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Archive for Egypt

Newsline: Egyptian embassy tries to prevent auction of 2300-year-old coffin in UK

An ancient Egyptian coffin lid being sold at auction in Cambridgeshire should be withdrawn from sale and repatriated to Egypt, embassy officials in London have said. They are furious at the refusal of Willingham Auctions to withdraw the partial sarcophagus, which dates back thousands of years. It was discovered by auctioneer Stephen Drake during a clearance of a house in Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex, last month. The property was the home of the big game hunter and journalist Captain “Tiger” Sarll, who is thought to have found the coffin lid in Africa and had it shipped back to Britain. He died in 1977, and his widow continued to live there until her death in 2005. The two-metre artifact is an ancient Egyptian Ptolemaic coffin top made for “Hor, son of Wenennefer” and dating back to around 330 years BC, according to an initial assessment by Egyptologists at Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. An Egyptian embassy official told The Independent that sellers or owners of Egyptian antiquities “should have proper provenance and an export licence”. The Ministry of Antiquity in Cairo has instructed them to try to prevent the sale from going ahead, they added. “We tried to encourage the auction house to convince the family that we are keen to repatriate it to its country of origin. We wanted them to give it up voluntarily but unfortunately they refused.” Earlier this week, the Egyptian Embassy, London, reported the proposed sale to Scotland Yard, but it is understood that the police are powerless to act since it is a civil matter, not a criminal one. Auctioneer Stephen Drake was unrepentant: “Legally we are allowed to sell it; the vendor wants us to sell it for them, we are acting on their behalf.” He added: “While being sympathetic to the Egyptian embassy, it’s not our decision to put it into sale. The Egyptian government are welcome to bid for it.” But the Egyptian Embassy official ruled out such a move, as that would simply be “encouraging more people to loot items and put them on sale”.


Newsline: Saudi Arabia opens largest embassy in Egypt

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal inaugurated his country’s largest embassy in the Egyptian capital Cairo. The well-equipped building is built on a 45,000 sq.m. in the heart of Al-Giza province. For his part, Prince Saud Al-Faisal expressed thanks to the Egyptian government officials for the facilities they extended to the concerned bodies to fulfill their obligations to make this building a reality on time.


Newsline: Egypt summons Turkish envoy over Gaza criticism

Egypt on Sunday summoned Turkey’s charge d’affaires over criticism of Cairo’s handling of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry summoned the Turkish charge d’affaires to lodge Egypt’s rejection and resentment over Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comment, slamming Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as an illegitimate tyrant. Erdogan also said that Egypt could not be relied upon to negotiate a ceasefire with Israel. Turkey and Egypt withdrew their ambassadors last year after the military ousted Egyptian Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. Turkey’s government has had a strained relationship with Egypt since the ouster of Morsi. The spat between Ankara and Cairo came to a head in November when Egypt’s military rulers expelled Turkey’s ambassador over Erdogan’s support for Morsi, prompting a tit-for-tat response from the Turkish government.


Newsline: Explosion hits near Israeli, Saudi Arabian embassies in Egypt

A small bomb has exploded near the embassies of Israel and Saudi Arabia in the Egyptian capital causing no casualties. The explosion took place near the two embassies in Cairo. According to security officials, no one was hurt by the explosion which only caused material damage. The blast is said to have targeted a police car nearby rather than the Saudi and Israeli embassies. Egypt has been experiencing unrelenting violence since President Mohamed Morsi was ousted on July 3. Hundreds have lost their lives in the ensuing violence across the country.


Newsline: Egypt embassy protests planned to win journalists’ freedom

Broadcaster Al Jazeera called for vigils outside Egyptian embassies across the world on Thursday to press Egypt to free four of its journalists, three of whom have been charged with aiding a “terrorist organization”. The three from al Jazeera’s English-language television service – Peter Greste, an Australian; Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian-Egyptian national; and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian – were detained in Cairo on December 29. Al Jazeera Arabic’s Abdullah Elshamy has been detained without charge since 14 August 2013, and has been on hunger strike in protest since 23 January, the network said. Al Jazeera has called the accusations absurd. The charge of aiding a “terrorist organization” is an apparent reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been protesting against the government since the army toppled Islamist president Mohammed Mursi on July 3 following mass protests. The government has declared the Brotherhood a “terrorist group”. The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful organization. Egyptian officials have said the case of the three is not linked to freedom of expression and that the journalists raised suspicions by operating without official permission. “We are calling on all journalists and supporters of freedom to stage vigils in front of Egyptian embassies all over the world,” Ghassan Abu Hussein, international relations manager at Al Jazeera, told a news conference in Doha. The Qatar-funded network says the demonstrations will be part of a media campaign that will also see online petitions and other activities in 30 cities across the world that will be covered on all of the channel’s services. “Al Jazeera hopes through the attention of the world’s media and partners, pressure can be brought to bear on the Egyptian authorities,” Al Jazeera said in a statement.


Newsline: US embassy employee detained in Egypt

A US embassy official says Egyptian authorities have held a local employee for nearly three weeks without charges. Moufid Deak, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, says Ahmed Aleiba, an Egyptian citizen who works at the embassy, was arrested on 25 Jan, the anniversary of the uprising that deposed former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. A security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed Aleiba’s arrest. Al-Watan newspaper published an article in July mentioning Aleiba as an employee who arranged meetings between visiting American government officials and Muslim Brotherhood deputy head Khairat el-Shater.


Newsline: Egyptian embassy in Algeria secures release of Egyptian sailor

The Egyptian embassy in Algeria has managed to secure the release of an Egyptian sailor who was on board a foreign ship held at the Algerian port of “Djen Djen” since July 2013. The Swedish ship “IOS” has been held in the Algerian port since July with six Egyptian sailors on board due to a dispute over the vessel’s ownership. The Egyptian sailors rejected leaving the ship except after receiving their financial dues. In statements to the Middle East News Agency (MENA), Egypt’s Ambassador in Algiers Ezzeddin Fahmy said a role was played by the Algerian authorities for deporting the Egyptian sailor, although no final solution has been reached so far.