Palestinian issues, student exams top local news
CAIRO: President Hosni Mubarak’s summit with King Abdullah II of Jordan in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh dominated headlines; the leaders discussed the Arab situation including escalating conflicts between Palestinian factions and the Israeli raids on Gaza.
After a two-hour meeting, reports Xinhua news agency, Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit told the press that the summit dealt with boosting the potentials of the Palestinian people, delivering aid to them, the Palestinian-Israeli relationship, its settlement and the roles of Egypt and Jordan in the advancement of this relationship.
The summit was very positive and fell within the context of a series of constant Egyptian-Jordanian meetings on joint and full cooperation towards the Arab situation in general and the situation in the Palestinian lands in particular, Abul-Geit told reporters.
According to Al Ahram, the two leaders condemned the Israeli attacks against Gaza, saying that the raids must stop immediately, encouraging Israel to return to negotiations in order to calm tensions. Concerning the relationship between Jordan and Syria, Abul-Gheit told the press that “there are no serious conflicts between the two countries, adding that the leaders’ talks focused solely on the Palestinian issue.
The leaders also demanded that Palestinian aid should be eased, supporting the European Union Quartet agreement that was recently reached in Brussels concerning the Palestinian crisis.
The United States cutoff their aid to the Palestinian authority after the militant Palestinian resistance group Hamas won parliamentary elections in January. The cutoff was aimed at pressuring Hamas to recognize Israel and to renounce violence. However, the U.S. boycott has only worsened the economic, humanitarian and health situation in Gaza and the West Bank, causing citizens to face challenging conditions and poverty.
Before meeting Abdullah, Mubarak had just wrapped-up a meeting with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. According to the Associated Press, “China is making inroads into Africa with huge investment projects, filling the void left by U.S. and European businesses, as it looks to reap not only financial profits, but political ones as well.
Wen, during his visit to Egypt, signed around 10 agreements in the fields of oil, natural gas, telecommunications and industry with Egypt and has promised that Chinese investment in the country would increase, especially in fields like energy and telecommunications. According to AP, China also agreed to give Egypt a $50 million loan and a $10 million grant to build a center to facilitate investment in Suez.
According to the agency, Chinese officials defended their expanding relations with African countries as mutually beneficial. In response to accusations that China is doing little to support the Arab nations in their conflict with Israel, Wen told the press that they “think that the key solution is to implement the United Nations resolutions and the roadmap peace plan and to encourage both sides to pursue a peaceful settlement on the basis of land for peace.
On their front pages, newspapers also followed-up on news of the thanawiya amma (secondary school) final exams, with news of students committing suicide dominating headlines. Yesterday, a female student took her life after she lost hope of passing the English exam this year. Al-Masry Al-Youm featured a picture of another female student shedding bitter tears over mistakes she discovered she had made in a physics exam. The headline read that the exam’s difficulty level had stirred controversy, especially since student complaints say that more than 30 percent of the questions were directed at exceptional students.
Also in Al-Masry Al-Youm were reports of conflicts between members of parliament and the parliament’s head Fathi Sorour on a draft of the long-debated judiciary law. Sorour refused to include the high committee of the Judges Club in the sessions where the parliament will review, evaluate and evaluate the law. Opposition members of parliament, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, deemed the decision unfair to the judges, underscoring their opinion during the discussions over such a law.