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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Talking heads remain largely preoccupied with regional politics

Regional politics continued to lead the debate on the airwaves last night, with the Arab world holding its collective breath as it waits for President Donald Trump to make up his mind on the relocation of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

One of the few deviations from the theme came as Yahduth fi Masr’s Sherif Amer chatted with Finance Minister Amr El Garhy on the USD 3-4 bn eurobond sale. The upcoming sale is part of the state’s strategy to tap alternative sources of funding to repay debt, El Garhy told the host, explaining that the Finance Ministry is keen on ensuring that Egypt’s external debt levels remain within what the IMF and int’l rating agencies deem safe. El Garhy also noted that interest rates on USD-denominated bonds have declined between 1.2-1.6% for different tenors.

Separately, the minister said that he’s not guiding on a specific exchange rate, reminding Amer that the EGP will strengthen in tandem with the economy as exports, FDI, remittances, and Suez Canal revenues rise.

Never the one to ignore a media circus, Kol Youm’s Amr Adib spoke to Habib El Adly’s lawyer and wife about the former interior minister’s mysterious emergence from months of hiding. Lawyer Mohamed El Gendy stressed that El Adly had turned himself in and had not been arrested, explaining that his client had been receiving medical treatment for the past 230 days (watch, runtime: 6:42).

The plot thickens: El Adly’s wife, Elham Sharshar, denied El Gendy’s claim that her husband was hospitalized, although he suffers from heart problems. She refused, however, to tell Adib where her husband had been these past few months (watch, runtime: 4:09).

Adib also fixated heavily on the potential relocation of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which he said would effectively bring all peace negotiations in Palestine to grinding halt (watch, runtime: 3:08). Likening the current situation to the 1967 Six-Day War, he called on the Egyptian administration to hold an emergency Arab summit to collectively denounce Trump’s anticipated decision (watch, runtime: 6:38).

Trump explained to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he is under pressure from Congress to move the embassy, Palestinian Authority spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh told Adib. Abbas has already held talks with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, France, and Turkey to hold an emergency Arab-Islamic summit on the issue (watch, runtime: 5:45).

Over on Hona Al Asema, UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salamé told host Lamees Al Hadidi that, as a member of the UN Security Council, Egypt is working with the organization to unite the Libyan army and disarm the various groups in the country. According to Salamé, there are some 23 mn pieces of arms in Libya (watch, runtime: 19:31).

Back on the homefront, a Health Ministry official claimed on Al Ashera Masa’an that thepenicillin shortage citizens have recently been complaining about will effectively end today (watch, runtime: 3:53).

Over on Al Hayah Al Youm, Cairo Metro Company spokesperson Ahmed Abdel Hady told host Tamer Amin the breakdown of a Metro Line 2 train yesterday was a result of malfunctioning brakes (watch, runtime: 5:13). Comforting.

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