Macron says time for Turkey to clarify ambiguous Daesh stance

Emmanuel Macron directly linked Turkey to Daesh fighters ahead of the NATO summit. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2019

Macron says time for Turkey to clarify ambiguous Daesh stance

  • Macron said there is a disconnect in allowing Turkey to buy a Russian anti-aircraft S-400 missile system
  • Speaking alongside US President Donald Trump, Macron directly linked Turkey to Daesh fighters

LONDON: French President Emmanuel Macron accused Turkey on Tuesday of working with Daesh proxies and said Ankara’s ambiguity toward the group was detrimental to its NATO allies fighting in Syria and Iraq.
Relations between Macron and Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan have soured ahead of Wednesday’s NATO summit in London with the two leaders trading barbs over Ankara’s cross-border offensive in northeast Syria targeting Kurdish militias.
Speaking alongside US President Donald Trump, Macron directly linked Turkey to Daesh fighters, while dismissing Trump’s concerns that Paris was not bringing home French Daesh fighters held by Kurdish groups in Syria.

Macron also said there is a disconnect in allowing Turkey to buy an anti-aircraft S-400 missile system from Russia and also be a NATO member. Trump said he is weighing issuing sanctions against Ankara if they move forward with plans to buy the weapons.
“The common enemy today is the terrorist groups. I’m sorry to say, we don’t have the same definition of terrorism around the table,” Macron told reporters.
“When I look at Turkey they are fighting against those who fought with us shoulder to shoulder against Daesh and sometimes they work with Daesh proxies.”
Turkey has threatened to block a plan to defend Baltic states and Poland against Russian attacks unless the alliance backs Ankara in recognizing the Kurdish YPG militia as a terrorist group.
The YPG’s fighters have long been US and French allies on the ground against Daesh in Syria. Turkey considers them an enemy because of links to Kurdish insurgents in southeastern Turkey.
“I think any ambiguity with Turkey vis-a-vis these groups is detrimental to everybody for the situation on the ground,” Macron said. “The number one (priority) is not to be ambiguous with these groups, which is why we started to discuss our relations with Turkey.”
In an at times awkward news conference with Trump, Macron appeared exasperated when the US president said he would pass the question to Macron on whether France should do more to bring French Daesh fighters home.
Paris has about 400 nationals, including around 60 fighters, held in northern Syria. It has refused to bring adults home saying they must face trial where their crimes were committed.
“Would you like some nice Daesh fighters? You can take everyone you want,” Trump said in a light-hearted tone.
Visibly irritated, Macron responded, saying “let’s be serious” and argued that number of foreign fighters from European countries was small, and that it would be unhelpful to focus on them rather than on the broader problem.
“It is true you have fighters coming from Europe but this is a tiny minority and I think the number one priority, because it’s not finished, is to get rid of Daesh and terrorist groups. This is our number one priority and it’s not yet done,” he said.
Trump suggested Macron had not answered the question.
“This is why he is a great politician because that was one of the greatest non-answers I have ever heard, and that’s OK,” Trump said.

 


Upgrade on track as Russian trains join Egypt rail fleet

Updated 13 August 2020

Upgrade on track as Russian trains join Egypt rail fleet

  • Egypt’s rail authority confirmed that a new batch of Russian railway cars has been shipped
  • The new batch includes regular, dynamic-ventilated cars that will operate on main railways

CAIRO: Egypt’s rail authority confirmed that a new batch of Russian railway cars has been shipped as part of a contract with the Russian Transmashholding Company to provide 1,300 carriages.
The batch includes 35 carriages on board two ships that are expected to dock at Alexandria before the end of August.
With the arrival of this batch, the number of Russian railway cars that have reached the Egyptian Railway Authority has increased to 68, including the 33 that arrived in two batches weeks ago and are now operating.
The new batch includes regular, dynamic-ventilated cars that will operate on main railways, named “improved second class.”
According to plans, the batch is expected to enter service immediately after arrival and will form from three to four trains.
Mohamed Kamal, an Egyptian transport expert, said that with the arrival of the new batch of Russian railway cars in Egypt, the number of Russian trains operating on the lower and upper Egypt lines will increase to seven.
He explained that the plan is to receive new batches of 35 Russian cars every month, and to be in possession of over 240 new Russian railway carriages by the end of the year.
Kamal added that the cost of the 1,300 vehicles contracted with Russia is more than €1 billion ($1.2 billion) and is financed in the form of a soft loan in collaboration with the Russian Exim Bank. The Russian cars will operate on main lines only.
The agreement with the Russian-Hungarian alliance led by the Transmashholding Company includes the supply of the 1,300 vehicles.
The contract includes the manufacture and supply of 800 air-conditioned vehicles, including 500 air-conditioned third class carriages, which is a new service that is offered to passengers for the first time in the history of the Egyptian railways. The contract also includes 180 second-class air conditioned cars, 90 first-class air-conditioned cars and 30 air-conditioned buffet trolleys.
The rail authority began operating the first three Russian trains to join the fleet just before Eid Al-Adha, after President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi assigned them to transport passengers during the holidays.
The railway commissioned the trains to work on lines between Cairo to Alexandria as well as from Cairo to Aswan. The Russian train now operates alongside a fleet of Spanish, French, Romanian, German and Egyptian trains.