Egypt must coexist with coronavirus pandemic: cabinet spokesperson

Above, a view of the area around Bab Zuweila, one of the remaining gates in the walls of the old medieval city of Cairo on April 24, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 09 May 2020

Egypt must coexist with coronavirus pandemic: cabinet spokesperson

  • Egyptian government hoping it can ‘start a new period’ by June 1

DUBAI: Egyptians must learn to coexist with the coronavirus pandemic as the country pushes forward with efforts to reopen the economy by the end of Ramadan, cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said.

The government is hoping it can ‘start a new period’ by June 1, and will review its position on restrictions imposed over the pandemic before the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, forecast to start on May 23, Saad said in a report from Ahram.

The official stressed the necessity of a ‘gradual return to normal life, but with certain preventive measures,’ especially as not all countries can continue imposing lockdowns until a vaccine is developed, due to the economic repercussions.

“A return of activities or facilities will not be the same before the pandemic. Certain measures, including face masks, would be obligatory in cinemas and theatres, for example, or at governmental buildings,” Saad said.

“Face masks are not luxury now. They are a basic necessity given the pandemic.”


‘Provocative’ Erdogan to drill for oil off Libya

Updated 31 May 2020

‘Provocative’ Erdogan to drill for oil off Libya

  • Turkey claims an agreement gives it the right to explore for oil and gas in an exclusive economic zone

JEDDAH: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to create a “fait accompli” over rights to natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean by drilling off the coast of Libya, analysts told Arab News on Saturday.

Ankara’s announcement that it intends to activate last year’s maritime borders agreement with the Libyan government in Tripoli has brought simmering tensions to the boil.   

Turkey claims the agreement gives it the right to explore for oil and gas in an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between its southern coast and Libya’s northeastern coast. However, Greece, Cyprus and the EU say the deal is illegal. Turkey may also face EU sanctions over drilling in Cypriot territorial waters.

Ankara has not said exactly where it will drill, but experts told Arab News they expect exploration activities to begin off Tripoli in the short term, and then near to the coastal city of Sirte.

“From a tactical point of view, Turkey may test the scenario of a crisis with Athens where escalation takes place and then, in the context of de-escalation, the two countries would have to discuss and negotiate their positions,” said Zenonas Tziarras, a researcher at PRIO Cyprus Centre.

Mona Sukkarieh, a political risk consultant and co-founder of Middle East Strategic Perspectives, said: “If we take Turkish operations off the Cypriot coast as an indicator, operations off the Libyan coast might start off on the less provocative part of the spectrum and grow bolder with time toward the more provocative part of the spectrum.

“The objective is to demonstrate a resolute determination in order to extract concessions or, at the very least, to impose itself as a player to reckon with.”