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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

What we’re tracking on 25 July 2017

We’re meeting our largest trade and investment partner today: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrived in Brussels yesterday for EU-Egypt Association Council meetings, where talks with the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini will focus on the full basket of bilateral issues. (You can view the full agenda here). Mogherini, who was recently in Kuwait for talks, will also bring up the ongoing boycott of Qatar, AMAY suggests, citing Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zaid. Shoukry will head to Paris today for meetings with senior government officials. In connection with the visit, Amnesty International said the EU needs to take into consideration Egypt’s human rights record as it looks at the state of relations between the two sides.

We’re still chasing Russian tourists: Russian air security officials are due in Cairo today to examine security measures undertaken in Cairo Airport’s terminal 2, Sputnik says. The inspection is set to go on for several days. Government sources tell Al Masry Al Youm this is a positive development as it follows a three-month freeze in negotiations with the Russian side on resuming flights to Egypt. The inspections will also include the Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada airports.

We’re not backing down on the Qatar blockade, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said at the latest of his youth conferences. "Egypt will stand by its decision and will not backtrack on this matter. Our persistence on its own, our stance, and this block, is pressure in itself,” Reuters quotes the president as having said. See today’s Speed Round for more on policy statements coming out of the conference.

Someone out there thinks US markets are looking at a very volatile fall — and has put their money where their mouth is in a big way, taking a position that could pay out USD 265 mn if the VIX rises to 25 by October. That would effectively mean the so-called “investor fear index” doubling between now and then, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The clash between traditional internationalists and the “America First” camp in the Trump administration is wearing down diplomats and spooks, Reuters reports in a piece worth reading for foreign policy geeks this morning.

We’re going to roast: Start packing your bags for Sahel because Cairo is facing a heat wave, the official mercury gauge rising above 40°C by Thursday.

Start planning your Eid Al Adha vacation. It’s official: The waqfat Arafat will be on Thursday, 31 August, and the first day of Eid will be on Friday, 1 September, the Astronomical and Geophysics Institute announced, Ahram Online reports. We’re imagining first day back to work after the break will be Tuesday, 5 September.

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