Turkish Forces Nearly Ready for a Syria Ground Operation, Say Officials

Türkiye-backed Syrian fighters man positions on the outskirts of the town of Kuljibrin, in the country's northern Aleppo governorate, facing positions of the Kurdish-controlled area of Tal Rifaat, on November 25, 2022.(AFP)
Türkiye-backed Syrian fighters man positions on the outskirts of the town of Kuljibrin, in the country's northern Aleppo governorate, facing positions of the Kurdish-controlled area of Tal Rifaat, on November 25, 2022.(AFP)
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Turkish Forces Nearly Ready for a Syria Ground Operation, Say Officials

Türkiye-backed Syrian fighters man positions on the outskirts of the town of Kuljibrin, in the country's northern Aleppo governorate, facing positions of the Kurdish-controlled area of Tal Rifaat, on November 25, 2022.(AFP)
Türkiye-backed Syrian fighters man positions on the outskirts of the town of Kuljibrin, in the country's northern Aleppo governorate, facing positions of the Kurdish-controlled area of Tal Rifaat, on November 25, 2022.(AFP)

Türkiye’s army needs just a few days to be ready for a ground incursion into northern Syria and such a decision may come at a cabinet meeting on Monday, Turkish officials said, as Turkish forces bombarded a Kurdish group across the border.

Howitzers fired daily from Türkiye have struck Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) targets for a week, while warplanes have carried out airstrikes.

The escalation comes after a deadly bomb attack in Istanbul two weeks ago that Ankara blamed on the YPG. The YPG has denied involvement in the bombing and has responded at times to the cross-border attacks with mortar shelling.

"The Turkish Armed Forces needs just a few days to become almost fully ready," one senior official said, adding that Türkiye-allied Syrian opposition fighters were ready for such an operation just a few days after the Nov. 13 Istanbul bomb.

"It won't take long for the operation to begin," he said. "It depends only on the president giving the word."

Türkiye has previously launched military incursions in Syria against the YPG, regarding it as a wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Türkiye, the United States and European Union designate a terrorist group.

The PKK has also denied carrying out the Istanbul attack, in which six people were killed on a busy pedestrian avenue.

President Tayyip Erdogan has Türkiye would launch a land operation when convenient to secure its southern border. He will chair a cabinet meeting at 3:30 pm (1230 GMT).

"All the preparations are complete. It's now a political decision," another Turkish official told Reuters, also requesting anonymity ahead of the meeting.

Erdogan said back in May that Türkiye would soon launch a military operation against the YPG in Syria, but such an operation did not materialize at that time.

Operation ‘inevitable’

The first Turkish official said a ground operation, targeting the areas of Manbij, Kobani and Tel Rifat, was inevitable to link up the areas brought under the control of Türkiye and its Syrian allies with incursions since 2016.

Ankara had been in contact with Moscow and Washington about its military activities, the person added.

The United States has told NATO member Türkiye it has serious concerns that an escalation would affect the goal of fighting ISIS militants in Syria.

Russia asked Türkiye to refrain from a full-scale ground offensive. It has supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's 11-year war, while Ankara has backed opposition factions fighting to topple him.

On Monday, the defense ministry said Türkiye’s army had "neutralized" 14 YPG militants preparing to carry out attacks in Syrian areas under Türkiye’s control. It typically uses the term to describe casualties.

The defense ministry said on Saturday three Turkish soldiers had been killed in northern Iraq, where the military has been conducting an operation against the PKK since April.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, having travelled to the Iraqi border area, was quoted as telling military commanders on Sunday that Türkiye will "complete the tasks" of the mission.



Mauritanian President Urges ‘Joint Arab Action’ Against Terrorism

The Mauritanian President in front of the permanent delegates to the Arab League. (Mauritanian Presidency) 
The Mauritanian President in front of the permanent delegates to the Arab League. (Mauritanian Presidency) 
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Mauritanian President Urges ‘Joint Arab Action’ Against Terrorism

The Mauritanian President in front of the permanent delegates to the Arab League. (Mauritanian Presidency) 
The Mauritanian President in front of the permanent delegates to the Arab League. (Mauritanian Presidency) 

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani said Monday before the Arab League in Cairo that the development of the joint Arab action is essential to restore security and stability in the Arab region and defeat terrorism and extremism.

Ghazouani was on a visit to Egypt where he held discussions with his Egyptian counterpart President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

"If we want to restore security and stability in the Arab arena, defeat terrorism and extremism, and lay the foundations for sustainable and comprehensive development, then the Arab League and the development of joint Arab work are essential," the President stressed.

The first step on this path is to end the conflicts in the Arab world, said Ghazouani, adding that his country backs all international and Arab efforts aiming at resolving the current conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Sudan, and Libya, in a way that guarantees these countries’ territories integrity and unity and their people’s right in stability, security, and development.

He noted that the security, environmental, and economic crises affect the Arab countries’ social and economic fabric.

The Mauritanian President showcased his country’s strategy in fighting terrorism and the joint action among the Sahel countries in combating extremism and uprooting poverty.

Commenting on the President’s call to reinforce joint Arab action, Abdel Samad Mubarak, President of the Atlas Center for Development and Strategic Research and Professor at Nouakchott Modern University, said that these calls are essential at a time when there is a deterioration in the joint Arab action.

Mubarak told Asharq Al-Awsat that the President’s speech before the AL came from the Mauritanian tripartite approach to tackle the security and developmental issues.

He added that his speech indicates that he has decided to use his power and Mauritania’s diplomatic and political status for the sake of a joint Arab framework.


Egypt to Transfer Its Health Expertise to Africa

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at Africa Health ExCon (Egyptian Presidency)
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at Africa Health ExCon (Egyptian Presidency)
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Egypt to Transfer Its Health Expertise to Africa

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at Africa Health ExCon (Egyptian Presidency)
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at Africa Health ExCon (Egyptian Presidency)

Egypt affirmed its keenness to transfer its health expertise to African countries. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said Egypt would be declared within the coming few days or weeks free from Hepatitis C following the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Speaking at the second edition of Africa Health ExCon in Cairo under the theme "Your Gate to Innovation and Trade," Sisi highlighted the importance of Egyptian initiatives in preserving the health of citizens.

He indicated that Egypt has tried to address the large population growth of 105 million people and the lack of hospitals by launching health initiatives.

Africa Health ExCon, the largest annual Medical Exhibition and conference in Africa, was established as the continental hub of health innovation and trade in Africa and the Middle East.

It is Africa and Egypt's gateway towards innovation and trade, as an annual meeting between global and African medical companies.

Sisi stressed that health initiatives try to solve complex challenges to improve people's lives from a health perspective.

The President noted that the "Ending waiting lists" initiative was presented four years ago, with about 12,000 cases, but the number now increased to 1.9 million patients, appreciating the civil society organizations and bodies for their donations.

Addressing the conference, Head of the Egyptian Authority for Unified Procurement, Medical Supply and Technology Management (AUPP) Bahaaeddine Zeidan said the second Africa Health ExCon conference is a gathering for all medical experts to exchange expertise, clinching deals, and getting briefed on the latest developments.

During the opening session, the conference included a documentary depicting the challenges facing the African continent in the healthcare sector due to imbalances in supply chains and high costs.

Director of Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Jean Kaseya voiced confidence in his authority's potential in the medical field and Egypt's prominent role in bolstering ties with Africa.

Addressing the conference, Kaseya said the coronavirus pandemic claimed lives, and African nations effectively confronted the virus.

He noted that African conferences are essential to developing the medical and technological sector, especially in vaccine production.

Health Minister Khaled Abdul-Ghafar asserted that Egyptian authorities established advanced hospitals and health centers in all governorates to achieve social justice.

Abdul-Ghafar noted that 965 health projects cost about EGP91 billion, explaining that the new medical facilities cost the state about EGP37 billion to establish 53 new hospitals in various governorates.

The minister explained that they were short- and long-term paths followed within Egypt's health sector development, including the 14 presidential initiatives valued at EGP32 billion, which served 92 million citizens.


Egypt's Sisi Begins African Tour Targeting Political, Economic Cooperation

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrives in Luanda, Angola. (Egyptian Presidency)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrives in Luanda, Angola. (Egyptian Presidency)
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Egypt's Sisi Begins African Tour Targeting Political, Economic Cooperation

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrives in Luanda, Angola. (Egyptian Presidency)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrives in Luanda, Angola. (Egyptian Presidency)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi kicked off on Tuesday an African tour that includes Angola, Zambia, and Mozambique.  

Sisi will participate in the 22nd summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), during which the rotating chairmanship will be handed over from Egypt to Zambia.  

Presidential spokesman Ahmed Fahmy said Sisi's tour comes within Egypt's keenness to intensify communication and coordination with African nations.  

Fahmy indicated that the visits aim to boost Egyptian relations with the countries in various fields, especially by strengthening cooperation at economic, trade, and investment levels. The tour addresses the advanced priority accorded to African issues in Egyptian foreign policy.  

Observers told Asharq Al-Awsat that the tour is geopolitically important to Cairo and opens a new horizon for Egyptian diplomacy in southern Africa.  

They added that it focuses on boosting bilateral cooperation, dealing with the continent's concerns, and discussing regional developments.  

Egypt has intensified its diplomatic activity in Africa in the last ten years.  

According to an official report by the Egyptian State Information Service, African countries accounted for more than 30 percent of all presidential visits in recent years.  

During the past year, Sisi participated in several summits concerned with Africa, including the US-Africa Leaders' Summit in Washington and the 6th session of the AU-EU Summit between the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) in Brussels.  

Ambassador Ali al-Hefny described Sisi's current tour as "extremely important," explaining that it targets several countries in southern Africa that were given less priority in Egyptian foreign policy than other regions.  

The former official stressed the importance of presidential visits to African countries, pointing out that they represent Egypt's keenness to communicate with them at the highest levels. 

Zambia and Angola boast promising opportunities to work with Egypt at the official level and with the business community, he went on to say.  

In 2019, Egypt chaired the AU, launching several cooperation initiatives, including the "Silencing the Guns" initiative to reduce armed conflicts in Africa.  

It also launched the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development to act as an African platform to discuss various threats and challenges facing the continent.  

Egypt participates in a group of major continental projects, especially in transportation linking the continent's northern and southern ends through the river navigation corridor between Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean Sea.  

Expert in African affairs Rami Zuhdi said Sisi's visit has promising economic potential, especially in mining and oil production.  

Zuhdi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the tour has "geopolitical" importance, which "opens new horizons for Egyptian diplomacy."  

He indicated that revitalizing Egypt's role in COMESA is essential for boosting its presence in the continent.  

Egypt is seeking to consolidate its African presence by adopting a set of cooperation, trade, and cultural exchange programs. 

Last month, it hosted the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group with the participation of central bank governors, finance ministers, and officials representing the 81 member countries.  

Egypt is the third largest economy in Africa in terms of GDP after Nigeria and South Africa.  

Cairo and Ethiopia account for about 63 percent of the total foreign direct investment within the COMESA group in the petroleum, services, and manufacturing sectors. 


Aoun in Damascus for First Time in 14 Years

This handout picture released by the Syrian Presidency shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C-R) meeting with Lebanese former President Michel Aoun (C-L) in Damascus on June 6, 2023. (Syrian Presidency / AFP)
This handout picture released by the Syrian Presidency shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C-R) meeting with Lebanese former President Michel Aoun (C-L) in Damascus on June 6, 2023. (Syrian Presidency / AFP)
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Aoun in Damascus for First Time in 14 Years

This handout picture released by the Syrian Presidency shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C-R) meeting with Lebanese former President Michel Aoun (C-L) in Damascus on June 6, 2023. (Syrian Presidency / AFP)
This handout picture released by the Syrian Presidency shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C-R) meeting with Lebanese former President Michel Aoun (C-L) in Damascus on June 6, 2023. (Syrian Presidency / AFP)

Lebanese former President Michel Aoun paid a visit to the Syrian capital Damascus on Tuesday, his first in 14 years.

He was received by President Bashar al-Assad, who stressed that “Lebanon’s strength lies in its political and economic stability.”

The Lebanese people are capable of achieving this stability through dialogue and consensus, he remarked.

Aoun’s visit is significant in wake of the months-long presidential vacuum in Lebanon.

Head of the Free Patriotic Movement, MP Gebran Bassil, who is also Aoun’s son-in-law, recently endorsed the opposition in naming former minister Jihad Azour as presidential candidate.

The bid pits the opposition and the FPM, which was founded by Aoun, against the Shiite duo of Hezbollah and Amal. The duo is backing the nomination of Marada movement leader Suleiman Franjieh, who enjoys close ties with Assad.

Assad expressed to Aoun his faith in the Lebanese people’s ability to overcome all problems and challenges and consolidate the role of their national and constitutional institutions.

Most importantly, they must adhere to principles and avoid banking on changes, he suggested.

Moreover, Assad said Lebanon and Syria must not approach their challenges separately, hailing the recent rapprochement between Arab countries and noting that the Jeddah Summit will leave a positive impact on both nations.

The Arab League summit last month witnessed the reinstatement of Syria’s membership in the organization.

For his part, Aoun said the Lebanese people are “clinging on to their national unity in spite of everything”.

“Syria managed to overcome a difficult and dangerous phase due to the awareness of its people and faith in their country, army and leadership,” he added.

“Syria’s prosperity will reflect positively on Lebanon and the Lebanese people,” he said.


Clashes Between Sudan’s Warring Factions Intensify 

Smoke billows behind buildings from a reported fire in Khartoum, on June 5, 2023, as fighting continues between two warring generals. (AFP)
Smoke billows behind buildings from a reported fire in Khartoum, on June 5, 2023, as fighting continues between two warring generals. (AFP)
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Clashes Between Sudan’s Warring Factions Intensify 

Smoke billows behind buildings from a reported fire in Khartoum, on June 5, 2023, as fighting continues between two warring generals. (AFP)
Smoke billows behind buildings from a reported fire in Khartoum, on June 5, 2023, as fighting continues between two warring generals. (AFP)

Sudan's warring military factions clashed by air and on the ground in the country's capital on Tuesday, as increased violence and spreading lawlessness added to the misery of residents already struggling with limited food and medicine.

Fighting between the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, now in its eighth week, has killed hundreds of civilians, and driven 400,000 across borders and more than 1.2 million out of the capital and other cities.

Saudi Arabia and the United States had brokered talks that had led to imperfectly-observed ceasefires with the aim of providing humanitarian assistance. But talks collapsed last week and while delegations remain in Jeddah no direct talks have been announced.

The fighting has inflicting heavy damage on the capital where the remaining residents are at the mercy of battles, air strikes and looting.

Artillery and air strikes continued overnight, with residents in southern and eastern Khartoum and northern Bahri reporting hearing sounds of artillery and gun clashes on Tuesday morning.

Overnight, the two forces clashed in the streets of the city of Omdurman, around the army's key Engineers Corps base. The army, which tends to prefer air strikes to ground fighting was able to maintain its positions around the base but could not push back the RSF, which controls most of the rest of the city.

"Our neighborhood has become a war zone. There are fierce clashes and strikes all around us because our house is next to the Engineers' Corps," said 45-year-old Jawahir Mohamed.

"We are scared of dying but we are also scared of leaving our house and being burgled," she added.

Looters, some of whom Khartoum residents and neighborhood committees say belong to the RSF, have pillaged neighborhoods across the capital, stealing cars, breaking open safes, and occupying homes.

Aid groups have struggled to provide extensive assistance to Khartoum residents, who face electricity and water shortages, as well as dwindling supplies in shops and pharmacies.

Neighborhood-based resistance committees have organized such assistance, but have struggled as fighting has intensified.

"We could not distribute medicines because of the air and artillery bombardment," said one activist who asked not to be named.

Fighting has expanded beyond Khartoum to the Darfur region to the West. Also hit by fighting is the city of El Obeid, a key route between Khartoum and Darfur.


Syrian Newspaper: Quadripartite Meeting to be Held at Deputy FMs Level

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (2-left) speaks with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, at the quadripartite meeting, May 10. (EPA) 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (2-left) speaks with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, at the quadripartite meeting, May 10. (EPA) 
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Syrian Newspaper: Quadripartite Meeting to be Held at Deputy FMs Level

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (2-left) speaks with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, at the quadripartite meeting, May 10. (EPA) 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (2-left) speaks with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, at the quadripartite meeting, May 10. (EPA) 

The quadripartite meeting would be held this month at the level of deputy foreign ministers of Syria, Russia, Iran, and Türkiye, according to media sources in Damascus.

Syria’s Al-Watan newspaper quoted informed sources in Moscow as saying that the quadripartite meeting on Syria will be held on the sidelines of the Astana Peace Talks scheduled on June 20-21.

Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Ayman Susan would represent Syria’s delegation in the meeting.

A meeting between the foreign ministers of Türkiye, Russia, Iran, and Syria was held on May 10 in Moscow, as part of “building dialogue” between Türkiye and the regime of President Bashar Assad.

The FMs agreed on preparing a roadmap to develop Turkish-Syrian ties.

While Syria considered it early to speak about appointing a Syrian committee to follow up on the roadmap, the Turkish side expressed optimism regarding normalizing ties with Syria.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad revealed in previous statements that during the recent meeting, there were “thorough discussions and sometimes intense” in which the Syrian delegation demanded omitting all that is related to normalization.

The Syrian FM stressed that normalizing ties can only come in tandem with the Turkish forces’ withdrawal from Syria.

Mekdad added that Syria is willing to engage in constructive and open dialogue to reach its desired goals, as long as it’s based on mutual respect for the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of the state, and non-interference in its internal affairs.

Damascus hinges any rapprochement with Türkiye on the withdrawal of the Turkish forces from Syrian soil, ceasing support to the armed opposition groups, and abstaining from interfering in Syrian affairs.

But for now, Ankara refuses to withdraw from Syria for several national security-related reasons.


US First Lady Praises Morocco King for Empowering Women, Youth

The US First Lady, Jill Biden, speaking at the Ennakhil Association (US Embassy)
The US First Lady, Jill Biden, speaking at the Ennakhil Association (US Embassy)
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US First Lady Praises Morocco King for Empowering Women, Youth

The US First Lady, Jill Biden, speaking at the Ennakhil Association (US Embassy)
The US First Lady, Jill Biden, speaking at the Ennakhil Association (US Embassy)

The US First Lady, Jill Biden, praised the Moroccan King Mohammed VI for empowering women and youth, adding that under his leadership, Morocco is encouraging reforms to empower women and youth, reflecting shared priorities between their countries.

Biden said the US is grateful for its "longstanding partnership and friendship with Morocco," praising Princess Lalla Hasna for her gracious reception upon her arrival in Marrakech.

The First Lady indicated that Princess Lalla Hasnaa informed her about the efforts to "educate children and young people on the significance of protecting our climate."

"I was inspired by her passion, and I'm excited to take her story back to the United States to look for more opportunities to learn from each other. Because our world is tied together in immeasurable ways, that common ground is where the foundation of our shared future must be laid,” she said.

She expressed her gratitude to King Mohammed VI for the reception, describing Morocco as "one the US oldest friends."

The First Lady was accompanied by her daughter, Ashley Biden, and sister, Bobby Jacobs, on a tour to the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe to promote and improve the living conditions of women and youth worldwide.

It is Biden's second visit to Morocco since November 2014, during which she accompanied then-Vice President Joe Biden during his participation in the fifth session of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which was held in Marrakech.

On Sunday, Jill Biden visited Ennakhil Association, a nonprofit organization in Marrakech that supports women who have been victims of gender-based violations.

Upon her arrival at the headquarters, Biden was greeted by Zakia Mrini, the Founder and Secretary General of Ennakhil Association, the US Ambassador Puneet Talwar, his wife Sarosh Sattar, and the US Consul General in Casablanca, Lawrence Randolph.

Biden toured the various facilities and met with the staff and participants of two programs funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The women who participated in vocational training provided by the Association visited the display, which included cosmetic products, embroidery, and sewing products.

Before taking a souvenir photo, they presented the First Lady with a traditional dress.

Ennakhil Association, founded by Mrini in 1997, is a non-governmental organization that defends women's rights and provides vocational training for vulnerable victims. In 1998, the Association established the first listening center for women victims of gender-based violence outside the Rabat and Casablanca regions.

Since then, the Association has provided counseling to more than 19,000 women and more than 2,000 child victims of violence.

Ennakhil Association supported nearly 2,000 gender-based violence cases in the courts in cooperation with other organizations, including the competent authorities, the judiciary, health care providers, and the media.

In September 2016, USAID-Morocco allocated $500,000 to Ennakhil, which helped the Association expand its work as an intermediate support organization, mentoring other civil society organizations and working effectively with the government on behalf of citizens.

Through this program, the Ennakhil Association trained 30 partner civil society organizations.

In July 2020, USAID-Morocco granted the Ennakhil Association more than $320,000 in additional funding to combat "COVID-19" to address the rise in cases of gender-based violence in the Marrakech-Safi region.

With the funding, the Association established a solidarity restaurant and a training center for women victims of gender-based violence. It has also developed an online platform to support these victims and their families.

 


Israeli Soldiers to Join Moroccan War Games for First Time 

Israeli soldiers are deployed near the Gaza border. (Reuters)
Israeli soldiers are deployed near the Gaza border. (Reuters)
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Israeli Soldiers to Join Moroccan War Games for First Time 

Israeli soldiers are deployed near the Gaza border. (Reuters)
Israeli soldiers are deployed near the Gaza border. (Reuters)

Israeli soldiers will for the first time take part in military exercises in Morocco when the biggest war games event in Africa kicks off Tuesday, the Israeli army said.

"This is the first time that the IDF is taking an active part in the 'African Lion' international exercise," said a statement from the Israeli army late Monday.

"A delegation of 12 soldiers and commanders from the Golani Reconnaissance Battalion" -- an elite infantry unit -- has been sent to participate alongside some 8,000 soldiers from 18 countries.

The event -- now in its 19th edition -- is organized by Morocco and the United States.

"During the next two weeks, the soldiers will focus on training in various combat challenges that combine urban warfare and underground warfare, in which they will conclude in a common exercise for all participating armies," read the Israeli statement.

Israel participated in the event last year, however only as international military observers, without soldiers taking part on the ground.

According to the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces (FAR), the war games include exercises in operational planning and fighting weapons of mass destruction, tactical land, sea, air and special forces training, as well as airborne operations.

Morocco and Israel have been working to boost cooperation in the military, security, trade and tourism fields since they normalized ties in December 2020.


AL: Development Summit to Take Place in Mauritania Next November

Arab League Secretary-General during his meeting with the Mauritanian president in Cairo. (Arab League)
Arab League Secretary-General during his meeting with the Mauritanian president in Cairo. (Arab League)
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AL: Development Summit to Take Place in Mauritania Next November

Arab League Secretary-General during his meeting with the Mauritanian president in Cairo. (Arab League)
Arab League Secretary-General during his meeting with the Mauritanian president in Cairo. (Arab League)

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit has said that the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit will be held in Mauritania next November.

Aboul Gheit discussed on Monday with Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani at AL’s headquarters the ongoing preparations for the Summit, in addition to developments in the region and the world.

In his welcoming speech before the League’s permanent representatives, Aboul Gheit said that the meeting with Ghazouani tackled AL’s responsibilities.

The Mauritanian President made a thorough explanation of the current preparations for the Mauritanian elections, according to the spokesman for the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Jamal Rushdi.

The AL Secretary-General congratulated Mauritania for kicking off natural gas production in the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim field at the end of this year, stressing the significance of laying the necessary legislation that would help the country’s social and economic development.

The President met with the League’s permanent representatives, and affirmed that his country backs international and Arab efforts to resolve the armed conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Libya, and Sudan, according to Rushdi.

Ghazouani highlighted in his speech, a copy of which was obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, that developing joint Arab action is inevitable for the sake of restoring security and stability in all Arab states.

The first step toward achieving stability in the region, defeating terrorism and extremism, and establishing sustainable and comprehensive development is to end conflicts in Arab countries and back all states seeking to bring the conflicts in Yemen, Syria, and Libya to an end, he added.

The Mauritanian President further noted that his country supports the Palestinians’ rights.

He looked forward to hosting the fifth Arab Economic and Social Development Summit on November 6-7 to be “a unique stop to revive the joint Arab economic action.”

Ghazouani stressed that resolving inter-Arab conflicts contributes to the Arabs’ collective ability to survive the security, economic, and environmental crises facing the world.

Mohamed Orfy, Egypt's Permanent Representative to the Arab League, expressed his country’s confidence that the upcoming summit in Mauritanian would be a success.

He further lauded Mauritania’s keenness in promoting joint Arab development work in all vital fields in order to reinforce Arab citizens’ social and economic rights.


Egypt’s Sisi Discusses Border Shooting with Netanyahu, Emphasizes Investigation Cooperation 

Israeli soldiers are pictured at the gate of the Mount Harif military base near the city of Mitzpe Ramon in Israel's southern Negev desert, adjacent to the border with Egypt, on June 3, 2023. (AFP)
Israeli soldiers are pictured at the gate of the Mount Harif military base near the city of Mitzpe Ramon in Israel's southern Negev desert, adjacent to the border with Egypt, on June 3, 2023. (AFP)
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Egypt’s Sisi Discusses Border Shooting with Netanyahu, Emphasizes Investigation Cooperation 

Israeli soldiers are pictured at the gate of the Mount Harif military base near the city of Mitzpe Ramon in Israel's southern Negev desert, adjacent to the border with Egypt, on June 3, 2023. (AFP)
Israeli soldiers are pictured at the gate of the Mount Harif military base near the city of Mitzpe Ramon in Israel's southern Negev desert, adjacent to the border with Egypt, on June 3, 2023. (AFP)

Egypt's President Abdelfattah al-Sisi received a telephone call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss latest border shooting in which three Israeli soldiers were killed, Egypt's presidency said in a statement on Tuesday.

Sisi and Netanyahu emphasized the importance of coordination on investigating the incident, according to the statement.

Egypt says it is working with Israel to investigate the incident which occurred on Saturday.

"We will refresh procedures and methods of operations and also the measures to reduce to a minimum the smuggling and to ensure tragic terrorist attacks like this do not happen again," Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday.

The frontier is usually peaceful, as the neighbors share security cooperation, though there are frequent reports of drug smuggling, including one that took place prior to the deadly violence.

On Saturday, the Egyptian military said the three Israelis and Egyptian guard had been killed in an exchange of fire as the guard chased smugglers across the frontier.

Two Egyptian sources said on Sunday that a team was examining the scene and the guard's body to determine how events transpired. Coworkers and family members of the Egyptian guard have been interviewed to figure out if he belonged to any political groups or suffered from mental illness, they said.

Egypt in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel and they share a more than 200-km (124-mile) long border.