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Sunday, 13 December 2020

Around the world for 13 December 2020

The US Supreme Court has dismissed the latest challenge by supporters of Donald Trump hoping to undo Joe Biden’s presidential victory last month, throwing out a case brought by the state of Texas challenging the election results in four battleground states. The Supreme Court dismissed the case without a hearing Friday, saying Texas had no right to challenge election results in other states.

Morocco has become the latest MENA country to normalize relations with Israel in an agreement brokered by US president Donald Trump, according to a statement by the Moroccan Royal Office. Israel and Morocco will soon set up liaison offices and introduce direct flights between the two countries. Morocco is the fourth MENA country to kiss and make up with Israel, following the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan, while Saudi Arabia seems likely to follow suit. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi praised the agreement, writing on Twitter that it will bring peace and stability to the region.

As part of the agreement the White House announced that it recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara territory. Pro-independence fighters in Western Sahara have been battling the Moroccan government since 1975, but the two sides signed a peace treaty in 1991.

Also worth knowing this morning:

  • Israelis are being warned against traveling to the Gulf as heightened tensions with Iran could potentially see travelers targeted, writes The Wall Street Journal.
  • Algerian president Abdelmadjid Tebboune has been absent from the public sphere for more than six weeks since his evacuation to Germany for covid-19 treatment, missing the one year anniversary of his election, Bloomberg reports.

IN DIPLOMACY- Egyptian ministers and their Iraqi counterparts are moving forward with the “oil-for-reconstruction” agreement signed back in October and are holding meetings to outline the projects that will be part of the agreement. Egypt signed 15 MoUs that will see Egyptian companies work on development projects in Iraq in return for Iraqi oil. The ministers sat down on Thursday to discuss the specific projects covered in the agreements, which range from electricity, health, investment, infrastructure, mining, and road development, and will come up with a full list of projects soon. The potential areas of cooperation that were discussed included:

  • Electricity: Iraq wants Egyptian energy firms to supply equipment and work on rebuilding Iraq’s electricity grid, according to a cabinet statement.
  • Basic infrastructure development: Iraq is looking for Egyptian private sector involvement in social housing, construction of roads, agriculture, SME support, and infrastructure investment, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat said in a statement.
  • Pharma: Health Minister Hala Zayed met with her Iraqi counterpart Hassan Al-Tamimi to discuss cooperation in developing and manufacturing meds as well as providing training for medical teams, according to a ministry statement.
  • Mining: Egypt could begin training Iraqi employees in mining, geological surveying, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla said, according to a cabinet statement.
  • Unified ticketing for road transport: The transport ministers of Egypt, Iraq and Jordan discussed the possibility of creating a unified ticketing system for road transportation between the three countries, according to a Transport Ministry statement.

WHO ELSE WAS TALKING- President Abdel Fattah El Sisi also met with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister and Planning Minister Khaled Battal.

ON THE TRADE FRONT- Egyptian sheep and goat livestock can now be exported to the UAE after Emirati authorities gave their import formal approval.

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