Türkiye: Our Presence in Syria Aims to Preserve its Unity

 Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the Chief of Staff, speaking with workers at a control center on the border with Syria (Turkish Ministry of Defense)
 Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the Chief of Staff, speaking with workers at a control center on the border with Syria (Turkish Ministry of Defense)
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Türkiye: Our Presence in Syria Aims to Preserve its Unity

 Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the Chief of Staff, speaking with workers at a control center on the border with Syria (Turkish Ministry of Defense)
 Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the Chief of Staff, speaking with workers at a control center on the border with Syria (Turkish Ministry of Defense)

Türkiye has once again ruled out the idea of withdrawing its forces from Syria at the present time, pointing to fears related to the presence of “terrorist organizations” on its borders. The country stressed that its military presence in the region was also useful for Syria to preserve its unity.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Türkiye had no ambitions in anyone’s lands, adding: “Our only concern is fighting terrorism... We are not invaders, and we have no eyes on anyone’s land.”

Akar, accompanied by the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Yasar Guler, and the commanders of the armed forces, inspected the border areas with Syria.

Addressing a group of Turkish journalists, he said: “The allegations about the presence of illegal crossings are untrue... Türkiye’s borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran are fully protected and under control.”

The minister emphasized that his country’s borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran are “fully protected” by a system that includes concrete walls and wire fences.

He continued: “We have surveillance radars, automatic weapons systems, and x-rays, in case terrorists try to penetrate the tunnels. We have 60,000 soldiers on the border. Our borders are secure and under control. No one should doubt that.”

Regarding Damascus’ call for the withdrawal of Turkish forces from northern Syria as a condition for normalizing relations, Akar said: “We said, let’s establish a joint center in Syria, let’s leave the soldiers there, follow the activities immediately and take the necessary precautions regarding developments.”

The Defense minister was referring to an agreement announced on the eve of the quartet meeting of the foreign ministers of Türkiye, Russia, Syria and Iran in Moscow, on May 10, within the framework of negotiations to normalize relations between Türkiye and Syria.

The agreement stipulated the establishment of a military coordination center in Syria with the participation of the four countries to coordinate efforts in the fight against terrorism.

For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “If we leave these areas (northern Syria), they will be filled with terrorism, which means a new wave of migration.”

His remarks came during a television interview on Wednesday.

“Our presence benefits both Syria and Türkiye. We do not pose a threat to Syria. The threat lies in terrorism, which menaces the country’s unity...” He noted.



Türkiye to Repatriate Syrian Refugees to Regime-Controlled Areas

Syrian women cross the border to return to their country. (EPA)
Syrian women cross the border to return to their country. (EPA)
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Türkiye to Repatriate Syrian Refugees to Regime-Controlled Areas

Syrian women cross the border to return to their country. (EPA)
Syrian women cross the border to return to their country. (EPA)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that Ankara is seeking to safely return Syrian refugees to areas controlled by the Syrian government, and not only to safe areas in northern Syria.

In an interview with a local channel on Friday, the Turkish FM said: “We want to return the Syrians to the places controlled by the regime as well, not just to the safe areas.”

Cavusoglu indicated that this issue was discussed with the Syrian government within the framework of the so-called Quad-like grouping with Russia, Iran, Syria and Türkiye.

“We agreed at the recent meeting of foreign ministers in Moscow held on May 10, to prepare the infrastructure in order to send the Syrians safely to the places controlled by the regime, and we decided to form a committee at the level of deputy ministers with the participation of the concerned institutions as well,” he noted.

“In other words, we are already determined to send the Syrians back. Secondly, we do not do this with a racist discourse, we do not forget that they are also human,” Cavusoglu added.

Recently the Syrian refugees file topped the political agenda in Türkiye, which headed Sunday for a decisive runoff vote after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could not win the presidential race in the first round. He will face the leader of the main opposition CHP, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Ahead of the runoff, Kilicdaroglu stated that Türkiye would deport 10 million refugees and immigrants immediately if he wins the polls through negotiations with the Syrian government, European Union, and United Nations to ensure their voluntary and safe return.

For his part, Erdogan spoke a few days ago about the return of more than a million refugees to the areas controlled by Türkiye and its allied factions of the Syrian National Army (SNA) in northern Syria.

Meanwhile, Türkiye has launched the construction of nearly a quarter million housing units to resettle refugees in opposition-held northern Syria.

“Syrian refugees living in Türkiye will settle in the houses... as part of a dignified, voluntary safe return,” Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Wednesday at the launch of the project.

He said that “240,000 houses will be built" in the region, expressing hope that the project would be completed in three years.

On Friday, Cavusoglu said in his television interview that almost 553,000 Syrians had returned to areas where terrorism had defeated northern Syria.

He also pointed out that most of the Syrians in Türkiye want to return to their country, and stressed “the need to implement this process within the framework of international and Turkish laws.”


Egypt, Cyprus, Greece Agree to Boost Cooperation in Tourism

Egyptian Minister of Emigration and Expatriate Affairs Soha Gendy meets with Cypriot Ambassador to Egypt Polly Ioannou in Cairo. (Egyptian government)
Egyptian Minister of Emigration and Expatriate Affairs Soha Gendy meets with Cypriot Ambassador to Egypt Polly Ioannou in Cairo. (Egyptian government)
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Egypt, Cyprus, Greece Agree to Boost Cooperation in Tourism

Egyptian Minister of Emigration and Expatriate Affairs Soha Gendy meets with Cypriot Ambassador to Egypt Polly Ioannou in Cairo. (Egyptian government)
Egyptian Minister of Emigration and Expatriate Affairs Soha Gendy meets with Cypriot Ambassador to Egypt Polly Ioannou in Cairo. (Egyptian government)

Egypt, Cyprus and Greece agreed on Saturday to boost cooperation in tourism.

Egyptian Minister of Emigration and Expatriate Affairs Soha Gendy met with Cypriot Ambassador to Egypt Polly Ioannou in Cairo.

The meeting reviewed the three-way talks with the counterparts of the Egyptian Minister in Cyprus and Greece, which were held last November to probe different ideas and new proposals regarding joint cooperation to consolidate the historic relations between the three countries.

Egypt, Greece and Cyprus signed a tripartite cooperation mechanism that was later expanded after the discovery of natural gas resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.

After Saturday’s talks, Gendy said the meeting tackled new initiatives related to the youth in the three countries.

The officials discussed boosting cooperation in tourism and agreed to hold more meetings in the future.

They stressed the need to “build on previous successes in cooperation with the Cypriot diaspora and the historic relations that bind the peoples of the three countries.”

They added that they should build on the strong bilateral ties that Egypt enjoys with Cyprus and its political leadership.

They agreed to educate new generations on the history of Egyptian-Cypriot relations, through films and cultural events, and encouraged Cypriot youths of Egyptian origin to take part in the World Youth Forum held annually in Egypt.

Gendy and Ioannou also addressed cooperation with Mediterranean countries in combating illegal migration in line with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi's “Lifeboats” initiative. They also covered preparations to take part in the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) upcoming conference.


Food Security Improves in Liberated Yemeni Regions, UN Complains of Houthi Restrictions

A Yemeni farmer picks strawberries in a field near Sanaa. (AFP)
A Yemeni farmer picks strawberries in a field near Sanaa. (AFP)
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Food Security Improves in Liberated Yemeni Regions, UN Complains of Houthi Restrictions

A Yemeni farmer picks strawberries in a field near Sanaa. (AFP)
A Yemeni farmer picks strawberries in a field near Sanaa. (AFP)

The food security situation in Yemen’s government-controlled districts has improved, dropping to 22 percent, according to a new UN report.

The report didn’t cover the Houthi-ruled areas due to the restrictions imposed by them on relief organizations and their local partners.

This Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report covered 118 districts and areas under the control of the legitimate Yemeni government.

However, the number of people facing severe acute food insecurity remains very high and of great concern in the majority of the analyzed districts.

At the same time, the population with severe needs is projected to increase starting June, with Yemen remaining one of the most food-insecure countries in the world.

The report warned that these modest improvements were only a “temporary reprieve” as the key drivers of food insecurity remain and are projected to worsen during the period from June to December 2023.

The report showed that between January and May 2023, about 3.2 million people experienced high levels of acute food insecurity in government-controlled areas, representing a 23 percent drop from the period between October and December 2022.

Additionally, the number of people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) almost halved to 781,000 compared to the estimates for the last quarter of 2022.

During the June to December 2023 period, the report estimated that the number of people likely to experience high levels of acute food insecurity could increase to 3.9 million, out of which 2.8 million people are projected to reach crisis levels of hunger, and 1.1 million in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).

In total, 117 of the 118 districts will be in IPC Phase 3 or above. Thirteen districts are expected to shift from IPC Phase 3 to Phase 4, while 15 districts shift from IPC Phase 2 (Stress) to Phase 3.

The area-level classification is expected to deteriorate further during the projection period for acute malnutrition with all 16 zones being classified in IPC AMN phases 3 (Serious) and above.

The main drivers of the deterioration include a projected 20 percent shortfall in humanitarian assistance, an anticipated increase in food and fuel prices to about 30 percent above the average levels, and a continuation of conflict in frontline districts.

The IPC is an innovative multi-partner initiative for improving food security and nutrition analysis and decision-making. By using the IPC classification and analytical approach, Governments, UN Agencies, NGOs, civil society, and other relevant actors, work together to determine the severity and magnitude of acute and chronic food insecurity and acute malnutrition situations in a country, according to internationally recognized scientific standards.

The main goal of the IPC is to provide decision-makers with a rigorous, evidence- and consensus-based analysis of food insecurity and acute malnutrition situations, to inform emergency responses as well as medium- and long-term policy and programming.

The IPC was originally developed in 2004 to be used in Somalia by FAO’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU). Since then, a global partnership of 15 organizations has been leading the development and implementation of the IPC at the global, regional, and country levels.

With over 10 years of application, the IPC has proved to be one of the best practices in the global food security field, and a model of collaboration in over 30 countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.


Arab League Urges Int’l Community to Salvage Sudan’s National Institutions

FILE PHOTO: Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit attends a news conference at the Arab Gulf Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 9, 2022. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit attends a news conference at the Arab Gulf Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 9, 2022. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri/File Photo
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Arab League Urges Int’l Community to Salvage Sudan’s National Institutions

FILE PHOTO: Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit attends a news conference at the Arab Gulf Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 9, 2022. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit attends a news conference at the Arab Gulf Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 9, 2022. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri/File Photo

The Arab League urged the international community on Saturday to prevent the collapse of national institutions in Sudan and embark on salvaging the war-torn nation.

“The nature of the conflict in Sudan presses the need for concerted international efforts to salvage Sudan’s national institutions and prevent their collapse, according to what was stated in the final declaration of the Jeddah Summit and African decisions,” said Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

He added that it was crucial to build on the Jeddah Summit meetings to end the Sudanese crisis, and adhere to its outcomes represented in agreements on a short-term ceasefire and humanitarian arrangements.

Aboul Gheit’s remarks came at the African Union Peace and Security Council meeting that was held at the level of heads of states and government level to discuss the crisis in Sudan.

He pointed to the outcomes of the Jeddah Summit held earlier this month between the rival Sudanese parties.

The Secretary-General of the League stressed "the importance of renewing the armistice and reaching a sustainable ceasefire agreement within the framework of preserving Sudan's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and supporting the comprehensive Sudanese political track that achieves the aspirations of the Sudanese people for peace, security and development."

He also stressed the need for doubling efforts to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the people, and for effective coordination with the Red Crescent and Red Cross organizations, and United Nations humanitarian organizations, in cooperation with the relevant authorities.


Iraq Announces Plans for $17 Billion Transportation Project Linking Asia to Europe

A handout picture released by Iraq's Prime Minister's Media Office shows Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani attending a meeting with transport ministry representatives in Baghdad on May 27, 2023. (Iraqi Prime Minister’s Press Office/AFP)
A handout picture released by Iraq's Prime Minister's Media Office shows Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani attending a meeting with transport ministry representatives in Baghdad on May 27, 2023. (Iraqi Prime Minister’s Press Office/AFP)
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Iraq Announces Plans for $17 Billion Transportation Project Linking Asia to Europe

A handout picture released by Iraq's Prime Minister's Media Office shows Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani attending a meeting with transport ministry representatives in Baghdad on May 27, 2023. (Iraqi Prime Minister’s Press Office/AFP)
A handout picture released by Iraq's Prime Minister's Media Office shows Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani attending a meeting with transport ministry representatives in Baghdad on May 27, 2023. (Iraqi Prime Minister’s Press Office/AFP)

Iraq’s prime minister on Saturday announced plans for a $17 billion regional transportation project intended to facilitate the flow of goods from Asia to Europe.

The announcement was made at a one-day conference in Baghdad that convened transport ministers and representatives from Iraq, the Gulf countries, Türkiye, Iran, Syria, and Jordan.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said the planned Development Road project would facilitate the movement of goods from the Gulf to Europe by way of the Grand Faw Port in Basra, in southern Iraq, which would be connected to Türkiye, then to Europe, through a network of railways and highways.

A centerpiece of the project will be the development of the Grand Faw Port and a "smart industrial city" adjacent to it, Sudani said.

The planned project, which would involve the construction of about 1,200 km (about 745 miles) of railways and highways, will be "an economic lifeline and a promising opportunity for the convergence of interests, history, and cultures," said Sudani, adding it will "make our countries a source for modern industries and goods."

Iraq's government envisions high-speed trains moving goods and passengers at up to 300 kilometers (186.41 miles) per hour, links to local industry hubs and an energy component that could include oil and gas pipelines.

It would mark a significant departure from the country's existing aged transport network.

Iraq's train service currently operates a handful of lines, including slow oil freight and a single overnight passenger train that trundles from Baghdad to Basra, taking 10 to 12 hours to cover 500 kilometers.

"The Development Road is not just a road to move goods or passengers. This road opens the door to development of vast areas of Iraq," Farhan al-Fartousi, director general of the General Company for Ports of Iraq, told Reuters.

The Grand Faw Port, which was devised over a decade ago, is halfway to completion, he said.

Passenger transport between Iraq and Europe harkens back to grand plans at the turn of the 20th century to create a Baghdad to Berlin express.

"We will make this line active again and tie it to other countries," Fartousi added.

If work starts early next year, the project would be completed in 2029, Fartousi revealed.

"Even if Iraq was absent for a year or two or a decade or two, it must return one day or another. Hopefully these days are the beginning of the return of Iraq," he stressed.

The countries participating in Saturday's conference agreed to establish joint technical committees to move the project forward.


Sudan's Burhan Seeks Removal of UN Envoy in Letter to Guterres, Who Is ‘Shocked’ by Demand

 Smoke billows behind buildings in southern Khartoum, on May 27, 2023, amid ongoing fighting between the forces of two rival generals. (AFP)
Smoke billows behind buildings in southern Khartoum, on May 27, 2023, amid ongoing fighting between the forces of two rival generals. (AFP)
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Sudan's Burhan Seeks Removal of UN Envoy in Letter to Guterres, Who Is ‘Shocked’ by Demand

 Smoke billows behind buildings in southern Khartoum, on May 27, 2023, amid ongoing fighting between the forces of two rival generals. (AFP)
Smoke billows behind buildings in southern Khartoum, on May 27, 2023, amid ongoing fighting between the forces of two rival generals. (AFP)

Sudan's military ruler demanded in a letter to the UN secretary general that the UN envoy to his country be removed, officials said Saturday. The UN chief was “shocked” by the letter, a spokesman said.

The envoy, Volker Perthes, has been a key mediator in Sudan, first during the country's fitful attempts to transition to democracy and then after worsening tensions between military rivals exploded into open fighting last month.

The fighting pits troops loyal to military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan against a paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces, headed by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.

Burhan's letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was received Friday.

“The Secretary-General is shocked by the letter he received this morning,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “The Secretary-General is proud of the work done by Volker Perthes and reaffirms his full confidence in his Special Representative.”

Dujarric didn’t reveal the contents of the letter. A senior Sudanese military official said Burhan’s letter asked Guterres to replace Perthes who was appointed to the post in 2021.

According to the official, Burhan accused Perthes of “being partisan,” and that his approach in pre-war talks between the generals and the pro-democracy movement helped inflame the conflict. The talks had aimed at restoring the country’s democratic transition, which was derailed by a military coup in Oct. 2021.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media.

Later Saturday, the US State Department said it supports Perthes and that he “continues to have our confidence.” A statement by spokesman Matthew Miller said that “we express our concern over the letter from the Sudanese Armed Forces calling for his (Perthes’) resignation.”

Perthes declined to comment on the letter.

Burhan’s letter came after the UN envoy accused the warring parties of disregarding the laws of war by attacking homes, shops, places of worship, and water and electricity installations.

In his briefing to the UN Security Council earlier this week, Perthes blamed the leaders of the military and the RSF for the war, saying they have chosen to “settle their unresolved conflict on the battlefield rather than at the table.”

Burhan accused Perthes last year of “exceeding the UN mission’s mandate and of blatant interference in Sudanese affairs.” He threatened to expel him from the country.

The ongoing fighting broke out in mid-April between the military and the powerful RSF. Both Burhan and Dagalo led the 2021 coup that removed the government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

The fighting turned the capital of Khartoum and the adjacent city of Omdurman into a battleground. The clashes also spread elsewhere in the country, including the war-wracked Darfur region.

The conflict has killed hundreds of people, wounded thousands and pushed the country to near collapse. It forced more than 1.3 million out of their homes to safer areas inside Sudan, or to neighboring nations.

The warring parties have agreed on a weeklong ceasefire, brokered by the US and Saudi Arabia. However, the truce, which is scheduled to expire Monday night, did not stop the fighting in parts of Khartoum and elsewhere in the county.

Residents reported sporadic clashes Saturday in parts of Omdurman, where the army’s aircraft were seen flying over the city. Fighting was also reported in al-Fasher, the provincial capital of North Darfur.


UN: Migrants who Tried to Cross Mediterranean Brought Back to Libya

FILE - Migrants are brought to shore after being intercepted by the Libyan coast guard on the Mediterranean Sea, in Garaboli Libya, on Oct. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Yousef Murad, File)
FILE - Migrants are brought to shore after being intercepted by the Libyan coast guard on the Mediterranean Sea, in Garaboli Libya, on Oct. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Yousef Murad, File)
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UN: Migrants who Tried to Cross Mediterranean Brought Back to Libya

FILE - Migrants are brought to shore after being intercepted by the Libyan coast guard on the Mediterranean Sea, in Garaboli Libya, on Oct. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Yousef Murad, File)
FILE - Migrants are brought to shore after being intercepted by the Libyan coast guard on the Mediterranean Sea, in Garaboli Libya, on Oct. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Yousef Murad, File)

Nearly 500 migrants who tried to cross the central Mediterranean have been brought back to Libya, a spokesman for the UN migration agency said on Friday, two days after charity groups lost contact with the boat carrying them.

"Libya is an unsafe port where migrants should never be brought back," Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) wrote on Twitter.

He told Reuters there were 485 migrants and they docked in the Libyan port of Benghazi on Friday. No further details were provided to IOM at this stage.

Alarm Phone, a group that picks up calls from migrant vessels in distress, had no signs from the boat since Wednesday morning.

At the time, the boat was adrift, with no working engine, in high seas about 320 km (200 miles) north of Libya and more than 400 km away from Malta or Italy's southern island of Sicily.

The Italian Coast Guard reported on Thursday the rescue of 423 and 671 migrants in two separate operations in Italian search and rescue waters, and Alarm Phone said they were unrelated to the missing boat.


UN Delays Dual-currency Cash Help to Refugees in Lebanon

In this Monday, April 23, 2018 photo, Syrian refugee children play outside their family tents at a Syrian refugee camp in the town of Bar Elias, in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
In this Monday, April 23, 2018 photo, Syrian refugee children play outside their family tents at a Syrian refugee camp in the town of Bar Elias, in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
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UN Delays Dual-currency Cash Help to Refugees in Lebanon

In this Monday, April 23, 2018 photo, Syrian refugee children play outside their family tents at a Syrian refugee camp in the town of Bar Elias, in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
In this Monday, April 23, 2018 photo, Syrian refugee children play outside their family tents at a Syrian refugee camp in the town of Bar Elias, in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

The United Nations has delayed a decision to give Syrian refugees in Lebanon cash help partly in US dollars after objections from senior Lebanese officials that this could exacerbate tensions with hard-pressed locals.

In a statement on Saturday the UN said that following Lebanese requests a decision had been made to temporarily pause the use of dollars alongside Lebanese pounds for next month's disbursement of cash assistance to refugees, while discussions continue on the appropriate way to give aid.

Lebanon's local currency has lost more than 98% of its value since an economic meltdown began in 2019, straining both Lebanese families and the around 800,000 Syrians registered with the UN's refugee agency.

The Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon Imran Riza and other UN officials had on Tuesday said their agencies would begin distributing aid to refugees in both dollars and Lebanese pounds.

They said the "rapid depreciation" of the pound, fluctuations of the exchange rate, and the logistical challenges of securing large amounts of local currency had made it "impossible for the United Nations and partners to continue to disburse cash assistance only in Lebanese Pounds."

But the same agencies reversed course after meetings on Friday with Lebanon's caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati and social affairs minister Hector Hajjar, Reuters reported.

Hajjar had told a press conference his ministry had not been properly informed of the decision to provide aid in dollars, which he said would increase tensions between refugees and Lebanese. A government source said Mikati, too, had not been aware of the "dollarization" of aid.

The UN's reversal comes amid heightened social tensions in Lebanon over the issue of refugees. Officials have said the country can no longer bear to host Syrians as it struggles to cope with its own financial crisis.

The Lebanese army has carried out raids on camps and homes where refugees live. A humanitarian source told Reuters that more than 2,000 have been arrested and more than 1,400 deported to Syria.

Security sources say the army is seeking out Syrians with invalid papers, but relatives of deported Syrians say they face arrest and army conscription once back in their homeland.


Algeria Heads towards Italy to Conclude 'Arm Deals'

 Meeting between the Italian military delegation and Algerian defense officials (Algerian Ministry of Defense)
 Meeting between the Italian military delegation and Algerian defense officials (Algerian Ministry of Defense)
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Algeria Heads towards Italy to Conclude 'Arm Deals'

 Meeting between the Italian military delegation and Algerian defense officials (Algerian Ministry of Defense)
 Meeting between the Italian military delegation and Algerian defense officials (Algerian Ministry of Defense)

In light of its increasing military spending, Algeria is considering diversifying its partners in the field of defense and arms purchases.

 

In this context, the Director of Armaments at the Italian Ministry of Defense, General Luciano Portolano, is currently on an official visit to Algiers, where he held meetings with local military officials and discussed the situation in the region, especially in Libya and Mali.

 

 

 

In a statement, the Algerian Ministry of Defense said that its secretary-general, Major General Mohammed Al-Saleh Benbisha, held talks on Thursday with the Portolano, in the presence of the director of Military Industries and the head of Foreign Relations and Cooperation.

 

 

 

Algiers and Rome maintain continuous consultation in the fight against terrorism and illegal migration.

 

 

 

The two military officials had attended in March 2022 the 12th session of the Algerian-Italian Joint Committee for Cooperation in the Field of Military Industry and Defense, at the National Army Club in the Algerian capital.

 

The Ministry of Defense said at the time that the meeting “constituted an opportunity to exchange views and enhance coordination and joint action between the armies of the two countries.”

 

 

 

Italian Nova Agency (Agenzia Nova) quoted a website specialized in the defense industries sector, as saying that Algeria had asked Rome for a new amphibious transport unit, within the framework of a potential cooperation agreement between the two countries.

 

 

 

In the context of doubling Italy’s import of Algerian gas, following the interruption of Russian gas since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, several agreements were signed during a visit by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to Algiers in January.

 

The agreements also covered cooperation in micro-enterprises, food and textile industries, infrastructure, public works, pharmaceuticals, the navy, as well as space industries.

 

 

 

In remarks during the visit, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said that the volume of trade exchange increased from $8 billion in 2021, to $16 billion last year.

 

 

 

 


Egypt, EU Cooperate to Rehabilitate 'Migrant Workers'

The Egyptian Minister of Immigration during her meeting with the Ambassador of the European Union to Cairo (Egyptian Cabinet)
The Egyptian Minister of Immigration during her meeting with the Ambassador of the European Union to Cairo (Egyptian Cabinet)
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Egypt, EU Cooperate to Rehabilitate 'Migrant Workers'

The Egyptian Minister of Immigration during her meeting with the Ambassador of the European Union to Cairo (Egyptian Cabinet)
The Egyptian Minister of Immigration during her meeting with the Ambassador of the European Union to Cairo (Egyptian Cabinet)

Egypt is taking steps to establish a training center in cooperation with the European Union, to sponsor and support the movement of skilled labor and citizens between the two sides.

Egypt Minister of Immigration and Expatriates Soha Gendi said the center would provide all the training needed without any restrictions, bureaucratic complications, and visa problems.

Gendi received the European Union ambassador to Cairo, Christian Berger, within the framework of exchanging experiences in immigration and development.

She indicated that the authorities would establish a headquarters for the center and a website that regulates the transfer of workers.

During the meeting, Gendi lauded the close ties between Egypt and the EU at different levels, reviewing the ministry's efforts in fighting illegal immigration, reintegrating Egyptian workers from abroad, and finding alternative job opportunities.

She referred to the returnees from abroad following the economic crises resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the impact of foreign markets, and the settlement of employment in some countries, reviewing efforts to integrate returnees from Europe into society.

The Minister referred to Egyptian-European talks on providing more opportunities, overcoming various obstacles, and devising a clear map to offer employment opportunities for young people.

They also addressed the youth employment center, which represents a point of communication between the EU and the Egyptian state to facilitate transferring skilled workers and expertise in various fields.

The center follows Egypt's successful cooperation with Germany in the Egyptian-German Center for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (EGC), established in collaboration with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

Regarding the presidential initiative "Life Saving Boats," the Minister explained that work is underway in governorates on illegal immigration routes to find opportunities and appropriate alternatives.

Gendi explained that the ministry's strategy is carried out with funding and an integrated development plan for the 14 governorates identified by the presidential initiative to ensure the elimination of illegal immigration.

The EU ambassador stressed the importance of cooperation with Egypt in migration, noting the necessity of positive implementation of the migration program through a package of up to 60 million euros.

Burger highlighted the need of having youth training centers while providing reliable information about the requirements for jobs and vocational training in the European labor market.

He also discussed supporting Egyptian returnees abroad, focusing on forcible returnees through psychological and social support or by facilitating programs to help in their small projects that generate income.

The Ambassador reviewed several activities carried out by the EU in Egypt, including coordination for a round table in July, noting that all issues relating to illegal migration should be addressed in the upcoming workshop.