Kuwait annuls 2022 legislative polls, reinstates old parliament

Kuwait’s Constitutional Court has annulled the results of last September’s parliamentary election, in which the opposition made gains, and ruled in favour of reinstating the previous government, state media said.

Sunday’s move comes at a time of renewed friction between the elected parliament and government and follows the reappointment this month of the country’s prime minister, whose government had resigned in the stand-off with parliament.

Kuwait’s crown prince last year dissolved parliament and called early polls in an effort to end prolonged domestic political feuding that has hindered fiscal reform.

However, Justice Mohammad bin Naji on Sunday said the court had declared the dissolution of parliament as void and had annulled the early elections held in September.

“The constitutional authority of the dissolved parliament shall be restored as of the date of this ruling,” he told the court session attended by reporters.

Political bickering

Kuwait, an OPEC oil producer, bans political parties but has given its legislature more influence than similar bodies in other Gulf monarchies.

Frequent political bickering has often led to cabinet reshuffles and dissolutions of parliament, hampering investment and reforms aimed at reducing the country’s heavy reliance on oil revenue.

“Kuwait does not deserve such farces,” MP Saleh Ashour said on Twitter after the court ruling.

A lawmaker from the dissolved assembly, Abdullah Al Turaiji, welcomed the move as “correcting the government’s mistake in dealing with parliament”.

Political stability in Kuwait has traditionally depended on cooperation between government and parliament.

While Kuwait’s leadership has responded to some opposition demands, including the pardoning of political dissidents, key reform proposals such as a public debt law continue to face legislative gridlock.

Source: TRTworld.com

Egypt hosts Israeli, Palestinian officials to ease tensions

Egypt is set to host Israeli and Palestinian officials in the resort city of Sharm el Sheikh in a US and Jordanian backed effort to calm a surge of violence in the occupied West Bank.

The five-way meeting follows a February 26 US-brokered summit in Jordan, the first of its kind in years, that secured Israeli and Palestinian pledges to de-escalate but was challenged by factions on both sides and failed to halt violence on the ground.

The meeting in Sharm el Sheikh “aims to support dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to work to stop unilateral actions and escalation, and break the existing cycle of violence and achieve calm”, a statement from Egypt’s foreign ministry said.

This could “facilitate the creation of a climate suitable for the resumption of the peace process”, it added.

Palestinian official Hussein al Sheikh tweeted that the meeting was meant to “demand an end to this continuous Israeli aggression against us.”

Peace talks stalled since 2014

The Palestinians aim to establish an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital – territories Israel captured in a 1967 war.

But peace talks have been stalled since 2014 and Palestinians say Jewish settlement expansion has undermined the chances of a viable state being established.

The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan starts in late March.

In previous years, clashes have erupted between Israeli police and Palestinians around Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque at the height of Ramadan, which coincides this year with Judaism’s Passover and Christian Easter.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed by Israel in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem in 2022, making it the deadliest year in those territories since 2004, according to the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Just this year, 85 Palestinians have been killed, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

While the violence began under the previous Israeli government, it has intensified in the first two months of Israel’s new right-wing government, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition.

Source: TRTworld.com

Egypt and Türkiye to restore diplomatic ties

Egypt and Türkiye are planning to hold talks about restoring ambassador-level relations in what could mark a rapprochement after a decade of frayed ties between the two nations.

“I’m very glad that we are taking concrete steps for normalizing relations with Egypt… We will do our best not to rupture our ties again in future,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday during a visit to Cairo. His Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, added that the countries would have talks on restoring ambassadors “at the appropriate time.”

The Turkish minister blamed the longstanding rift on “misunderstandings and a lack of dialogue,” while acknowledging the impact it had on both countries.

“There is a huge level of untapped potential, but we have lost those nine years, and in order to close this nine-year gap, we have to work even harder,” Cavusoglu said, hinting at a possible official meeting between the two countries’ presidents, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

In addition to seeking to upgrade diplomatic relations, Cavusoglu expressed both sides’ commitment to advancing ties in the areas of energy, trade, and transportation.

“We want to improve our cooperation in the energy field, we want to take concrete steps … There were some disruptions in transportation issues. We want to revive them. We want to maximize our diplomatic relations,” Cavusoglu said, as reported by the Turkish media outlet Anadolu.

Relations between the North African nation and Türkiye deteriorated after Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, a supporter of Ankara and leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, was overthrown in 2013 by el-Sisi, who was commander-in-chief of the Egyptian army at the time. The following year el-Sisi won the presidential election.

Senior foreign ministry officials from Ankara and Cairo began talking in 2021 as Türkiye sought to defuse tensions with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

The two nations have recently been at odds over maritime borders in the gas-rich Eastern Mediterranean and also over Libya, where they have supported opposing forces in the unresolved conflict.

Egypt has been experiencing an economic downturn from which it has been attempting to extract itself through a variety of diplomatic means aimed at attracting foreign investment.

The Egyptian foreign minister stated that improving Turkish-Egyptian relations would be in both countries’ best interests.

“There were Turkish investments in various fields in Egypt. In the past years, the trade volume between the two countries has increased to $9 billion. This is an important figure for both countries. In fact, Türkiye’s investments in Egypt had reached $2.5 billion,” he stressed.

In February, a group of Turkish businessmen met with Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, the first such meeting in ten years.

The Turkish delegation stated its intention to increase investment in Egypt by an additional $500 million this year. The Egyptian prime minister guaranteed that investors would enjoy a secure business environment.

Source: Russia Today

63 hot air balloons fly over Luxor, carrying 1,600 tourists

As many as 63 hot air balloons decorated the skies of Luxor on Sunday, carrying 1,600 tourists of different nationalities.

Representative of the Egyptian Federation of Hot Air Ballooning Companies in Luxor Ahmed Aboud said Luxor ranks third worldwide in organizing hot air balloon trips that fly over the city’s archaeological sites, the Nile River and agricultural lands.

Hot air balloon rides over the ancient wonders of Luxor are the tourists’ favorite, as they get a chance to explore the cities’ spectacular landscape and famous landmarks, he also said.

Source: State Information Service Egypt

Emigration min.: Hospital 57357offering humanitarian, medical services for free

Emigration Minister Soha Gendi highlighted the importance of supporting the Children Cancer Hospital 57357 to continue offering its humanitarian and medical services for free.

She made the remarks on Sunday during her visit to the US to attend an event organized by the Egypt Cancer Network USA to launch a donation campaign to back the hospital.

In a statement on Sunday, she highlighted the pioneering Egyptian experiment of the hospital during the event – which raised about 600,000 dollars.

She said the Egyptian state is offering distinguished services in various domains, including the presidential initiative in the health sector.

Egyptian General Consul in Los Angeles Ahmed Shahin welcomed the visit which is the first of its kind by Gendi to the US.

Source: State Information Service Egypt

Cabinet denies suspending initiative of free of charge surgeries to rationalize spending

The Cabinet Media Center has dismissed as groundless reports on suspending the presidential initiative to end waiting lists for treatment of patients and free of charge urgent surgeries to rationalize spending.

The center said in a statement on Sunday it contacted the Ministry of Health and Population which dismissed the reports as untrue.

The Health and Population Ministry announced recently that over 1.621 million surgeries have been performed so far under President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s initiative to end waiting lists which aim to expedite treatment for patients in need of urgent surgeries.

The initiative includes surgeries in heart catheterisation, bone, ophthalmology, tumors, brain catheters, cardiac catheters, brain and nerves, kidney transplant, liver transplant and cochlear transplant, said Health Ministry Spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar in a statement.

Source: State Information Service Egypt

Egypt launches new stage of National Strategy for money laundering

The National Strategy for Money Laundering and Terrorism financing aims at boosting the national economy and achieving goals of sustainable development though protecting financial and non-financial sectors in Egypt from hazards of money laundering, terrorism financing and armament, said the head of the Egyptian Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit (EMLCU).

In a word on the occasion of the launch of the second stage of the strategy, Ahmed Saeed Khalil said coordination is underway between the unit and members of the national committee for combating money laundering and terrorism funding to update the strategy on a periodical basis in a way that copes up with regional and international developments.

He said the new stage complies with the international standards as regards combating money laundering and terrorism financing and it put into consideration the recommendations of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization founded on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering and to maintain certain interest.

He lauded the tireless efforts exerted by the members of the national committee that led to launching the strategy in a record time, calling for taking real steps on the ground to put into effect the goals of the strategy.

Source: State Information Service Egypt