The government’s efforts to compensate victims of last Friday’s terror attack and the planned development of North Sinai’s Bir El Abd area continued to top talking heads’ agendas last night.
Acting Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly told Kol Youm’s Amr Adib that the government plans to break ground on short-term development projects in the Sinai Peninsula as a whole within days. The Housing Ministry and Tahya Misr Fund will cooperate to develop four new cities in North Sinai, including a new Bir El Abd city, Madbouly said. He added that the government is trying to work fast to implement the North Sinai development strategy President Abdel Fattah El Sisi called for after Friday’s attack (watch, runtime: 34:19).
Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry also talked to Adib about his interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, during which he discussed the details of the attack on El Rawda, Egypt’s security measures in Sinai, the war in Yemen, and criticisms by the ministry of the foreign press. Shoukry responded to disparaging reports on the efficacy of Egypt’s security forces in light of the attack, saying that they do their utmost to protect civilians, but that “no country can protect its citizens all the time,” as attacks in Europe and the US have demonstrated. He urged for greater cooperation with the international community to help close any gaps in intelligence.
Shoukry reassured Amanpour that Egypt is working towards a political solution to the conflict in Yemen and has urged regional countries to take into account humanitarian issues.
The interview also discussed ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zaid’s tweet calling CNN’s coverage of the events “deplorable”for focusing on reporters access to the Sinai and not the event. When pressed on granting journalists access to the embattled region, Shoukry responded that it had been necessary as Sinai was an active warzone and Daesh would focus on attacking foreigners.
You can catch the full interview with Amanpour here (watch, runtime: 9:10), or sit through the highlights Shoukry relayed to Adib here (watch, runtime: 4:38).
Over on Hona Al Asema, Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali told Lamees Al Hadidi that the government will disburse EGP 1,500 per month to each family of the attack’s victims. The compensation payments do not have an expiry date and may continue to be issued to later generations of these families. According to Wali, around one quarter of the 1,200 men in El Rawda village were killed in Friday’s attack (watch, runtime: 12:19).
Lamees also talked about the UK embassy’s StartEgypt initiative with Ambassador John Casson, International Finance Corporation country manager for Egypt, Libya and Yemen Walid Labadi, and Flat6Labs’ Chief Investment Officer, Dina El Shenoufy. Casson told Lamees that his embassy is providing EGP 50 mn for the initiative, and aims to attract north of EGP 100 mn in private sector investment. The IFC is working with the British embassy and Flat6 to choose startups that are a good match for the initiative, Labadi told Lamees. El Shenoufy also said that the program will not directly finance the projects, but will offer technical training and other business support services through a six-month incubation program. “This would include providing workshops and roadshows to help budding entrepreneurs” (watch, runtime: 27:19).
Over on Al Hayah Al Youm, House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Soliman Wahdan lambasted Israeli Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel for suggesting that Egypt create a settlement for Palestinians in Sinai. He described the proposal as a foreign plot, telling host Tamer Amin that all Arab countries must take a united stance against it.
Last week, Gamliel said that a Palestinian state could only be established in the Sinai Peninsula. Cairo was outraged by Gamliel’s surprising statement and demanded a clarification. Senior Israeli officials reassured Egypt that Gamliel’s statement does not reflect Israel’s position, Jerusalem Online reports.
Wahdan also told Amin that a Bedouin leader in Sinai claimed that the perpetrators of the El Rawda attack were neither Egyptian nor Arab (watch, runtime: 5:11).