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Former Egyptian PM blocked from leaving UAE

November 30, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Former Egyptian Premier Ahmed Shafiq said on Wednesday the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was preventing him from travelling to his country after he announced his plans to run in Egypt’s presidential elections next year. In an exclusive interview with Qatar-based Al Jazeera television, Shafiq — the last prime minister from Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak era — said he was satisfied with his residence in the UAE but complained that Emirati authorities were not allowing him to travel to Egypt. “I am surprised that the brother UAE authorities are blocking my journey to Egypt because of reasons I do not know and understand,” he said. Shafiq said he wanted to meet Egyptian workers in the UAE as part of his election campaign […]

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Hamas: Israeli ban on Swiss officials ‘inhuman’

November 30, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

The Palestinian group Hamas said Wednesday that Israel’s barring of Swiss officials from entering the blockaded Gaza Strip from Israeli territory is “inhuman”. Hamas explained in a written statement that the ban was also a “violation” which prevented the Palestinian people from communicating with the world. On Tuesday, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly banned the officials from entering the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli media. Read More: Hamas: PA call for its workers to return to their posts ‘violation’ of Cairo deal The ban was issued over recent meetings between Swiss officials and members of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, Israeli Channel Two reported. According to the channel, Swiss representatives recently held talks with Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh and […]

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Trump criticized in Britain and US for sharing anti-Muslim videos

November 29, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

President Donald Trump, who campaigned to bar Muslims he sees as a security threat, on Wednesday shared anti-Muslim videos posted on Twitter by a far-right British party leader, drawing condemnation from Britain, US Muslim groups and some members of Congress. The White House defended Trump’s retweets saying he was raising security issues. As president, Trump has issued executive orders banning entry to some citizens of several Muslim-majority countries, although courts have partially blocked the measures from taking effect. “Look, I’m not talking about the nature of the video,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters. “The threat is real and that’s what the president is talking about is the need for national security, the need for military spending, and those […]

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France’s Macron to give Saudi Arabia extremist list

November 29, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday he would draw up a list of extremist organisations to convey to Saudi Arabia after its crown prince pledged to cut their funding. Saudi Arabia finances groups overseen by the Mecca-based Muslim World League, which for decades was charged with spreading the strict Wahhabi school of Islam around the world. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seeking to modernise the kingdom and cleave to a more open and tolerant interpretation of Islam. “He never did it publicly, but when I went to Riyadh (this month), he made a commitment, such that we could give him a list and he would cut the financing,” Macron said during an interview with France 24 television. […]

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Turkish gold trader details money laundering scheme for Iran

November 29, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

A Turkish-Iranian gold trader described in a US court on Wednesday how he ran a sprawling international money laundering scheme aimed at helping Iran get around US sanctions and spend its oil and gas revenues abroad. Reza Zarrab, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with US prosecutors in the criminal trial of a Turkish bank executive, told jurors in federal court in Manhattan that he helped Iran use funds deposited in Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank to buy gold, which was smuggled to Dubai and sold for cash. The testimony, given through Turkish interpreters, came on the second day of the trial of Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who has pleaded not guilty. US prosecutors have charged nine people in the […]

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‘Positive’ signs in Lebanon so Hariri may withdraw resignation

November 29, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri said today that matters were “positive” and if that continued, he would withdraw his resignation next week, a statement from his press office said. Earlier, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that Hariri will “certainly” remain prime minister and Lebanon’s political crisis will be resolved in a few days, Italy’s La Stampa newspaper reported. “We have just finished talks with all the political forces, within and outside government. There is a broad agreement,” the daily quoted him as saying during a visit to Italy. Hariri resigned in a televised statement while he was in Saudi Arabia on 4 November, prompting a political crisis in Lebanon and thrusting it back into a regional tussle between Riyadh and […]

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Tunisia: Government ‘trying to control’ independent bodies

November 29, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Independent bodies which deal with the fight against corruption, journalists’ rights and human rights in Tunisia have today united to condemn the government’s attempts to “marginalise” them by “emptying them of their content and reviewing their regulatory laws in order to control them”. In a joint press conference, member of the Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication, Hisham Snoussi, said: “It has become clear to us that the executive authority decided to circumvent the Constitution and to empty the authorities of their content by introducing laws that contradict rights and freedoms. There is a real decline in the authorities’ role.” Speaking to the Anadolu Agency, Snoussi added: “All the authorities feel that the retreat implies the government’s power and contempt […]

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Mubarak: I refused to let go of any inch of Egypt

November 29, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak today denied a BBC report which claimed that he had agreed to resettle Palestinians in Egypt over three decades ago. Published on the Facebook page Ana Asef Ya Rayes (I am sorry Mr. President), Mubarak said: “In order to explain what has been circulated on media in recent days, based on British documents that were published on the meeting between me and the British Prime Minister in February 1983, I found it important to clarify the following historical facts to the Egyptian people.” “During the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, things were going to be worse in the Middle East. This was months after the completion of the Israeli withdrawal from Sinai in 1982. […]

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Saudi prince freed in $1 bln settlement agreement

November 29, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Senior Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to the throne, was freed after reaching an “acceptable settlement agreement” with authorities paying more than $1 billion, a Saudi official said on Wednesday. Miteb, who was head of the elite National Guard, was among dozens of royal family members, ministers and current and former senior officials who were rounded up in a graft inquiry at least partly aimed at strengthening the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The official, who is involved in the anti-corruption campaign, said Miteb was released on Tuesday after reaching “an acceptable settlement agreement”. “The amount of the settlement was not disclosed but it is believed to be more than one billion […]

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Yemen car bomb attack kills at least two people in Aden

November 29, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Assailants detonated a car bomb outside the Yemeni Finance Ministry offices in the southern city of Aden on Wednesday, killing at least two people, hospital officials and residents said. They said the force of the blast shook the Khor Maksar area of Aden, the temporary capital of the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and causing severe damage to the six-storey building. The force of the blast also shattered windows of adjacent houses, they said. Read More: UAE accused of using mercenaries in Yemen Ambulances were seen racing to the scene, as sounds of gunfire were heard in the area, they said. No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion. An official at the city’s main government-run Jumhouriya hospital […]

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