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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

What we’re tracking on 28 February 2017: Shoukry-Tillerson meet; Sadat is booted from the House

Sameh Shoukry in DC: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington, DC, on Monday. The two talked about a re-set of US-Egyptian relations, with Tillerson reportedly saying the US will increase aid to Egypt to support its ongoing war against terror, Youm7 reports. The two also discussed Egypt’s economic reform program, in addition to regional security issues including Syria and Libya. So far as we can tell, neither the State Department nor the US embassy in Cairo have released readouts of the meeting, and State did not hold a press briefing yesterday.

MPs (minus one) are also having a hectic week with the State Contractors Act due for a vote before the House (the construction business is reportedly impatient), and the Industry Committee set to resume discussions of a law that would offer tax incentives to domestic automobile manufacturers.

Why minus one MP? The House has stripped Rep. Anwar Sadat of his membership. The nephew of President Anwar Sadat, he was accused of leaking a draft of the controversial NGO law to foreign embassies and of faking signatures on a private member’s bill. Sadat was booted from the House by a vote of 468-8; four MPs abstained from the vote, implying 116 others were absent when the vote was held. The House Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee had voted on Sunday to boot expel Sadat based on the recommendation of the Ethics Committee. The story isn’t yet big news in the international press, but is rather likely to get the attention of foreign editors unless Donald Trump commits a significant outrage today. The Associated Press has the story and Declan Walsh has already filed for the New York Times, writing that the expulsion of one of Egypt’s “few dissenting lawmakers, the scion of a storied political family … had the practical effect of further enfeebling the opposition to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Parliament.”

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