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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.
The decision came after his hearing on November 19, but his lawyer was only made aware of it on Sunday.
Egypt accused the Qatar-based news producer of broadcasting false news and receiving foreign funds to defame state institutions, but he is yet to be formally charged.
Hussein and Al Jazeera strongly deny the allegations, and the move to continue to hold him has drawn international criticism.
Hussein’s detention has breached Egypt’s own penal code, since he has been held for more than 620 days, the maximum period permitted for an individual being investigated for a felony, without a trial. Authorities should have either released Hussein or referred him to court.
Hussein was arrested on December 20, 2016, by Egyptian authorities upon his arrival in Cairo for an annual vacation to visit his family.
Since then he has been put in solitary confinement and denied his legal rights.
In February, the United Nations called Hussein’s jailing “arbitrary detention”, saying the “appropriate remedy would be to release Mr Hussein immediately.”
Ibrahim Helal, former editor-in-chief of Al Jazeera Arabic, was sentenced to death in absentia for purportedly endangering national security. Several other colleagues have also been charged in absentia, such as journalists Sue Turton and Dominic Kane.
Reporters Without Borders ranked Egypt 161 out of 180 in its 2017 press freedom index, a “blacklist” of countries considered “prisons for journalists”.
“According to our statistics in 2016, we noticed there were at least 20 journalists behind bars because of their work,” says Alexandra El Khazen from Reporters Without Borders.
“They’d find themselves in a group political trial with hundreds of others accused. The accusations against them are political, because of their journalistic work, as if they were activists or terrorists.”
Hussein’s current colleagues describe him as a trustworthy, passionate and experienced journalist.
“He did his job objectively. He always maintained balance and professionalism in his reportage,” Al Jazeera Arabic presenter Mohammad Krichen said.