WAJIR, Kenya, (Xinhua) --
At least two people were killed and some others injured by
suspected Al-Shabaab militants who vandalized a communication
mast in the northeastern Kenyan county of Wajir.
Regional Coordinator Mohamed Saleh confirmed on Saturday night
that militants on Friday night destroyed a mast run by mobile
operator Safaricom and set a car on fire in the Tarbaj area near
the border with Somalia.
The attackers used
improvised explosives in the attack, Saleh said, adding that
reinforcement had been deployed to the area to pursue the
This is the third
mast to be destroyed by militants in the Kenyan border region in
less than a month. Two other masts were destroyed in Mandera
county in similar attacks.
Saleh said the
authorities had mapped all masts in the border region with an
aim of deploying officers to protect them.
No group has claimed
responsibility for the Friday attack but suspicion has fallen on
Somalia-based Islamist group Al-Shabaab, which has staged a
series of attacks in Kenya in recent years.
carried out several deadly attacks in the Kenyan border region
this year, mainly targeting non-Muslims and police officers.
UN envoy warns against renewed
violence in central Somalia
MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) --
The UN envoy for Somalia has expressed concern
over renewed violence between rival states in the central Somali
town of Galkayo, which killed at least three people and injured
several others on Friday.
In a statement
issued on Sunday, Michael Keating, Special Representative of the
UN Secretary-General for Somalia, called on the warring states
of Puntland and Galmudug to honor a ceasefire agreement reached
Galmudug must resolve their differences in a non-violent manner
and immediately agree on steps to dismantle the roadblocks,
reopen the roads, and pull back the forces without further
delay. Any spoiler against peace and stability should be
scrutinized,” Keating said.
Galkayo is currently
divided into two parts, governed by Galmudug and Puntland
respectively. The town has been plagued by recurrent clashes
between the neighboring states over its control.
Recent fighting in
Galkayo that first broke out on Oct. 7 has killed more than 45
people and displaced tens of thousands.
Keating said the
situation in Galkayo has raised serious humanitarian concerns.
He said trucks
carrying humanitarian food supplies for people affected by
drought had been blocked on the northern side of Galkayo over
the past three weeks due to road blockades.
Since the initial
withdrawal of forces on Nov. 18, the joint committee of local
authorities and elders from the two states has made efforts to
sustain the ceasefire through dialogue.
However, a stalemate
in the negotiations over removing roadblocks installed by both
states and opening the roads is putting the ceasefire in serious
The tension came
amid food insecurity in areas that are usually reached by
humanitarian groups through Galkayo.
“It is unprecedented
for humanitarian supplies to be denied access by either side,”
He called on the
authorities of Galmudug and Puntland to immediately find a
solution to the blockades to guarantee the safety and free
movement of relief workers and supplies.
Keating said the
continued tension could prompt another mass displacement in
Galkayo, where fighting had displaced an estimated 90,000 people
since October—about 30,000 displaced people have not returned
home due to fear of renewed fighting.
Al-Shabaab militants kill
soldier, civilian in Somali capital
MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) --
Somali security forces are pursuing Al-Shabaab
militants who killed a soldier and a civilian in the capital
Mogadishu, a local official said Sunday.
government spokesman Abdifatah Omar Halane told reporters that
the militants killed the two on Saturday night in the Wadajir
Islamist group has claimed responsibility for the attack,
claiming its fighters killed two soldiers and recovered two AK47
carried out frequent attacks in Somalia in its decade-long fight
against the Somali government.
The latest attack
came as security has been tightened in Mogadishu for
presidential election slated for the end of the year.
Two killed in suicide bomb
attacks in Cameroon
YAOUNDE, (Xinhua) --
Two suspected suicide bombers were killed after
attempting to launch attacks on Sunday morning in Cameroon, one
security source told Xinhua.
Two young men
suspected to be members of Nigerian Islamic sect Boko Haram
killed themselves after detonating bombs attached to them at the
entrance of one market in Mora, a small town in Far North
Region near the border with Nigeria.
The source said the
attacks took place at around 8 a.m. and no other victim is
reported at the moment.
The Lake Chad Basin
Commission has formed a multinational forces, which stations in
Mora with the particular objective of eradicating terrorist
threat in the region.
Ethiopia vows not to harm
rights of Nile Basin countries
KHARTOUM, (Xinhua) --
Ethiopia on Sunday reiterated its commitment not
to harm the rights of any Nile Basin countries, calling for
optimal use of the Nile water.
of foreign affairs, Workneh Gebeyehu, also underscored at a
press conference his country’s keenness to establish integrative
relations with the Nile Basin countries to achieve joint
Sudan, Egypt and
Ethiopia signed Declaration of Principles in March 2015 in
Khartoum regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD),
articulating the continuation of talks on political and
technical issues, as well as conducting technical studies to
protect the three countries’ shares in the Nile.
The GERD project
unsettled Egypt as it fears the dam could impact its share in
the Nile River waters, which amounts to 55.5 billion cubic
that the dam would constitute a benefit in field of electricity
generating without posing any harm on either Sudan or Egypt.
Projected to be the
largest hydro-electric project in Africa, the GERD extends over
an area of 1,800 square kilometers, and is expected to be
completed in three years at a cost of 4.7 billion U.S. dollars.
Libyan plane hijackers charged
with terrorism at Malta court
VALLETTA, (Xinhua) --
The two Libyan plane hijackers appeared at a
Maltese court on Sunday, charged with a string of offences
The two Libyan men,
28-year-old Ali Saleh and 27-year-old Moussa Soko, arrived at
Malta Law Courts on Sunday noon, escorted by armed guards.
They were charged
with hijacking the plane and holding the 109 passengers and 6
crew members against their will.
Both the hijackers
calmly denied the charges in court. They did not file a request
On Friday, they
hijacked the Libyan flight operated by Afriqiyah Airways, and
diverted it to Malta International Airport.
The plane was flying
a domestic route in Libya in the day, from the southern city of
Sebha to its original destination of the Libyan capital Tripoli.
After a four-hour
standoff at the Maltese airport, all passengers and crew were
The two hijackers
surrendered peacefully. They were later found to have used
replica weapons for the hijacking.
VALLETTA, (Xinhua) --
A hijacker ©, who hijacked and diverted an internal
Libyan flight to a Maltese airport, arrives at the Maltese
court escorted by heavy armed guards in Valletta, Malta,
Dec. 25, 2016. The two Libyan plane hijackers appeared at
a Maltese court on Sunday, charged with a string of
offences including terrorism.
XINHUA PHOTO: MARK ZAMMIT
Christmas fire guts part of
KIGALI, (Xinhua) --
A fire razed one room at Rwanda’s Nyarugenge
Prison in Kigali on Sunday, causing minor injuries, authorities
Senior Inspector of Prisons (SIP) at Rwanda Correctional
Services said the burnt room accommodated 68 inmates.
He said rescue
efforts by army and police were there in time to put out the
fire before it spread.
Rwanda’s Minister of
justice, Johnston Busingye who oversees prisons said the
affected area was estimated at 2o square meters occupied by
about 15 inmates.
He added that their
mattresses and other personal effects were destroyed in the
There is no report
of loss of life as inmates were alerted by gun shots in the air,
Minister Busingye said.
The cause of the
fire was not readily established.
some three inmates were injured and were receiving treatment.
This is the second
fire incident in Rwanda’s prison in recent times, the earlier
one having taken place at Muhanga prison in 2014.
has 3,127 inmates, according to authorities.
Sudan reduces restrictions on
KHARTOUM, (Xinhua) --
The Sudanese government on Sunday reduced
restrictions on humanitarian organizations operating in the
country as it approved new amendments on guidelines of the
humanitarian work, Sudan Tribune reported.
The new guidelines
come “under the noticeable security improvement at all Sudan
states,” said Ahmed Mohamed Adam, Sudan’s humanitarian aid
involve reducing the restrictions on movement of organization
personnel, which lower requirements of “permission” to
“notification” in “safe areas,” while keep requirements of
“permission” in hazardous areas.
He expressed hope
that the new amendments would be a motive for achieving a joint
humanitarian response to reach the aspired goals.
humanitarian organizations usually complain about government
restrictions on movement of their personnel at conflict areas.
justified restriction on the organizations and UN agencies at
hotspot areas to security reasons.
Libyan prime minister visits
Algeria to boost peace process in Libya
ALGIERS, (Xinhua) --
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Saraj on Sunday
arrived in Algiers as part of a working visit to discuss with
Algerian top officials the developments in Libya and ways to
boost peace talks aimed at restoring peace and security to this
eastern neighboring troubled nation.
Upon his arrival in
Houari Boumedien International Airport of Algiers, al-Seraj told
reporters that his visit is part of continuing consultations
between the two neighboring nations to reach positive settlement
to the crisis hitting Libya for more than five years.
The Libyan PM hailed
“Algeria’s key role and constant support to the national unity
government, saying he is due to discuss several issues with the
Algerian officials, including recent developments taking place
in Libya in addition to the efforts that are underway to settle
Upon his arrival,
al-Seraj was welcomed by his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmalek
Sellal, and Minister of Maghreb, African Union and Arab League,
The visit of al-Sarraj
is “an opportunity to reaffirm Algeria’s consistent support to
the peace process on the basis of a political solution,
inclusive dialogue and national reconciliation, while respecting
Libya’s national sovereignty,” said a statement of the Algerian
follows that of Libyan Major General, Khalifa Haftar, who paid a
quick working visit to Algiers on Dec. 18.
Fayez al-Seraj last
week announced that Haftar’s forces managed to control the key
city of Sirte after chasing away Islamic State militants.
Libya has been hit
by a civil war after the toppling of late leader, Muammar
Gaddafi, in 2011. The collapse of the regime there transformed
the country into a battlefield of different armed groups,
Libya now has two
rival parliaments, namely the internationally recognized one,
based in the eastern port city of Tobruk, and the General
National Congress (GNC) based in capital city Tripoli supported
by General Haftar.
Tunisia arrests three linked to
Berlin market attacker
TUNIS, (Xinhua) --
Tunisian security forces have arrested the nephew
of Berlin Christmas market attacker Anis Amri and two other
jihadist suspects, the interior ministry said on Saturday in a
Amri convinced his
nephew to swear allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist
organization, the statement said.
Amri’s nephew said
he had been in contact with his uncle through telegram, it said.
The Tunisian public
prosecutor has ordered the three to be taken into custody over
suspicion of being involved in terrorist crimes.
attack in Berlin left 12 dead and 48 others injured.
government said earlier on Friday that Amri was shot and killed
by police during a routine patrol in Milan.
Roundup: Nigerian troops
capture Boko Haram’s enclave in Sambisa forest
LAGOS, (Xinhua) --
Nigerian troops combating Boko Haram terrorists
in restive northeast region have crushed Boko Haram terrorists
in their last enclave in Sambisa forest, President Muhammadu
Buhari said Saturday.
In a statement made
available to Xinhua, the Nigerian leader lauded the troops on
the successful capture of the Boko Haram enclave in Sambisa
Buhari who expressed
delight, said he was proud of the troops.
“I am delighted at,
and most proud of the gallant troops of the Nigerian Army, on
receipt of the long-awaited and most gratifying news of the
final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in
Sambisa forest,” he added.
“I want to use this
opportunity to commend the determination, courage and resilience
of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole at finally entering and
crushing the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents at Camp Zero,
which is located deep within the heart of Sambisa forest,” he
“I was told by the
Chief of Army Staff that the Camp fell at about 1:35 p.m, local
time on Thursday, Dec. 22, and that the terrorists are on the
run, and no longer have a place to hide,” the Nigerian leader
He urged the troops
to maintain the tempo by pursuing the terrorists and bringing
them to justice.
The president called
on all Nigerians to cooperate and support the Nigerian Armed
Forces and other security agencies by providing useful
information that would expose all the terrorists hiding among
He urged the troops
to further intensify their efforts toward liberating the
remaining Chibok girls still in captivity.
Chief of Army staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai also commended the
efforts and sacrifices of gallant officers and men of the
Nigerian Army currently engaged in the counter insurgency
operations in the North East and other operations across the
country and abroad.
“I congratulate you
for your bravery, doggedness and loyalty in these endeavours. I
want to urge you all to maintain the momentum and remain
steadfast as we continue to professionally and responsively
carry out our constitutional roles,” Buratai said in a Christmas
and New Year message to the troops.
“On my part, I will
continue to ensure that troops’ welfare and that of their
families, remains my utmost priority,” he said.
government said in December 2015 that Boko Haram had been
“technically” defeated and was no longer capable of conventional
warfare, instead resorting to guerrilla attacks on soft targets.
The Sambisa forest,
especially the mountainous region of Gwoza near the Cameroon
border, was used as a shelter of the jihadist Boko Haram group.
The Boko Haram seeks
to enshrine the Islamic Sharia law in the Constitution of
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and biggest oil producer
in the continent.
approximately 180 million population, shares land borders with
Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east and Niger in
The northern part of
the country is plagued by violence, including attacks by the
Boko Haram sect.
Nigeria committed to completing
Lagos-Calabar rail project on time: minister
LAGOS, (Xinhua) --
The rehabilitation of old railway lines and
completion of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Rail line are a focus of
the federal government, Minister of Transportation said on
In a statement made
available to Xinhua, minister Rotimi Amaechi said the
rehabilitation of the old railway lines of Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri
and ensuring that the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal
Rail line is completed within the specified time remain its
According to him,
the government is determined to ensure that works on Lagos-Kano
Rail line commence in earnest to facilitate the movement of
goods and passengers unhindered.
work on the Lagos-Ibadan segment of the Coastal Rail line will
commence in January 2017,” he added.
minister said President Muhammadu Buhari is eager to reflate the
economy and deliver to the people the gains of his
Amaechi said one of
the core mandates of the present administration is to fulfill
the needs and aspirations of Nigerians, adding that government
would ensure it achieve its promises.
On the issue of the
National Fleet for the maritime sector, the minister said
government had gone far in attracting interested investors.
He said the
government is mindful of the provision of the law which
stipulates 60 percent for local investors and 40 percent for
Cholera sparks fear in central
Tanzania during festive season
ARUSHA, Tanzania, (Xinhua) --
At least seven people have died of cholera in
central Tanzania’s region of Dodoma due to a cholera outbreak,
authorities said Sunday.
Authorities in the
region have, therefore, on Sunday banned selling of food stuff
by the roadsides and other open places during the festive
season, citing a possible escalation of the epidemic.
Dodoma Regional chief physician warned residents, saying that at
least 329 people contracted the disease in the latest outbreak.
He warned that if no strict measures were taken the entire
region would be affected.
“I urge the public
to be more careful during the festive season, avoid eating
carelessly on the streets and maintain hygiene since the disease
is likely to spread further if we don’t comply with health
standards,” the official said.
He cited Mpwapwa as
leading other districts in the Dodoma Region with 208 cholera
cases, followed by Kongwa (95), Chamwino (18) and Dodoma (8).
The district also led in deaths with three cases as both Kongwa
and Dodoma districts witnessed two deaths each.
Following the new
outbreak of the disease, Christine Mndeme, Dodoma District
Commissioner said she had initiated a campaign against the
disease aimed at eradicating it in the district.
She called on ward
and village health officers to spread awareness and education on
the disease, urging them to quickly report any cases realized
within their areas of jurisdiction.
In October last
year, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare notified the
World Health Organization of new cholera outbreaks in 13 regions
in the country, during which 68 people died.
Tanzania considers releasing
rescued oldest black rhino into wild
DAR ES SALAAM, (Xinhua) --
Tanzanian conservationists and wildlife experts
in the Ngorongoro crater said on Saturday they are thinking of
releasing into the wild, Fausta, a 63-year-old female black
rhino, believed to be the oldest in the world.
Chief Conservator for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority
(NCAA), said the aged female rhino was sent into a cage after
being wounded by hyenas and eventually being perched by
“The rhino has
stayed inside the cage for a month now,” said Manongi, adding
that the rhino which has never given birth to any calves in its
entire life is among more than 50 rhinos found inside the
He said they are now
thinking over releasing the rhino into the wild after its gaping
wounds caused by the hyenas had started healing.
“Those hyenas must
have taken advantage of her frailty which is why they attacked
it, but we are determined to let it live for many more years,”
“This forced us to
put it in a cage to protect it from further attacks as it was on
record for being the oldest black rhino in the world,” he said.
The rhino’s thrust
into the limelight comes three weeks after wildlife enthusiasts
in Kenya mourned the death of Solio, the country’s oldest rhino
which died at the age of 42 years, surpassing the average wild
black rhino lifespan of 30-35 years.
Early this week,
Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa formed an investigative
team to probe the mysterious disappearance of a male black rhino
called John after it was moved from the Ngorongoro crater to the
Sasakawa Black Rhino Sanctuary in the Grumeti-Serengeti game
reserve where it reportedly died.
Rhinos are among the
most poached animals in East Africa with their population
dwindling, forcing authorities to keep them in protected areas.
The Tanzanian rhino
management plan developed in 1998 set a goal of increasing the
current population of black rhinos of 60 individuals to 100
individuals by 2018 through active metapopulation management.
Save the Rhino, a
UK-based conservation charity, estimates that there were 500,000
rhinos across Africa and Asia at the beginning of the 20th
century. Today, the charity says there are 29,000 rhinos in the
Kenyan economy grows by 5.7
percent in 3rd quarter
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s economy is estimated to expand by 5.7
percent in the third quarter of 2016 compared to 6 percent in
the same quarter of 2015, the national statistics agency said on
Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Director General Zachary Mwangi said
generally, the economic growth was well spread although most of
the sectors of the economy recorded slower growths compared to
The growth of the
agriculture, forestry and fishing sector is estimated to have
slowed to 3.9 percent in the third quarter compared to 5.5
percent during the same quarter in 2015, Mwangi said in a
“Growth in the
sector was dampened by poor performance in the production of tea
and coffee that declined by 0.3 and 4.0 percent,” Mwangi said.
The slowed growth in
agricultural sector was also aggravated by slowed external
demand as reflected by a 36.7-percent decline in the volume of
fruit exports, he added.
He said that the
activities of the manufacturing and the construction industries
also recorded notable slowdown in growths.
hospitality, transport, storage, wholesale and retail trade,
information and communication, health and public administration
all registered improved growths during the third quarter.
KNBS also reported
that Kenya’s current account deficit narrowed by 10.4 percent
from 1.1 billion U.S. dollars in the third quarter of 2015 to
986 million dollars in the third quarter of 2016.
Yearender: Egypt to receive new
remaining economic, security challenges
By Mahmoud Fouly CAIRO, (Xinhua) --
As the countdown is ticking for receiving the new
year 2017, Egypt bids farewell to 2016 with remaining economic
and security challenges in addition to ups and downs in its
foreign relations, particularly with its leading oil-rich Gulf
ally Saudi Arabia.
While Egypt is
adopting tough measures to implement a three-year economic
reform program, assisted by a 12-billion-dollar loan from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), the country is struggling to
combat a terrorist wave that has recently hit a Coptic church in
Cairo and killed so far 28 of its worshippers.
Egypt has been
suffering economic recession due to political turmoil over the
past six years that witnessed the ouster of two heads of state:
the 2011 uprising that ousted long-time president Hosni Mubarak
and the 2013 military-backed uprising that toppled former
Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and blacklisted his Muslim
Brotherhood group as a terrorist organization.
As a result, Egypt’s
foreign currency reserves at the central bank declined from 36
billion U.S. dollars in early 2011 to 23 billion as of December
2016 after it was 19 billion in October 2016. In addition,
tourism that brought the country 13 billion dollars in 2010 less
than halved in 2016. Foreign investments sharply declined as
Dollar shortage in
the financial market negatively affected a lot of import-based
businesses, which led Egypt in early November to devaluate its
local currency, a move encouraged by the IMF that delivered
later in November 2.75 billion dollars to Egypt as the first
batch of the 12-billion-dollar loan.
The one dollar that
used to be officially exchanged for 8.8 pounds approached 20
pounds in banks now, which led to price hikes in commodities,
besides fuel and energy subsidy cuts and austerity as part of
the economic reform plan.
currency crisis in Egypt will remain as long as demand for
dollar is larger than offer in the market, and instability of
the local currency is worse than its floatation,” Ahmed al-Sayed
al-Naggar, economist and chief of state-run Al-Ahram foundation
and newspaper, said in a recent article.
that Egypt needs to move its economy from interest-based to
export-based. It needs to not rely only on the revenues of
tourism and the Suez Canal as main sources of foreign currency
but to focus on industrialization and exportation although they
have a long way to go.
annual exports amount to about 25 billion dollars while its
imports are about 77 billion, so the country needs six times
increase of exports to create an actual balance of trade, for
about 75 percent of the components of future exports will mostly
To achieve economic
progress, the Egyptian government is currently working hard on a
number of mega national projects, including the establishment of
a new administrative capital city, the development of the Suez
Canal region, the construction of power plants and several
military removal in July 2013 and the later crackdown on his
supporters that left about 1,000 of them killed and thousands
arrested, anti-government terrorist attacks killed hundreds of
police and military men, hitting the country’s tourism and
conditions further deteriorated after a Russian plane crash in
Sinai that killed over 200 Russians in October 2015 and a tragic
fall of an EgyptAir flight in May 2016 that killed all 66 people
on board including 15 French.
militant group loyal to the regional Islamic State (IS)
terrorist group claimed responsibility for most of the terror
attacks in Egypt, including the Russian plane crash, while the
December 11 church blast was claimed by the main IS group
The attacks mostly
target military and police personnel in checkpoints or on duty,
as in the recent bomb attack that killed six policemen in Giza
province near the capital Cairo.
Carried out by a
suicide bomber at Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church adjacent to
Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, the church bombing marks a
qualitative change of terrorist tactics from targeting security
personnel to a civilian minority, taking Egypt’s anti-terror war
to another level.
To limit terrorism,
the Egyptian leadership detained most Brotherhood leaders and
loyalists who did not flee the country, considering them the
source of terror that has been hitting Egypt since Morsi’s
In October, Egypt’s
highest court, the Court of Cassation, rejected Morsi’s appeal
and confirmed his 20-year prison sentence over inciting clashes
between his supporters and opponents outside the presidential
palace in late 2012 that left 10 people dead.
Later on, and one
day before the church bombing, the same court confirmed the
death sentence of Islamist extremist Adel Habbara over a 2013
anti-military attack that killed at least 25 soldiers in restive
North Sinai province. His execution was carried out later on
While Egypt is going
through an anti-terrorism war declared by President Abdel-Fattah
al-Sisi after he as then-military chief removed Morsi, sporadic
terrorist attacks are growing worldwide including the recent
cold-blooded assassination of Russian ambassador in Ankara,
Turkey, and the simultaneous deadly truck attack on a Christmas
market in Berlin, Germany, that killed 12 people.
During 2016, Egypt’s
economic and cultural ties with China grew even stronger as the
year was referred to as the Egyptian-Chinese Cultural Year. The
two countries already have “comprehensive strategic partnership”
and they continue investment and economic cooperation as
instructed by their two leaders. Their annual trade volume
increased from 6.8 billion dollars in 2011 to 12.9 billion in
In early December,
the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and the People’s Bank of China (PBC)
signed a deal that is worth 18 billion yuan (about 2.6 billion
dollars) to bolster Egyptian economic growth amid dollar hike.
Despite the Russian
terrorist plane crash in Egypt’s Sinai, strategic relations
between Moscow and Cairo have not been affected. Egypt hosted in
October its first joint paratroopers’ military exercise with
Russia dubbed “Friendship Protectors 2016.” Russia also plans to
build Egypt’s first nuclear plant as per an agreement signed in
relations with Arab fellow Qatar and regional power Turkey
remained tense in 2016 due to the two countries’ host of fleeing
Brotherhood loyalists as well as their support of Morsi and
criticism of Sisi.
As for Iran, Cairo
refrains from normalizing ties with Tehran that have been
severed since 1979 despite recent warm statements of Iranian
officials. Still, they both share support for the Syrian regime
against armed rebels they refer to as terrorists.
position on Syria and support for President Bashar al-Assad
angered its strong oil-rich Gulf ally Saudi Arabia, which led
Gulf states excluding Qatar to support Sisi with billions of
dollars and tons of oil supplies since Morsi’s removal.
Cairo’s vote in October for two rival Syria-related United
Nations Security Council (UNSC) draft resolutions including one
proposed by Russia, whose troops are currently assisting Assad’s
army in Syria. A sign of tension later appeared when a Saudi
national oil company suspended its fuel shipments to Egypt.
U.S.-sponsored peace treaty since 1979, ties between Egypt and
Israel, the U.S. number one ally in the Middle East, are seen at
best under Sisi, with the two states coordinating security
measures at the border lines of the restive northern part of
Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
On Friday, the UNSC
massively endorsed a resolution demanding immediate and complete
halt of Israeli settlement activities on occupied Palestinian
initially proposed the draft resolution, attempted to delay the
whole vote, which was seen as response to a bid from the U.S.
President-elect Donald Trump, yet the Egyptian foreign ministry
later explained that the requested delay was only meant to make
sure veto right will not be exercised against the resolution.
As for relations
with the United States, the mutual praise between President Sisi
and Trump indicates closer ties between Cairo and Washington
when the American business tycoon takes over the White House in