Egypt main pillar for security in MENA: French defence minister tells Sisi
Published 2016-09-26 08:41:54| Amwal Al Ghad English
France appreciates Egypt’s pivotal role as a main pillar for security and stability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi at a Cairo meeting Sunday. Egyptian presidency spokesman Alaa Youssef said the meeting, also attended by Egypt’s defence minister Sedki Sobhi, witnessed a discussion on the latest developments in the region including the Syrian and Libyan civil conflicts. The Egyptian president stressed on importance of joint international efforts to reach political solutions for these crises. Sisi also praised the strategic partnership between Egypt and France, especially in the military field, and agreed with the French defence minister that the two countries should intensify ongoing efforts to combat terrorism. Le Drian stressed that Egypt was one of France’s most important partners among the Middle East and Mediterranean countries. Earlier this month, Egypt raised its flag atop a Mistral-class warship that Cairo bought from France in 2015. The ship is the second of its kind sold by France to Egypt, with the first – named after late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel-Nasser – delivered in June to Alexandria from the French city of Toulouse. The contract for the two Mistral aircraft carriers, which was finalised in September last year, was valued at 950 million euros, according to AFP. The deal is part of several defence contracts Egypt has signed with France, with the European country now topping the list of countries that have signed military supply agreements with Egypt during the term of President Sisi.
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China switched on the world's largest radio telescope Sunday, officially launching its mission to hunt for extraterrestrial life and explore space. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) was launched in a mountainous region of China's Guizhou province, according to state media outlet Xinhua, 17 years after the project was first proposed by Chinese astronomers and more than five years after work began on the $180 million structure. According to a Xinhua report in August, 8,000 people were moved from their homes to make room for FAST, which is the size of 30 football pitches and made up of 4,450 panels. The displaced villagers were due to be compensated with cash or new housing and offered jobs in tourism or support services around the FAST project, as part of a $269 million relocation budget set aside by the government. Xinhua described FAST as a "super-sensitive 'ear' capable of spotting very weak messages - if there are any - from space." The media outlet said that in a recent trial, FAST had detected high-quality electromagenitc waves sent from a pulsar about 1,351 light-years from Earth.
OPEC members and Russia have substantial issues to work out before reaching a deal to limit oil production, but still expect to make progress toward a comprehensive deal, energy ministers said. Algeria’s oil minister, Nourredine Bouterfa, said there was still a chance a deal could be sealed this week when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on the sidelines of a conference here. But Bouterfa, one of the biggest advocates of new limits on OPEC production, acknowledged that the meeting may produce only “the elements of an agreement.” “We can’t come out empty-handed,” Bouterfa said, warning that oil prices could drop from $45 a barrel today back into the $30s if OPEC fails to come to terms this week. Bouterfa’s comments Sunday signaled that even if OPEC fails to reach a deal this week, the 14-nation cartel will continue talking about curbing production this fall as it heads into its next official meeting in Vienna on Nov. 30. OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said a week ago that the meeting was for consultations only, not for a decision. He later clarified that the cartel could reach a deal later if a consensus emerged. Delegates in the cartel have said the Algiers meeting is aimed at starting discussions they hope will lead to an agreement at the formal OPEC meeting in Vienna.
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