Egypt, Greece, Cyprus agree on enhancing tripartite military trainings

Defense ministers of Egypt, Greece, Cyprus at Larnaca, Thursday December 14, 2017- Press PhotoCAIRO – 15 December 2017: Egypt’s Defense Minister Sedky Sobhy and his Cypriot and Greek counterparts agreed on developing and enhancing the tripartite military trainings between their countries during the coming period to counter the dangers of terrorism.During Sobhy’s visit to Cyprus he met with counterparts; Christoforos Fokaides of Cyprus, and Panos Kammenos of Greece. They discussed several issues during their tripartite summit that was held in Larnaca city at the Zenon Coordinating Centre, including combating terrorism, search and rescue trainings, securing maritime targets, and energy and navigation lines.Sobhy also held separate meetings with Fokaides, and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, as they praised the two countries’ strong relations especially after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s last visit, in which he held another tripartite summit with his Greek and Cypriot counterparts last November.Sobhy arrived in the Cyprus capital Nicosia on Tuesday upon an invitation of his Cypriot counterpart.Egypt, Greece and Cyprus gave the international community a model for successful international relations and cooperation between countries, according to Sisi’s statements during a meeting with the Cypriot parliament head in Nicosia, describing the unique relations between the three governments.He added that the relations between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus are strong and historical. The visit to Nicosia was the first for an Egyptian president and included more than several meetings between Sisi and some of the state’s senior officials.It included attending the fifth Egyptian-Greek-Cypriot tripartite summit in which several topics were tackled, including coordination between the three countries, as well as enhancing the relations in the political, economic, trade, security and tourism fields.

Source:Egypt Today

December 15, 2017 16:30 UTC

France, Germany to unveil eurozone reforms in March

© Belga/AFP / by Alex PIGMAN | Overhauling the eurozone has been a top priority of French President Emmanuel Macron, but his ambitions have been stymied by political uncertainty in GermanyBRUSSELS - 15 December 2017: Germany and France will offer their joint vision for reforming the eurozone by March, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday, in an effort to bridge divisions over the future of the single currency.Meeting without departure-bound Britain, the bloc's 27 leaders were tasked by EU President Donald Tusk to speak freely about their often clashing visions for the single currency's future at a summit widely expected to be dominated by Brexit.Overhauling the eurozone and making it more resilient to economic shocks has been a top priority of French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.But these ambitions have been stymied by political uncertainty in Germany, where Macron-ally Merkel is still trying to form a government after the pro-business FDP party abandoned talks amid doubts about eurozone reform. "We will find a common position because it is necessary for Europe," Merkel said at a news briefing, speaking alongside Macron after a summit that was dominated by Brexit.Merkel's overture to France will rankle her conservative CDU party, which toes a austerity-minded line on economic matters.Reform of the eurozone is often blocked in a political split, with rich countries -- such as Germany and the Netherlands -- reticent to adopt policies that share risks with their heavily-indebted eurozone partners, such as France, Spain, Italy or Greece.The Netherlands pushed its austerity-driven vision of the eurozone at the summit, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte demanding reforms by overspending governments. "I noticed that with a certain number of our colleagues that with the euro we always talk money... not how we can make our economies more competitive," Rutte said after the talks.The resistance has so far blocked Macron's idea of a eurozone budget and held up the creation of a Europe-wide deposit insurance scheme, the last remaining pillar of the banking union. "To us, it is more important to make some member states more resilient for the next financial crisis," an EU diplomat said.- 'Large consensus' -The loss of momentum was confirmed in proposals last week by the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, that put off more ambitious ideas, such as the creation of a European finance minister, until after European elections in 2019.The original plan was for leaders to discuss a range of topics on Friday, with a further summit in June to table concrete decisions.According to EU President Donald Tusk, who coordinates the summits, there exists a "large consensus" to create a European Monetary Fund that would function as a financial firewall to any new financial crisis and handle bailouts.There is also support to complete the banking union, albeit at a very gradual pace.

Source:Egypt Today

December 15, 2017 15:22 UTC

Expect heavy security this Christmas season

File - Security borders around a church in EgyptFile - Minister of Interior, Magdy Abdel GhaffarFile - Securiy forces infront of a churche in EgyptFile - Egyptian security forcesCAIRO – 15 December 2017: Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar prepares for Christmas with strong safety measures, especially at places of worship.The ministry is preparing security services to be uninterrupted and available for people in cases of emergency, according to a high profile source in the ministry under condition anonymity.All security service departments have made the necessary arrangements to make Christmas celebrations safe and joyous for all Egyptians, the source stated.The ministry confirmed the importance of intensifying the presence of security forces around public areas and places of worship to be able to deal immediately and decisively with any attempt to disturb the holiday celebrations of Egypt's citizens.According to the security plans, security forces will apply 800-meter “safe areas” around churches and provide explosive detection devices to counter any attempts to target places of worship, the source added.Security forces will implement security procedures for all 2,326 churches in Egypt, including all 1,326 Orthodox churches, 1,100 protestant churches and 200 catholic churches.Moreover, the ministry will provide a number of vehicles to be used by security patrols. The vehicles will include a detention room able to accommodate six suspects at a time.The vehicles are equipped with state of the art technology, communication equipment and connectivity, supported by CCTV, ANPR and SCOUT-APP camera systems, to monitor and document the security situation on roads and main axes and to identify license plate numbers.Police patrols will target rented flats around places of worship in different governorates, which terrorists sometimes use as headquarter for planning attacks and preparing explosives. Forces will also target extremists in remote areas, based on acquired intelligence information.The Abbasiya Patriarchate, where the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, headed by Pope Tawadros II, prepares for Christmas on January 6, 2018; coinciding with the finalization of restoration work for the Grand Church in the cathedral where Christmas Mass will be held on the holy night.

Source:Egypt Today

December 15, 2017 14:48 UTC

Pakistani top court rejects bid to bar opposition leader Imran Khan

Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party, gestures as he addresses members of the media, after Pakistan's Supreme Court dismissed a petition to disqualify him from parliament for not declaring assets, outside Jinnah InterISLAMABAD - 15 December 2017: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition to disqualify cricket hero and opposition leader Imran Khan from parliament for not declaring assets, months after former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was removed by the court on a similar charge.The ruling was hailed as a vindication by Khan’s opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party but drew questions from Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which had filed the case.The two parties will contest general elections in 2018, along with the Pakistan People’s Party and several smaller parties.“No dishonesty or omission can be attributed to (Khan). This petition has no merits and is hereby dismissed,” Chief Justice Saqib Nisar told the court.Khan had led the legal drive that led to Sharif being disqualified in July over unreported income and the opening of a criminal corruption case against the former prime minister.A lawmaker from Sharif’s ruling party filed a separate complaint late last year alleging Khan and PTI secretary general Jahangir Tareen owned offshore companies and had not disclosed their assets.While Khan was cleared on Friday, the Supreme Court disqualified Tareen.“The respondent is declared not to be an honest person. He ceased to be member of the parliament. The respondent is disqualified,” Nisar said of Tareen.PTI spokesman Naeem Ul Haq said the party was disappointed with the judgment on Tareen.A senior PML-N leader, Miftah Ismial, told Reuters the party accepted Friday’s Supreme Court decision as final.“However, not being a lawyer I don’t follow how Imran Khan was not considered an owner of the offshore company ... given that the flat owned by it was only used by Imran Khan and the sale proceeds from the flat also went to Imran Khan.”Sharif’s supporters have alleged that some elements of Pakistan’s military may have had a hand in the court’s disqualification of the former prime minister.

Source:Egypt Today

December 15, 2017 14:26 UTC