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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

NGO law tops coverage of Egypt in int’l press

Topping headlines on Egypt in the foreign press this morning are pickups of wire coverageof the signing into law of the controversial NGO bill. The stories play up the criticism of the law by domestic NGOs and international rights groups, who uniformly say the law would effectively lead to the shutdown of many groups. Even non-political charities are fretting the requirement to get advance approval from the state before taking donations. Declan Walsh from the New York Times notes that the law comes in the run-up to next year’s presidential election and suggests that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has to a degree been emboldened by his friendship with US President Donald Trump.

The weekend’s terror attack continues to generate headlines. Comments from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s trip to Egypt were picked up by outlets including Sputnik. Lavrov expressed his condolences and insisted that joint efforts to combat terrorism are needed, saying “this evil should be fought jointly” in a meeting with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

Ahmed Aboulenein writes for Reuters that grief quickly turned to anger during funeral prayers at the Church of the Sacred Family in the village of Dayr Jarnous. Seven of the 29 Christians killed came from Dayr Jarnous. The attack itself raises many questions, Nazlet Hanna writes in La Croix: “Was it perpetrated by a dormant local cell that was reactivated? Or was it the work of a group that found support abroad?” There is no immediate response to these questions, she says, “especially since the perpetrators fled after the attack.”

The GCC press continued to express sympathy for Egypt war on terror. Egypt’s airstrikes in Libya were natural reactions to Friday’s terror attack, Meftah Chouaib writes for the UAE’s Al Khaleej. Palestinian journalist Mahmoud al-Rimawy wrote in the same publication that the systematic targeting of Christians is unprecedented, even when compared to the Lebanese Civil War. Egyptian writer Mohamed Noaman Galal took a veiled stab at Qatar in Bahrain’s Al Watan newspaper, saying that countries that fund terrorists and give them a voice through their media contradict their own national policies and claims of democracy.

Saudi’s Al Arabiya is noting a viral video on social from an Egyptian Daesh membercaptured in Libya. The man recounts his recruitment, which began in Tahrir and eventually saw him sent to Derna to be trained in Daesh camps there.

Egypt’s banks are increasingly looking east for growth, according to Frontera News’ series on Egypt and the One Belt, One Road initiative. Banking heads, including Banque Misr’s Vice Chairman Akef Al Maghraby, believe that Egypt’s USD 11 bn trade volume with China will only increase following the launch of the initiative and banks can be better poised by opening up there. The series looks at the extent to which Chinese banks have committed to Egypt, citing the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s USD 20 bn pledge for investments over the coming 10 years, and Banque Misr’s USD 500 mn loan from China Development Bank.

Elsewhere, Frontera is tipping American depositary receipts (ADRs) of CIB, GB Auto,Lecico, OCI NV and Remco Tourism Villages as ways to get exposure to Egypt without leaving the ‘safe haven’ that is the NYSE.

Other international news worth noting this morning in brief include:

  • President Trump gets a glowing review of his “boldness” in pushing for Aya Hijazi’s release by the New York Post.
  • House National Security Committee member Kamal Amer discusses the residency-for-deposits policy and its security ramifications with Al Monitor.
  • Austin, Texas is getting a new ‘city artist’ (the latest inclusive trend among municipal governments) and she’s Egyptian, according to Austin’s My Standard.

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