Egypt’s foreign minister in show of support for Palestinians in Ramallah

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank July 20, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 21 July 2020

Egypt’s foreign minister in show of support for Palestinians in Ramallah

  • Cairo condemns Israeli annexation plans

AMMAN: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri ended a two-day visit to Jordan and Palestine with a visit to the Palestinian presidential headquarters in Ramallah on Monday.

Nabil Shaath, senior adviser to the Palestinian president, said the visit followed a Sunday phone call between President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The Egyptian position in opposition of the (West Bank) annexation and in support of Palestinian rights is well-known,” Shaath told Arab News. “But the physical presence of the Egyptian official sends a strong message to Palestinians and the world that Egypt is in total sync with the Palestinians.”

After the visit Shukri and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki held a press conference to reiterate the strength of Palestinian-Egyptian relations and their opposition to Israel’s annexation plans.

Oraib Rantawi, head of the Al-Quds Center for Political Studies, said the visit to Ramallah was meant to have been part of a show of support by both Jordan and Egypt.

“The earlier plan was that Shukri and Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi make the trip together, but Shukri was unable to join Safadi on that trip because of sensitive regional talks regarding the Nahda dam,” he told Arab News.

Ofer Zalzberg, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, said that the visit by Shukri was a blow to Israel.

“Cairo’s public condemnation of Israeli unilateralism in Ramallah is a blow to (Benjamin) Netanyahu’s narrative that Israel's Arab partners are indifferent toward annexation if not desirous of it,” he told Arab News.

Cairo’s public condemnation of Israeli unilateralism in Ramallah is a blow to (Benjamin) Netanyahu’s narrative that Israel’s Arab partners are indifferent toward annexation if not desirous of it.

Ofer Zalzberg, Senior analyst

The importance of this visit clearly showed the high level of Egyptian coordination with Ramallah and Amman, he added.

Jordan’s official Petra news agency said that King Abdullah II reiterated that any unilateral Israeli measure to annex lands in the West Bank was unacceptable as it would “undermine the prospects of achieving peace and stability in the region.”

While in Jordan, Shukri said that El-Sisi was looking forward to a trilateral summit between Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq to try and discuss ways to achieve better regional cooperation.

Petra reported that efforts to reach “political solutions to regional crises” were also discussed.

Analysts said that the regional crises were a reference to the situation in Libya.

Rantawi said that the earlier visit to Amman had more than one item on the agenda.

“Jordan’s relationship with Turkey has improved in recent months and I am told that Egypt was hoping that his majesty can help defuse the current Egyptian-Turkish tensions over Libya.”

In other Palestinian-related issues, the governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, was arrested for the 17th time since being appointed to his position two years ago.

Police raided Ghaith’s home in the city’s Silwan neighborhood on Sunday and took him into custody, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center said in a statement.

An Israeli judge decided on Monday to extend his detention to seven days in prison.

It is unclear why he was arrested and what the reason was for the extended remand.


Algeria eases coronavirus restrictions, including travel curbs and curfew

Updated 44 min 56 sec ago

Algeria eases coronavirus restrictions, including travel curbs and curfew

  • In June, Algeria resumed some economic activity, mainly in the construction and public works sectors
  • The new measures include lifting a travel ban between 29 provinces until the end of the month

ALGIERS: Algeria said on Saturday it will further ease its coronavirus lockdown, including shortening an overnight curfew, lifting some travel curbs and allowing large mosques to reopen.
The North African country has recorded 34,155 coronavirus infections, with 1,282 deaths.
In June, it resumed some economic activity, mainly in the construction and public works sectors, and allowed the reopening of some businesses.
The new measures include lifting a travel ban on 29 provinces from Aug. 9 until the end of the month. During that period, a curfew will be shortened and will run from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. from the current 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., the government said.
Mosques with a capacity of more than 1,000 worshipers can reopen from August 15, though weekly prayers on Fridays, which are usually attended by larger numbers of people, will remain banned throughout the country.
The use of air conditioners in mosques remains banned, as does a prohibition of access for women, vulnerable people and children under 15 years, the government said.
Algeria ended a curfew and travel restrictions for its remaining 19 provinces in July.