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Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Around the world on 17 February 2021

The US State Department signed off on a potential USD 197 mn arms sale to Egypt, which includes 168 Rolling Airframe Missiles and “related equipment,” according to a statement from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency. “The proposed sale will support the Egyptian Navy’s Fast Missile Craft ships” and help the navy bolster its defense capabilities on Egypt’s coasts and in the Suez Canal, the statement says. The sale is contingent on Congress approval.

IN DIPLOMACY: Egypt’s plans to reopen its embassy in Tripoli after a six year closure mark a more conciliatory position to factions in Western Libya after years spent supporting East-Libya forces led by Khalifa Haftar, Reuters says. The potential reopening would follow consultations with an Egyptian delegation currently in Libya, and comes as a Libyan interim government is about to be formed.

The UN’s newly appointed Resident Coordinator in Egypt Elena Banova discussed cooperation on sustainable development goals and covid-19 measures in her first meeting with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry yesterday, according to a cabinet statement.

A handful of stories worth knowing this morning:

  • Qatar wants to mediate an Iran-US nuclear accord: Qatar’s foreign minister met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for talks in Tehran yesterday aimed at cooling tensions between Iran and the US, the foreign ministry said in a statement. Qatar would advocate for a return to the beleaguered 2015 Iran nuclear agreement which former US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned in 2018 in favor of harsh sanctions.
  • The IMF will resume a USD 6 bn loan program to Pakistan, raising expectations that Islamabad may soon tap global debt markets after the restoration of its fiscal safety net, the Financial Times reports. The agreement was delayed last October due to the government’s reluctance to adopt conditional austerity measures as Pakistan struggles with structural challenges and over USD 113 bn in foreign debt and liabilities.

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