FILE – In this July 13, 2012 photo, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi holds a news conference with Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, at the Presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt. On Monday, June 17, 2019, Egypt’s state TV said that the country’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi has collapsed during a court session and died. AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File
Mohammed Morsi, ousted president of Egypt dies||REUTERS
It said Morsi had fainted after a court session and died afterwards.Egyptian Islamist president Mohamed Morsi died after he fainted in court following a hearing; reports.
Mohamed Morsi pictured while on trial in 2016. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty
Morsi, a top figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, was toppled by the military in 2013 after mass protests against this rule. He had been serving a seven-year sentence for falsifying his candidacy application for the 2012 presidential race.
Morsi was the first democratically elected president in Egypt’s modern history, had been in jail since he was toppled by the military in 2013.
“54 countries, 1.2 billion people Africa marks the creation of the world’s largest economic and free trade area,” International Trade Centre Director, Arancha Gonzalez reacts as the African Continental Free Trade Area is born
On Tuesday, Gambia became the 22nd country to ratify the accord, reaching the threshold for it to be implemented. It’s hoped the deal will reduce tariffs and trade rules, and create jobs for a market of 1.2 billion people. But Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, isn’t on board with the agreement. So will the deal succeed?
Syria, Russia and Iran condemn US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Golan
CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|REUTERS|Trump’s Twitter announcement, reversing over 50 years of policy, said to catch both American and Israeli officials off-guard.
Syria and its allies Russia and Iran on Friday condemned US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which the Jewish state captured from its northern neighbor in the 1967 Six Day War.
Quoting an unnamed foreign ministry official, Syria’s official SANA news agency slammed the decision as “irresponsible” and a violation of United Nations resolutions concerning the territory’s status.
“Syria strongly condemns the irresponsible declaration of the American president, which again proves the US’s blind tendency in favor of the Zionist entity and its unreserved support for its aggression,” the official said. “The Syrian people remain committed to the liberation of the Golan Heights by all means at its disposal.”
The source added that Trump’s statement won’t change “the fact that the Golan was and will remain Arab and Syrian.”
The comments were Syria’s first reaction to Trump’s surprise Thursday announcement, which has been met with largely muted responses by the international community.
Russia, which has long been a key backer of Syria and is fighting alongside forces loyal to President Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war, condemned Trump’s declaration as a violation of UN decisions.
“Russia, as you know, takes a principled position on the issue of the Syrian Arab Republic’s ownership of the Golan Heights… Our assessment of the unlawful nature of Israel’s decision to extend its sovereignty to the Golan Heights remains unchanged, ” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quoted as saying by state-sponsored Sputnik News.
“Changing the status of the Golan Heights bypassing the Security Council is in direct violation of UN decisions,” Zakharova added.
Iran, another key ally of the Assad regime, said the move was illegal.
“This illegal and unacceptable recognition does not change the fact that it belongs to Syria,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said, according to Reuters.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that the US announcement brought the region to the brink of a fresh crisis.
“We cannot allow the legitimization of the occupation of the Golan Heights,” he said Friday morning in a speech at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, according to Reuters.
In signature fashion, Trump made the announcement on Twitter, reversing over 50 years of US policy since Israel’s capture of the strategic plateau from Syria.
Trump’s recognition caught officials in Israel and the United States off-guard, according to the McClatchy news agency.
“We all found out by tweet,” an Israeli official was quoted as saying. “We’ve been lobbying for this for a long time, but it was not the product of one phone call. There were hints, but we weren’t given advance notice.”
Another Israeli source told the news agency that Israeli leaders were informed of the decision shortly beforehand, as with Trump’s abrupt announcement in December that he would pull all US forces out of Syria.
According to the report, Trump’s Middle East peace negotiators and the State Department were also surprised by the move, with US officials having expected an announcement when Trump hosts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House next week.
Netanyahu appeared overjoyed while praising the decision in a press conference in Jerusalem Thursday alongside US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who the New York Times noted “looked caught off-guard.”
While the timing of Trump’s decision was unexpected, there were a number of hints at a coming US policy shift, including the State Department’s defining of the Golan Heights as “Israeli-controlled” instead of “Israeli-occupied” for the first time, in a human rights report released last week.
Trump’s tweet was not preceded by a policy review, according to McClatchy, and it was not clear if the US president would follow up the announcement with a more official recognition such as an executive order.
It was also unclear if Israel would respond with a move of its own, as it never formally annexed the Golan Heights despite having extended Israeli law to the territory in 1981, in a move never recognized internationally.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton visits the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, January 6, 2019. (Ziv Sokolov/US Embassy Jerusalem)
Quoting unnamed White House officials, the news agency said Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton was a key force behind the move following his visit to Israel in January, seeing it as a signal the US remained committed to Israel in the wake of Trump’s announcement of the US troop pullout.
US Ambassador David Friedman also reportedly pushed for the recognition on the same grounds.
Israel in recent years has warned that its arch-enemy Iran is trying to establish a military presence in Syria that could threaten the Jewish state, and has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets there linked to Iran.
“It was an ask,” an Israeli official told McClatchy. “Because of the timing — it suddenly became a relevant issue about Iran.”
Macron tells Sisi human rights go together with stability
CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|REUTERS| – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that he told his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during a visit to Cairo that stability and security cannot be separated from human rights, Trend reports referring to Reuters.
“Stability and durable peace go together with respect for individual dignity and the rule of law, and the search for stability cannot be dissociated from the question of human rights,” Macron said in a joint press conference with Sisi.
After saying in 2017 that he would not lecture Sisi on human rights, Macron has been under pressure from non-governmental organisations to take a firmer stance and had said he would be more outspoken during his three-day visit to Egypt.
“Stability and durable peace go together with respect for individual dignity and the rule of law, and the search for stability cannot be dissociated from the question of human rights,” he said during a joint press conference with Sisi that was dominated by the subject of rights.
“Things haven’t gone in the right direction since 2017 — bloggers, journalists are in prison and because of that Egypt’s image can find itself suffering,” Macron said.
Sisi told reporters that rights should be taken in the context of regional turbulence and the fight against terrorism.
“Egypt does not advance through bloggers. It advances through the work, effort and perseverance of its sons,” he said.
WThankful Erdogan invites Trump to visit and sends troops to Syrian border ahead of U.S. pullout
AFP-JIJI|AIWA! NO!|ANKARA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent more troops to Syria’s border on Monday ahead of an imminent U.S. withdrawal, as the White House announced he had invited Donald Trump to Ankara.
Unlike several other allies of the United States, Turkey has praised President Trump’s decision to withdraw 2,000 of his ground forces from Syria, a country where it will now have a freer rein to target Kurdish fighters.
On Monday Ankara sent more troops to its Syrian border and said an offensive targeting the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia and IS group will be launched in the coming months.
Turkey views the YPG as a “terrorist offshoot” of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
But the militia has also been a key U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic State in Syria, working with American forces on the ground there.
“Just as we did not leave our Syrian Arabs to Daesh (IS), we will not leave Syrian Kurds to the cruelty of the PKK,” Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara.
A Turkish military convoy arrived overnight on Monday at the border with local media reporting that some vehicles had entered Syria.
In a telephone conversation Sunday between Trump and Erdogan, which both sides described as “productive,” they agreed to avoid a power vacuum in Syria after the U.S. withdrawal.
“President Erdogan invited President Trump to visit Turkey in 2019. While nothing definite is being planned, the president is open to a potential meeting in the future,” a White House spokesperson later said on Monday evening.
Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters on Monday that a U.S. military delegation would arrive this week to “discuss how to coordinate (the withdrawal) with their counterparts.”
A Turkish foreign ministry delegation would go to Washington for talks early January, he added.
Trump stunned the U.S. political establishment and allies last week with his decision, days after Erdogan had warned that Ankara would soon launch an offensive in northern Syria.
Critics of Trump’s decision fear that thousands of Islamic State (IS) group extremist members are still thought to be in Syria, despite Trump’s claim of having defeated IS.
The U.S. leader tweeted that Erdogan had told him Ankara would “eradicate” the last IS elements.
And Kalin vowed that there was “no question of a step backwards, vulnerability or a slowdown in the fight against Daesh (IS).”
He added: “Turkey will show the same determination against Daesh. To beat Daesh, we don’t need the PKK or the YPG. We can bring peace to this region.”
The Turkish military convoy with howitzers, artillery batteries and several units of the armed forces, was deployed to the border district of Elbeyli in Kilis province, state news agency Anadolu reported on Monday.
Parts of the convoy had entered Syria, the private IHA news agency reported, which said the reinforcements would take place “gradually.”
The deployment began over the weekend with around 100 vehicles, the Hurriyet daily said, and crossed into the Al-Bab region, headed towards Jarabulus and YPG-held Manbij.
Jarabulus and Al-Bab were areas captured from IS during Ankara’s first military operation in August 2016 which lasted until March 2017.
Military reinforcements had also been sent to the Akcakale border town and Ceylanpinar district, both in the southeastern Sanliurfa province.
Turkey conducted a second offensive with Syrian rebels against the YPG in its northwestern enclave of Afrin in January this year.
Turkish officials have previously said Ankara has no territorial ambitions in Syria.
Trump’s move has sparked dismay among many allies and turmoil within his administration. First Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned, then Brett McGurk, the special envoy to the anti-IS coalition, stepped down.
American support for the YPG, under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance, has long been a source of tension between NATO allies the U.S. and Turkey.
But relations between the Turkish and American leaders appear to have improved substantially since a crisis in the summer over the detention of a U.S. pastor, since released.
Last week, the U.S. approved the sale of $3.5 billion in missiles to Turkey, after American outrage over Ankara’s major arms purchase from Russia.
But there are still strains over the U.S. refusal to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based Muslim preacher who Turkey says ordered the 2016 failed coup.