 capture in Misrata, Libya, he admitted stealing a phone and map from the US mission.