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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Elections will be “farcical,” rights groups say

The arrest of former corruption watchdog Hisham Genena and his referral to the military prosecution tops coverage of Egypt in the foreign press this morning, with stories from the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, the Times of Israel, and Aljazeera.

That comes as 14 international and regional rights groups, including Human Rights Watch said the scheduled “farcical” presidential elections do not meet the “minimum requirements” for a fair and free vote, according to a joint statement.

Meanwhile, Michele Dunne writes for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi “has been unable to deliver the prosperity and security he promised, and neither seems to be on the horizon.”

Sudan should learn from Egypt’s missteps in the management of its exchange rate if it plans to overcome its current economic difficulties, Brendan Meighan writes for the Carnegie Endowment. “Sudan’s refusal to liberalize the SDG’s exchange rate and ongoing battle with the black market have ignored the lessons from Egypt’s own mistakes in managing its currency,” he says, explaining that attempts to stabilize the exchange rate have been both feeble and short-sighted. Instead, Sudanese authorities should take more serious action and work at improving relations with both the US and its North African neighbors to enable itself “to work with regional and global multilateral organizations to come up with an economic reform plan.”

Concerns over Palestinian reconciliation efforts following Fawzy’s removal: The removal of former General Intelligence Director Khaled Fawzy has some Palestinians worried an already stagnant national reconciliation process could face further delays, Adnan Abu Amer writes for Al-Monitor. Fawzy had been key to reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas, which have been at a stalemate since the two sides disagreed over Hamas’ disarmament back in November.

On a related note, Fatah Central Committee member Azzam al-Ahmed said he briefed acting intelligence chief Abbas Kamel “on the latest political developments related to the Palestinian cause,” WAFA reports. Kamel noted that Egypt was committed to aiding the reconciliation efforts, as well as the peace process with Israel.

Other stories worth noting in brief:

  • Egyptian media is the problem on GERD, says Ethiopian media: The Egyptian media has been the primary force behind tensions over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to The Ethiopian Herald.
  • The National Press Authority is making it mandatory for journalists to apply for permits before traveling to seven countries in the region going through political turmoil, including Lebanon, Sudan, and Libya according to Al Monitor.
  • Al Monitor shines the spotlight on Egyptian NGOs banding together to end FGM.

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