ISRAEL DEMANDS INTERNATIONAL FORCES TO LIQUIDATE PALESTINIAN ORGANIZATIONS

American Secretary of State Colin Powell asked Arafat to liquidate the infrastructure of Hamas and Jihad movements as well as all other Palestinian organizations.

He offered that the USA would provide special forces to take part in the assassination and liquidation of the elements of all such organizations, which he described as terrorist.

In his proposal, Powell indicated that he did not want the Israelis to perform those operations themselves to avoid further tension in the area.

The Americans offered that the American forces would perform their missions secretly but with Palestinian security forces backing.

He said such an operation might take a month in order to purge the Palestinian lands from such organizations.

Arafat, however, asked for a 10- day period of grace to pursue those organizations.

During their recent meeting, killer Sharon had asked for a, perhaps, token American participation for the liquidation of all Palestinian organizations supporting terrorism in order to lend legitimacy to the combating of Palestinian terrorism, he alleged.

He also asked that the USA would made efforts to persuade coalition countries especially Britain and Germany to provide a token contribution on behalf of Israel so as to exterminate the Palestinian organizations in the region.

Some alleged documents about the locations, weaponry and operations of such Palestinian organizations were presented by Sharon to American officials.

The American President, furthermore, asked his intelligence department chief to urgently study the documents and present a report about them in order to consider the possibility of including Syria in the campaigns that would follow striking Iraq.

MMS, Al-Osboa, 10/12/2001

IRAN'S POTENTIAL ROLE IN HITTING IRAQ

Under this heading, Dr. Wahid Abdel-Maguid Chief Editor of the "Arab Strategic Report," writes to say: Recently, there has been much talk that Iraq may be the next target of "war on terrorism" following Afghanistan.

This can be proved through a barrage of statements made by US officials at several levels and even President Bush.

Such statements ranged between threatening and warning.

Thus, the question of hitting Iraq has become only a matter of time, rather than principle.

Now, when will a military attack be launched against Iraq?

The UN Security Council resolution no. 1382, which was adopted early December, comes in this context.

The resolution, which gave a hope of a "comprehensive settlement" to Iraq's issue, tacitly legitimized the US demand for sending UN weapon inspectors back to Iraq, which are now raised by US officials in the form of warning to Baghdad's government.

By adopting the 1382 resolution, the warning has taken an international feature in one form or another, with a time limit until early June, 2002.

Although this time limit appears to be a final deadline for Iraq, nothing confirms that there will be a six-month wait for the military operation to take place.

The 1st of June could be a maximum date for the attack.

It is difficult to rule out the likelihood of launching it ahead of this date, if relevant preparations are finalized and necessary excuses are provided.

The US public opinion seems to become now ready to accept casualties among its forces, inasmuch as the aim is to eradicate terrorism and preclude the recurrence of the September 11 events.

In such a military operation, involving a ground war this time, it is impossible to guarantee that losses will be limited, especially if talk on the capability and preparedness of Iraq's Republican Guard is true.

Here comes Iran's expected role, which, according to available indications, has been in place following the settlement of the protracted dispute within the Iranian authority in favor of the trend which sees that opposition to US intervention has not become possible any longer and can only lead to giving Washington a free rein to set Iraq's future and individually identify the substitute regime, which, in this case, will be fully under its (Washington) control.

In line with the already endorsed attitude, it is better for Iran to play a role in supporting the military operation so that Tehran may have a say in determining the Iraqi future.

Iran can play this role through supporting Iraq's Shiite opposition forces, who will march towards Baghdad from the southern part, attending the advance of Kurdish opposition forces towards the capital from the northern part.

This scenario is extracted from that of the war on Afghanistan so the ground march, involving limited US forces, will be preceded by intensive air and missile strikes so as to destroy Iraqi forces, vital facilities, command headquarters and communication systems.

Iraq's air defense systems are expected to be paralyzed in one or two months' time, giving opposition forces a green line to start marching under the US air protection.

Iran's important role springs from the fact that the main ground military role in this war will be performed by the Shiite opposition forces, who will march from the southern part, since the Kurdish forces, who will move from north, will be fewer in number and less armed and consistent, unless Turkey agrees to support them and play a role similar to that of Iran in one form or another.

It is known that Kurds' affairs are sensitive to Turkey.

But, Ankara may estimate that supporting Kurdish organizations in this war will help Iraq remain unified as Turkey is very concerned over the partitioning of Iraq, for this will lead to a Kurdish state in the north, thus refreshing Turkish Kurds' dreams about separation.

However, it is probable that Iran will play a main regional role in this military operation, especially under the current indications, which show underway coordination between it and the US through British officials, and increasing contacts between it and Iraqi opposition factions, mainly including the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution and Dawa (Call) Party.

Meanwhile, Iran is still opposing in its official rhetoric to hitting Iraq and making relevant statements for reassuring Baghdad until the date of the military operation, whether in or before next summer, comes.

After all, will Arabs stand idle?

Or will they take moves to thwart this operation?

Will Iraqi leaders review their policies with some Arab countries to close the dossier named "the situation between Iraq and Kuwait" to provide a congenial atmosphere for buttressing moves influencing US policies.

MT / Al-Ittihad, 11/12/2001

THE QUANDARY OF ARAB MODERATES BEFORE THE AMERICAN PEACE LIE

Under this headline, Saudi writer Khalid Al-Dekheil wrote an article, some excerpts of which run to the following effect: Last week's events in the region have confirmed what was suspected for years, i.e. that the peace process was just a manoeuvre, or just a ridiculous lie imposed by the Americans on the region to serve their own purposes in the first place.

Therefore and in the same context, the events confirmed the urgent necessity of putting an end to the American supervision of the process and to return it to its natural framework, i.e. the United Nations.

The events, nevertheless, highlighted another thing that might be even worse than the American lie itself i.e. the unlimited eagerness of Arab moderates to politically cover up for such an American peace lie and it is here that the real quandary in the region emerges together with that quandary of the Arab moderates.

Let's start with the lie!

I don't think I would be adding anything new if I described the peace process as the big lie. Why is it a lie? Firstly, because it is an American innovation and under American supervision, and hence the first signs of its deceptive character.

The American mediator has imposed himself as mediator not through the force of logic, credibility or persuasion but through the force of money and arms and consequently through the weight of interests he represents and sponsors.

Secondly, the peace process is a mere lie because it lacks any binding legal referentiality.

It had been arbitrarily kept away from the UN on a mere request from Israel.

Its only referentiality therefore is political: the balance of power and the balance of interests.

In other words, the peace process referentiality is how it fits in with the policies and objectives of both Israel and the USA. Anything else would, consequently, be of no importance.

Thirdly, in and for the sake of such a process, a major operation of forging history and distorting reality in the region has been performed.

Occupation has, therefore, become a must justifed by the need to ensure Israel's security.

Resistance of occupation has turned into terrorist operations that threaten stability in the region.

On the other hand, occupation, land sequestration, house demolition, daily murdering of innocent civilians and the displacement policy for the sake of constructing further settlements cannot be described as violent or terrorist operations in the conventional sense of the term.

True, they might be regrettable and alarming but they had been imposed due to force majeure - security conditions and Palestinian terrorism conditions!

The most important sign that brands the peace process as a mere lie is the approved concept or (presumably) raison d'etre of the process i.e. the setting up of a Palestinian state!

The first thing that might be noticed about such negotiations is that they lack a clear-cut goal and a fixed schedule.

It is a sort of open-ended talks, which might have no end just as Israel wants it to be. This would be utterly insupportable to the Palestinians who have lived under the yoke of occupation for long decades.

All this, however, has become of no point, even the negotiations themselves have also become unimportant while the only important thing remained just returning to the negotiation table.

It is not important either that such talks yield any results or agreements.

What is important is to reach temporary agreements that maintain stability, and arrangements and recommendations to create the appropriate framework for sitting at the negotiation table.

By the same token, peace is of no importance as the peace process is more important.

This has, in turn, made the peace process void of its political pith and connected it into an open blackmailing operations against Arab parties especially the Palestinians!

Due to the anti-terrorism war, the American President had, for the first time, to support setting up a Palestinian state provided that it is the end product of negotiations.

This implies that any other means of setting up that state would render it illegitimate in the eyes of the Americans and the British.

Such open linkage between the Palestinian state and the negotiations without a schedule is a virtual rejection of it as a natural legitimate right of the Palestinian people that has been long waited for and endorsed by UN resolutions.

This means we are vis-a-vis blatant procrastination and evasion of historic and legal rights, which reconfirms that the peace process is only a manoeuvre or political lie required by the struggle prerequisites, power balances in the region and the interests of international parties.

To be accurate, we have to say that the American policy in the region is based not only on lying but also on camouflage, threatening and implied intimidation.

This used to take place in the recent past.

Now, within the framework of Sharon's war against Palestinian terrorism, the American attitudes have become overt rather than covert.

President Arafat, at this stage, and according to American Administration senior officials including Bush himself, is no more than an official in charge of Israel's security in the occupied lands.

If he declined to do so, Israel would have the right to topple, assassinate him or topple Palestinian National Authority under the pretext of self-defence, hence, Arafat's inevitable request for further time to perform that task.

If that was how the President of the prospective Palestinian state, where then is that peace process much talked about?

The peace process, in that sense, is a codified violence operation as lying is a sort of assault and violence, assault against the truth and reality!

The peace process was kept away from the UN to be sponsored by the USA. If, on the other hand, the Palestinians tried to resist that violence, there they would find the charge of terrorism lying in wait.

Nor should this be surprising to us as terrorism has now turned into an ideology.

Ideologies have always been for justification or misguiding, justification of policies, behaviour and goals.

None is more capable of promoting ideologies than the state as it can impose them if necessary.

This is exactly what the USA has been doing especially after the September 11th incidents.

We may thus jump to the conclusion that the Arab countries lack one of the most prerequisites of statehood - ideology and the ability to promote it. What is even worse is that the Arab countries, especially the moderate ones, politically cover up for the American peace lie consciously or unconsciously.

Take for instance the visit paid by Egyptian foreign minister to Sharon regardless of all that had been committed by the latter and in spite of the fact that he had been branded as murderer and war criminal by Egyptian mass media.

M.S. Al-Hayat, 9/12/2001

ABRAHA ABANDONS HIS ELEPHANT OF PROPHET'S ERA, GOES BACK TO MECCA ON CRUISE MISSILE

Under this heading which refers to Abraha, an Abyssinian governor who tried to invade Mecca and destroy Al-Kaaba in 570 A.D, Soad Balqassemi, a London-based Algerian writer, wrote in Al Quds Al Arabi: Immediately after the 11 September incidents in the United States, differences between the US Administration and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia came to the surface.

It appeared at first that these differences were small and would dissipate like the dust clouds that loomed in the skies of New York and Washington.

However, they soon turned into a ferocious media onslaught against most Arab and Muslim countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, although the Kingdom got the lion's share of the abuse.

It is now clear that the media campaign has several deliberate aims that the new US Administration seeks to achieve, due to its fierce desire to take revenge on Arabs and Muslims.

The American Administration is exploiting the volatile state in which the world now lives as it watches the sole Superpower arrange the world and classify enemies and allies at will.

Since the September incidents, the campaign in American media has escalated to levels that alarmed the Saudi Royal Family, making some of its prominent leaders feel concerned about the Saudi regime itself.

The state of bedlam in the palaces of princes and the councils of government reflects the degree of this fear, which has become so deep that the Crown Prince hurried to hold successive meetings with heads of tribes and big families in the Kingdom, in a bid to win their favour and bring them closer to the Royal Family by explaining the imminent danger.

The Saudi Government fears that the state of disgruntlement that prevails among a large number of Saudis as a result of the Kingdom's past stands, particularly on American presence in the Holy Land, the deteriorating standard of living that has been going downhill at an alarming rate since the Gulf War and the restrictions on freedom of expression and congregation, will be exploited by American and British intelligence services to make dissatisfied Saudis rebel against the Royal Family and bring in a new regime that would be flexible and more receptive of Western democracy.

Such a regime would be more closely tied to the United States and the West, so that it would eliminate the phenomenon of strong religious belonging that the Saudi Royal Family has nurtured, according to the American view, thus insuring that the phenomenon of Usama Bin Laden will not recur, and also allow the American forces to remain in the Gulf forever.

The US Administration in gambling on the younger generation of the Saud Family, who studied in American and British universities and were exposed to Western ideologies so much that they have become intoxicated and enchanted with the freedom afforded by the Western system and the Western lifestyle.

It is also gambling on the opponents of the policy of the Kingdom, and the Royal Family in particular, especially the Secularists and the Shiites.

To achieve this goal, the American media have focused on dissection of the government system in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, describing it as a fascist, uncivilized system because it is built on religion, morals and norms.

They say that the aspects of luxury in which the Gulf people live are proof of backwardness rather than evidence of civilization, as civilization, according to the people who write the articles that slash at the Saudis, cannot live side by side with religion.

Anti-Saudi writers also say that Gulf States, particularly Saudi Arabia, are oppressive and totalitarian countries, as they do not allow sexual freedom and apostate ideological multiplicity, do not believe in freedom of women and, worst of all, countenance Islamic fundamentalism that threatens Western civilization.

The Kingdom realized the seriousness of this media campaign from the very start and sensed that something was being cooked against it, particularly when a large number of Saudi citizens in particular were accused in the New York and Washington bombings and American security services arrested scores of Saudis on charges of "terrorism." Saudi Arabia was also alarmed by the unprecedented restrictions on Saudi applicants for US entry visas and the accusations against several Saudi charities of financing "terrorism" activities.

The Saudi Royal Family saw the campaign as targeting not Saudis as individuals, but the Saudi system as a whole.

Therefore, the Kingdom has tried to establish a balance of sorts between popular demands it has to meet and the religious commitments it has to discharge on the one hand and the strategic interests that its alliance with the United States guarantees on the other.

So, it has succumbed to some of the demands of the US Administration, while meeting with Saudi clergymen to request them to show more restraint and use lighter tones in calling on Allah to send down His Wrath on the Jews during sermons in mosques.

It has called a stop to all religious activities that may antagonize the US Administration, particularly in Mecca, and imposed several restrictions on the activities of Islamic charities and preachers, arresting everybody who refused to comply, in addition to banning demonstrations and all forms of support to the Taliban and Usama Bin Laden.

Perhaps the obvious shortening and editing of Qonout (invocation in the prayers) is enough proof of the impact of the American threats on the Saudi Royal Family.

As the US Administration approaches the end of its military campaign against Afghanistan, and as strong indications are emerging that the next item on the American target list will be Iraq, ruling regimes in Arab and Gulf States, particularly Saudi Arabia, are holding their breath, convinced at heart that by helping the Americans in the past, they have dug their own graves.

From the day that Arab countries allowed the destruction of Iraq and welcomed the American military presence on their territories, they have opened the gates of hell on themselves and have not been able to close them, so they are now faced with the reality that they helped so much in creating, and they have to reap the fruit of the seeds they had sown.

Many people wonder about the secrets behind America's turning against its ally, Saudi Arabia, particularly after a decade of privileged relations that looked so strong that they could not be shaken by a measly media campaign.

They also wonder about the reasons that make American officials now criticize the Saudi system despite the fact that they know it better than others do; the Americans were even the ones who helped establish and reinforce the Saudi ruling regime, as they did with other Arab regimes that continue to exist today for no other reasons than American support and their oppression of their own peoples.

They wonder: has the US Administration suddenly realized that the Saudi system was a theocratic one - a stunning fact that it has not known before?

Some political assessments have mentioned an American attempt at blackmailing the Saudi Royal Family, which apparently refused to foot the bills of the American war against Islam and Muslims as it did before in the Gulf War, particularly as the costs of that war have resulted in a $ 350 billion foreign debt, a staggering amount in light of the Kingdom's population, basic needs and oil resources.

The Saudi refusal, which was followed by another refusal of a request that Saudi Arabia join the suspicious coalition that the US Administration calls the "coalition against terrorism" and coupled with the Kingdom's sponsoring of a donation drive on behalf of the people of Afghanistan and public criticism of the American policy, caused a severe setback to the US Administration, which was counting on large-scale support from the Gulf to cover the stupendous expenses of its military campaign that would cause more losses to the already sagging American economy.

We must take into account that this particular American war depends mainly on money, as the US Administration, which threw itself into a military adventure, depends on Afghan bandits and mercenaries for fighting its dirty war in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al Qaeda Organization and has allocated gigantic amounts for that purpose.

The US Administration is also paying large amounts to Afghanistan tribal heads and warlords, and even to the foot soldiers of the Northern Alliance, to insure their continued loyalty.

Moreover, it has made many promises of financial assistance and funding of major economic projects to several Asian countries that have joined the infamous coalition.

The US Administration also needs stupendous mountains of money to fund its presence in Afghanistan.

All these costs have to be taken into consideration.

This way, we can understand the sudden hostility to the Saudi Royal Family and expect what the US Administration can do to protect its interests and insure the continuous flow of Arab money into its coffers and those of the Zionist entity, which has been taking Arab money by the handful to finance its destructive projects against Islam and Muslims.

This is also how we can understand why Saudi Arabia has suddenly turned from a friendly country into a backward one that sponsors "terrorism" and breeds dangerous "terrorists" whose beliefs rest on the Wahabite ideology, not to mention that it has turned overnight into a financier of terrorist groups, from Al Qaeda Organization to Islamic and nationalist organizations that resist Zionist occupation in Palestine, the Russians in Chechnya and the Indians in Kashmir.

While the US Administration's moves are aimed at protecting American economic interests in the first place, the sudden American actions against Saudi Arabia and other Arab and Muslim countries are also motivated by other considerations that are no less important than the money factor.

The US Administration is dominated by a rightist current that has allied itself with the Zionist lobby, which harbours deep grudges against everything that stands for Islam and Muslims.

This animosity continues to control the way of thinking and behaviour of many American officials, particularly under the new Administration that has surrounded itself with a large number of extremist fundamentalists, who apparently want to settle old scores with the Arab and Muslims Worlds and seek to erase Arab and Islamic presence from the whole Western World.

The US Administration began its campaign by pressuring the Saudi Royal Family into gagging religious scholars, arresting those who opposed its policies, amending textbooks, freezing the bank accounts of Islamic charities, under the pretext that they finance terrorism, and stopping the official Saudi support, finance or moral, to Islamic movements that used to receive aid from the Saudi Royal Family.

Some writers have even gone to the extent of branding Saudi Arabia with racism, citing its refusal to allow non-Muslims to visit the holy places that have been forbidden them by order from Prophet Mohammad.

The US Administration has not stopped at that; it has demanded a full change in the Kingdom, under which the Royal Family, should it wish to continue ruling the country, must sever all ties with what the United States considers as religious extremism and terrorism, in addition to modernization of the Kingdom according to Western system, including school curricula.

However, what is more bizarre is that the US Administration does not even bat an eye when it makes such demands from a country that is supposed to be an independent, sovereign state, for its close relationship with the Saudi Royal Family, particularly since the Gulf War, has given it a sort of self-confidence and an unbearable arrogance that make it believe that it can just order the Saudis around and the only thing that the Saudis can do is say yes to their masters!

While some people in Saudi Arabia are overwhelmed with sadness over what the situation has become there, many others outside the Kingdom feel that what is happening now is only natural, simply because it was expected.

It is now Saudi Arabia's turn, and perhaps the cries of the one and a half million innocent Iraqi children, who died of hunger, illness or shell wounds, are still reverberating in the ears of Saudi officials and others in the Gulf, who turned a blind eye to these hideous massacres and allowed American aircraft to bomb a brotherly people that had committed no crime.

MFA, Al Quds Al Arabi, 6/12/2001

KHATAMI WARNS AGAINST APATHY AT UNIVERSITIES: AVOIDANCE OF POLITICS MAY LEAD TO EXPLOSION!

Iranian President, Mohamed Khatami has warned that the fact that Iranian university students are absent on the political arena will lead to explosion.

During a festival attended by heads of Iranian institutes and universities, he voiced concern regarding the apathy of university students regarding social and political events.

University life, he said, should be characterized with vigour, vivacity and curiosity.

Though such elements seem to disappear, this does not mean that the university students have become void of vigour as it is latent there and will someday "come up in the form of an explosion." Attributing the apathy in university milieus to despair and fear, he called on university students to treat the causes of that phenomenon and not avoid politics as they truly reflect the requirements of the community.

The more vitality university milieus show, the more safety, stability and development the community enjoy.

If the regime was simply rejected by university students this would mean there is something wrong with the community and that things should be put right at those students' request.

Khatami defends self-criticism inside the regime.

"Opposition to ruling regimes is desirable, but it should be practised within the framework of the law", he said.

The Iranian president criticized the political apathy dominating universities in his country after the foundation of a political polarization center for political trends including reformists and conservatives.

The results of the university hostels incidents in 1998 led to the start of a state of apathy in universities amidst conflicting views of the reformists and conservatives regarding the university role.

According to conservatives, some liberals have infiltrated the university milieus to undermine the regime, while the reformists call for allowing university students to practise their role in criticism and opposing current policies.

M.S. Al-Hayat, 11/12/2001

YEMEN CONSIDERS US DEMAND FOR PARTICIPATION OF AMERICAN FORCES IN HUNTING DOWN AL-QAEDA

The USA demanded that Yemen allow the US Marines to take part in the hunting down campaign launched by the Yemeni forces against Al-Qaeda network elements in Yemen, a Western diplomatic source in Sanaa told the Associated Press on 25 December.

Washington proposed, in addition to the participation of the Marines, that a joint working force comprising officials from the CIA and other US agencies be formed in Yemen with a view to coordinating the hunting down operation, according to the source.

Yemeni sources affirmed that Sanaa had received the American demand adding that the Yemeni government is considering it at present.

On the other hand, the Western diplomatic source pointed to a message Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh had received two days earlier from Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, on the bilateral relations.

In his message Powell hailed anti-terrorism efforts in Yemen according to what had been announced at that time in Sanaa.

ZH/ Asharq Al-Awsat, 26/12/2001

US KENYAN-BASED MILITARY ZONE TO BE SET UP

Al-Osboa learnt that the United States started to set up a military zone in Kenya as a prelude to the coming American military operations in the Horn of Africa and Yemen.

Reports pointed out that an American military delegation had spent three weeks in Nairobi, during which they contacted the Kenyan Government with a view to preparing the bases from which the American forces would hit what they called Al-Qaeda Organization in some African countries especially Somalia.

Washington called upon some countries concerned to secretly help it topple the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime so that Iraq could be spared the danger of controversial military strike.

Reports also pointed out that Washington was considering delaying the major military strike against Iraq at present after it had received warnings from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and some other European and foreign countries that cast doubt on the American pieces of evidence against Iraq.

HAH, Al-Osboa, 24/12/2001

2002: REST OF ICEBERG TO APPEAR, PAX AMERICANA TO FRAGMENT REGION

A study by the Developed Strategic Studies Foundation that has appointed itself a spokesperson for the American and Jewish pressure groups affirms that the projects of Arab nation-states have failed and that the only solution lies in redrawing maps and building new nations on a foundation of tribe, clan and family affiliations.

We have to take note of a very important point here: this is exactly what Ariel Sharon is doing in the West Bank and Ghaza Strip at present.

Not only is he calling for overthrowing the Palestinian Authority and demolishing the Oslo Agreement, but he also believes that the substitute for the Authority is the clans and families and the local Palestinian security commanders.

If Sharon succeeds in his quest, it will not be much time before the same scheme is repeated in Iraq, where tribe and clan affiliations are very deep-rooted in the community, so as to prepare the scene for what the studies establishment describes as cross-border Middle Eastern tribal alliances in which the Hashemites will play a main role.

Naturally, what Israel hopes for not necessarily what America wants or perceives as being in its interest.

So far, Washington has not insinuated that it favours this dangerous project that could turn the whole Middle East upside down.

What America wants, or at least what it says in public that it wants, can be summarized as follows: The first priority has been, and will continue to be for a long time, to dry up the quagmires of terrorism in the Middle East, which means the elimination of all the phenomena, institutions and establishments of fundamentalist Islam and imposing strict control on its activities and organizations.

The actions against Hamas, Jihad and Hizbullah are only a practical expression of this approach.

Efforts must be exerted for altering the "regional ideological order," so to speak, in the Arab region, for the United States has discovered that some school curricula and media programs, particularly in Pakistan and some Arab countries, had been instrumental in what the Americans now call "breeding terrorists." The efforts for merging the countries of the region into the global system and economy must be doubled, for this is a necessary step that should precede taking these countries further to the "democratic phase." The most zealous advocate of this last point is Fouad Zakariya, chief editor of the Foreign Affairs periodical, who wrote an article in Newsweek last week that contained the following points: - Fear of the substitutes for totalitarian regimes in the Arab world had paralyzed American policy in the Middle East, as Washington believed that such regimes might be more liberal than their own communities, and certainly more liberal than the Islamic opposition movements there.

- However, this should not prevent the United States from drying up the quagmires of terrorism, which means taking the fight to real source in the Arab world rather than Afghanistan, not for applying democracy, but to impose its necessary foundation, which Zakariya describes as "constitutional liberalism" that is based on law and order, individual rights, respect of private property, independent courts and separation of religion and the state.

- But all this must be preceded by total military victory over extremist political Islam.

However, the certain thing here is that the new American orientation will dictate the emergence of new Arab and Islamic elite groups, and survival under these conditions will be for the fittest, or, to be more specific, for those who will be more capable of adaptation.

Does this ambitious revolutionary American visualization have any chance of success?

From the military and political perspectives, it appears to do. The overwhelming success of the American military campaign against Afghanistan will encourage the United States to go ahead and spread the "Pax Americana" all over the rest of the region.

But scoring military victory would not necessarily lead to easy political gains or a spate of Nobel Peace Prize awards, for military victory and the new "Pax Americana" are separated by myriad risks that cannot be bridged over easily.

The first of these risks is that Israel is likely to seek to exploit the current state of affairs in the region to either realize its own scheme that is built on tribe, clan and family affiliations, as the case now in Palestine, or to exercise great pressures on American decisionmakers to make them adopt this scheme.

Despite the fact that adopting a tribally-based strategy may carry short-term benefits for both Israel and the United States, it will eventually prove to be a dozen powder kegs lashed together, for not only will it lead to a state of permanent in stability, but also because it may trigger a solid alliance among all the Arab parties that reject such fragmentation.

Among the main prime movers of such an alliance will be Arab nationalism, which several Western thinkers have warned against its revival if the United States and Israel miscalculated, plus, of course, radical Muslim forces.

However, the problem will not stop at Israeli games alone.

Although the orientation towards applying capitalist rules in the region will be a real revolution that will take the Arab Middle East from the feudal and pre-capitalist phase to modern capitalism, it will also entail real risks that should not be ignored.

For the application of the "ruthless" capitalist system without taking into consideration the grievances and sufferings of the poor, which represent a majority among the 300 million Arabs, will be an infallible recipe for pumping water into the quagmires of terrorism.

What is more is that if the United States makes a mistake in ,first, dealing with the Arab world "piecemeal," or as fragmented tribes rather than a whole Arab nation that has a vast historical background and an ancient cultural role , second, in creating a set of ruling elite groups whose main mission would be to facilitate the consumption of American goods by the rich among their peoples and, third, in imposing an unfair settlement on the Palestinians to appease Israel, this sort of blunder will make the option of suicidal attacks extremely attractive to several groups in Arab communities.

If this happens, Osama Bin Laden will have scored his real victory.

Not only that: the Washington and New York attacks would look like kids' play compared to violent reactions that could come out of a region that is nationally frustrated, economically desperate and culturally and intellectually marginalized.

The West will certainly expand its victory in the Cold War into the Middle East, as researcher Paul Michael Webby wants.

This will most likely happen in 2002, but the end of the Cold War in this region may trigger ferocious wars that will never end if the West underestimates the importance of the Arabs' national and social grievances.

MFA, Asharq Al Awsat, 24/12/2001

MAHER DENIES THAT A NEW AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL HAD BEEN NOMINATED

Foreign Minister, Ahmed Maher denied reports about Egypt's nominating a new ambassador to Israel.

In reply to media men questions, he said if Egypt decided to take such a decision, she would announce that herself without waiting for others to do that.

MS/ Al-Ahrar, 25/12/2001

PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY ENDORSES AGREEMENT ON JUDICIAL COOPERATION WITH ITALY ON COUNTERTERRORISM

The People's Assembly endorsed an agreement that authorizes cooperation with Italy in the field of counterterrorism.

The discussion of the agreement turned into a spate of criticism by deputies against European countries that refuse to extradite Egyptians who were convicted or suspected on involvement in terrorism cases to Egypt.

The Government had referred three agreements with Italy to Parliament for approval.

The first and second agreements pertain to extradition of suspects and convicts in criminal cases, while the third relates to judicial cooperation.

A parliamentary report stated that the third agreement provided for cooperation on counterterrorism.

The Assistant Minister of Justice, Counselor Sirri Seyam, affirmed that the agreement applied to terrorism cases and terrorists and would help Egypt in demanding the extradition of some fugitives who lived abroad with impunity, pointing out that such agreements could help Egypt with regard to many judicial issues.

MFA, Al Hayat, 24/12/2001

LADY LAWYER & COPT TO PARTICIPATE IN DEFENDING MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD MEMBERS BEFORE COURT MARTIAL

Now that the trial of 22 Muslim Brotherhood leaderships, headed by the organization's secretary, Dr Mahmoud Ghuzlan, has become a reality, it seems that the Muslim Brotherhood Organization will seek to exploit the case, whose first hearing is scheduled for today (24 December), to score political and publicity points.

Al Hayat learned that the defence panel includes lawyers from various political currents, in addition to representatives of human rights organizations and a Coptic lawyer.

Besides, a lady lawyer will participate in defending Muslim Brotherhood members for the first time, as the defence panel comprises former deputy Bar Association chairman Mrs Boshra Asfour.

The defence panel also includes lawyers who are counted among prominent partisan figures, including Atef Al Banna, Abdel Aziz Mohammad, Ahmad Awda and Mahmoud Al Sakka from Al Wafd Party; Salah Qafas from the Labour Party; Raga'ee Atiya from the ruling National Democratic Party; and Essam Al Islambolli from the Nasserite Party.

Coptic lawyer Thabet Zaki, lawyer Dr Abdel Halim Mandoor, head of "the panel defending the accused in religious violence cases", and the Secretary General of the Egyptian Human Rights Organization, Hafez Abu Se'da are also on the defence panel.

Retired military judges who have become lawyers will also defend the Muslim Brotherhood members.

Sayed Al Sobki is one of them.

Also on the defence panel is Counselor Yehia Al Refa'ee, former chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council.

Egyptian authorities have adopted strict security measures at the Court Martial, which is located at the Haekstep Brracks in eastern Cairo.

MFA, Al Hayat, 24/12/2001

SECRETARY GENERAL OF AL-AZHAR SCHOLARS FRONT DEPOSED FROM UNIVERSITY STAFF!

In a striking development that might renew the struggle between Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh, Mohamed Sayyed Tantawi and his opponents, Al-Azhar University decided to depose Dr. Yehya Ismail, professor with the Fundamentals of Religion Faculty and secretary general of the currently suspended Al-Azhar Scholars Front.

The deposition decision was announced yesterday by a disciplinary council comprising university professors and legislators.

The deposed professor was well known for his pungent criticism of Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh.

Ismail said he could sue the university and file an urgent lawsuit against its president to suspend the decision.

Al-Azhar University had referred Ismail to a disciplinary board some years ago due to his increasing criticism of the Personal Status Act and Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh's attitude towards it. More than once had Ismail announced that the Personal Status Act was of America's making, which was considered by the university as extremely embarrassing to Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh who had endorsed the act.

The deposition decision was ascribed by Ismail to his uncovering of mass cheating cases in the Holy Quran subject in the Faculty of the Fundamentals of Religion where he taught especially among post graduate students.

He pointed out that the cheating was perpetrated by one of the faculty's dignitaries, adding that he had informed the competent bodies of the cheating incident.

Ismail added that he had expected the deposition decision due to his differences with Sheikh Tantawi.

He expected the same fate of three others who had opposed Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh before.

Al-Arabi, 23/12/2001

EGYPTIAN-GERMAN TRAINING PROJECT FOR SOCIAL STUDIES AND CIVIC EDUCATION TEACHERS

Yesterday, Minister of Education, Dr. Hussein Kamel Bahaeddin met a German delegation and discussed with them aspects of cooperation in the field of training, the implementation of distant education system and the exchange of training programmes.

The two parties signed the first training programme on the improvement of the techniques of education for citizenship in the secondary stage.

In the project, secondary school teachers of social sciences and civic education as well as ministry cadres interested in education will be trained.

The project lasts for 3 years and will organize from 8 to 12 courses annually.

the sole course will take 4 days and will be comprising lectures, workshops, seminars and round tables.

Al-Wafd, 24/12/2001

CAA: RESEARCH PROJECTS FALTERING

People's Assembly Speaker, Dr Ahmed Fat'hi Sorour, received from Dr Gawdat Al- Malt, Chairman of the Central Auditing Agency (CAA), an important report on the follow-up and evaluation of research activity performance at the Scientific and Technological Research Academy affiliated to the Ministry of Scientific Research.

The report contained causes of the faltering of research activity and scientific research.

These causes, according to the report, are represented in some research projects' lacking a practical model in order to convince the Egyptian investor of the importance of the research project in solving the problems facing him, something the academy lacks, and failure to provide sufficient finance in due course in addition to the fact that some projects are inapplicable from the practical point of view.

The Scientific and Technological Research Academy has compiled 425 research projects and completed them within 7 years.

About LE31 million were spent on these projects.

The academy has achieved only LE114 thousand revenues represented in the value of marketing a single project.

ZH/ Al-Gomhouria, 23/12/2001

THE END OF AL-HAJ MITWALLI SERIAL ALTERED BY ORDER OF SUSANNE MUBARAK

Under this headline, the paper publishes its front page main story which runs to the following effect only in part: By order of Mrs Susanne Mubarak, Chairwoman of the National Council for Woman, alterations have been introduced to the end of Al-Haj Mitwalli's Family serial at the last moments.

The last episode scenes were shot on Eid El Fitr eve according to the amendments introduced by scenarist Mustafa Moharram after considering several options.

He was informed by the Ministry of Information that should he insist on keeping the old scenario as it was, the required amendments would have to be done by another scenarist and he would not be assigned any more jobs in the future.

Muharram responded to the directions.

No sooner had the serial episodes been over than he presented the summary of a new scenario entitled, "Al Haja Zuhra and Her Husbands" to counterpoise Mitwalli and his wives tales with a view to doing justice to the woman, to quote his words.

Actress Elham Shahin was recommended to star in the new serial.

Al-Arabi learnt that Mrs Susanne Mubarak had contacted Minister of Information, Safwat Al-Sherif and expressed her anger as the serial was running counter to the state's policy regarding the woman.

After that, the Minister of Information ordered an investigation be carried out into how that serial had been approved by the censorship.

The serial has also created a sensation on the Arab level especially in Lebanon and the UAE.

Al-Arabi, 23/12/2001

9 MILLION EGYPTIANS ARE UNMARRIED

Statistics by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMS) uncovered serious social problems as the number of unmarried Egyptians and divorcees has been on the rise.

But, women's life span has increased, according to the statistics.

The number of unmarried Egyptians has reached 8,983,868, including 5,246,631 males above 18 years and 3,736,631 females above 16 years.

There are also 264,316 divorcees, the statistics said.

A total of 579,000 marriage contracts was hammered out in 2000, while the same year registered 68,000 divorce cases.

The life span of women and men has reached 75 years and 70 years consecutively, the statistics added.

Al-Wafd, 25/12/2001

45,000 EGYPTIAN SCIENTISTS ABROAD

A recent report by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics revealed that the number of Egyptian scientists living abroad is estimated at about 45,000. This total includes 1,160 scientists working in rare specializations, including 94 in nuclear engineering, 36 in nuclear physics, 98 in microbiology, 82 in laser applications, 193 in electronics and computers, 211 in important branches of medicine, 188 in genetics, 68 in road and dam engineering and 113 in geology and seismology.

The report explained that according to the records of the Immigration and Passports Authority, the number of Egyptians who had migrated to foreign countries permanently during the period from 1967 to 1976 included 32,000 holders of master's degrees and doctorates.

"Although many other countries have suffered the migration of scientists, such as Israel, India, Turkey, South Korea, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia, they did not despair.

They have maintained close relations with these scientists, which brought them many scientific and technology benefits.

While there does exist a program for transferring knowledge and experience to Egypt through expatriate scientists, government funding for this program remains low," it concluded.

MFA, Al Ahrar, 24/12/2001

2 MILLION EUROS TO BOOST CHARTER FLIGHTS

The Export Development Bank of Egypt decided to grant charter flights a renewable direct aid of 2 million euros.

The board chairman of the bank Mahmoud Mohamed Mahmoud unveiled that the new fund that had been allocated by the state aimed at developing tourism revenues after the losses that it had incurred since the September 11th events.

He explained that that sum of money would be used for boosting that type of flights after they catered for a big rate of incoming tourists as charter flights have become the favourite choice among batches particularly those coming from the European Union countries to avoid travelling through international airlines, the demand on which had backtracked since the September 11th incidents.

This sum will be used to encourage travel agencies to make use of that system in spite of its relative high cost as a result of dependence of the European tourists on it so as to spare themselves the risks of regular air flights.

BAS, Al-Alam Al-Youm, 7/1/2002

INTERNATIONAL PLEDGES TO GRANT EGYPT $2 BILLION

Head of the World Bank mission to Egypt Dr.MMahmoud Ayoub said that the Egyptian Government was expected to obtain pledges from donor states and agencies worth $2 billion to help it overcome the September 11 repercussions and plug the budget deficit.

This will take place during the donor states and agencies meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh in the forthcoming month.

Dr.AAyoub added that the government will submit a request to get this financial aid from the donors to plug the expected $2.4 billion trade balance deficit for the current FY. He attributed the increase in deficit volume to the decrease in tourism revenues which hit $2.6 billion for the fiscal year that will end in June,2002 against $4.3 billion in the previous fiscal year.

"The government has taken several measures to face up to the decline in revenues one of which was the depreciation of the pound value against the dollar," Added Dr.Ayoub.

"The real economic growth rate slowed down to about 3.3% for 2000-2001 fiscal year against 5% or more in previous years." The World Bank official expected the economic growth rate to reach 2% as a direct result of the September 11th events in the United States.

WWM, Al-Ahram, 8/1/2002

EGYPT URGES IMF TO LEND HER $500 MILLION

Important negotiations are being held by the Egyptian government with the IMF in a few days' time to discuss some economic issues especially Egypt's urgent request to obtain a soft loan to the value of $500 million.

This is meant to face the effects of the September incidents that cost Egypt about 3 billion.

At the beginning of next week, a delegation headed by the chief of the Middle East and North Africa region from the IMF is visiting Egypt where serious talks will be held about the fund supporting the Egyptian economy in the current circumstances.

The IMF delegation will also hold meetings with private sector representatives and business organizations to consider energizing their role at the next stage and the IMF's role in that operation.

MMS Asharq Al-Awsat, 7/1/2002

IMF ASKS GOVERNMENT TO FLOAT POUND

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) asked anew the government to float the pound to cope with consecutive pressure on the Egyptian currency.

The IMF's request is based on Egypt's possible access to large support from global financial agencies, easing demand for the US dollar and supporting export-backup efforts.

The IMF shrugged off a potential stupendous wave of inflation and high prices in case of floatation of the pound, just as happened to the Turkish economy following the lira floatation last summer.

The IMF also approached for speeding up a package of legislation to create economic stability, mainly including an anti-monopoly bill and tightened-up penalties against tax and customs evasion.

The IMF's requests came in the recent initial negotiations between Egypt and the IMF over the former's access to a 2-billion-US-dollar loan in a bid to boost foreign exchange resources.

The government is expected to hold a fresh round of negotiations with an IMF mission over the loan next week.

Al-Wafd, 9/1/2002

GERMAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO INVESTMENT PROJECTS UP TO LE646 MILLION

The volume of German contributions to projects established in Egypt under investment guarantees and incentives law went up to LE646 million, constituting contributions to the issued capital of 156 projects inside Egypt and at the free zones.

Investments in these projects amount to LE4.888 billion.

Investment and Free Zones Authority data pointed out that joint projects with Germany have provided distinguished products for the local market to replace imports and be exported to foreign markets.

These projects attracted modern technology to the Egyptian industry sector in different activities.

These projects include 144 projects inside Egypt and 12 projects under the free zones system.

German investment projects in Egypt operate in the fields of manufacturing yarn, textile, foodstuffs, chemicals, timber, engineering commodities, pharmaceuticals and building materials, as well as in the sectors of agriculture, construction, tourism, banks and services.

The German contribution to the issued capital of these projects hit about 18%.

ZH/ Al-Akhbar, 9/1/2002

17 EGYPTIAN COMPANIES PARTICIPATE IN AN UPHOLSTERY EXHIBITION IN GERMAN

During the period from 9 to 13 January instant, 17 Egyptian major companies operative in the production and exportation of Egyptian upholstery will participate in an international exposition in Frankfurt, Germany.

The exhibition administration has allocated 320 square metres, extending along 6 different halls for the Egyptian companies to expose the latest Egyptian upholstery products, which have a great turn-out worldwide.

On January 5th, a symposium was held in Cairo ahead of the convention f the exhibition.

It was held in the Headquarters of the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Trade in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Trade represented by the Egyptian Company for Guaranteeing Exports, the Upholstery Commodity Council and the Egyptian Exporters Society.

Egyptian participation comes within the framework of efforts exerted by the State with a view to increasing Egyptian exports to foreign markets on the grounds that the yarn, textile, upholstery and garment sector is considered the biggest export sector in the Egyptian economy for its exports hit over 1.5 billion dollars annually.

HSS, Al-Ittihad, 6/1/2002

EGYPTIAN ECONOMIC DELEGATION CONSIDERS OPPORTUNITIES OF INCREASING ECONOMIC COOPERATION WITH INDIA

A delegation comprising 24 businessmen headed by both Foreign Trade Minister Dr. Youssef Boutros Ghali, and Dr. Ali Al-Saidi, the Industry Minister, will pay a visit tomorrow to Bangalore town in India in order to attend an economic conference.

Major General Ahmed Arafa, the chairman of Golden Tex Group said a symposium would be held between Egyptian and Indian businessmen on investment opportunities in Egypt.

"The Egyptian delegation will pay a visit to the Indian Technology Valley." For his part, the former Indian planning minister affirmed the importance of exchanging expertise between the two countries in some fields such as rural development, agricultural production diversification and achieving food security.

The agricultural sector in India makes a growth rate of about 3%, which does not cope with the rapid rate of the economic growth.

This requires organizing agricultural productivity, he said.

He added that Egypt and India could share expertise in the dairy industry for India is the top producer of dairy products.

"They also can exchange experience in the field of foodstuff industries and introducing high technology into small industries," he said, pointing out that cooperation in the field of water resources management could be possible.

In the same regard, the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Bombay said cooperation between the two countries could include activities like tourism and cotton production for Egypt is famous for cotton cultivation, especially long-staple brands, and the Indian farmers need to draw upon Egyptian expertise in that domain.

He pointed out the importance of exchanging visits to acquaint experts with the most important industries in both countries in a bid to boost cooperation in those domains.

"Egypt and India should exchange economic information in the fields that concern them such as pharmaceutical industries and computer." He called upon Egyptian companies to participate in the exhibitions organized in India, pointing out that an international industrial and commercial exhibition will be organized in Bombay during the period 9-13 January recent year to enable Egyptian businessmen to be acquainted with the standard achieved by the Indian industry.

BAS Al-Alam Al-Youm, 8/1/2002

SOON, NEW AIRLINE BETWEEN EGYPT AND HONG KONG

It is anticipated that an agreement with Hong Kong will shortly be signed to operate an airline between Cairo and Hong Kong after being approved by the authorities there.

This was affirmed in a report issued by the Hong Kong-based Egyptian Commercial Office which pointed out that the airline would resolve the problem of the high freight price so that Egyptian exports to Hong Kong, which basically depends on re-exporting imports, would be increased.

The report said that there were Egyptian commodities and products that emerged for the first time in the Egyptian-Hong Kong balance of trade even though the volume of exports of such commodities had not reached the targeted volume.

It is expected that their volume would be increased within the coming few years.

These commodities include fish, mollusks, fruits particularly orange vegetables, alcoholic drinks, perfumes, medical herbs, tanned leather, carpets, raw cotton, marble and granite.

HSS, Al-Alam Al-Youm, 6/1/2002

EGYPT, SAUDI ARABIA SIGN MEMORANDUM OF COOPERATION FOR BOOSTING ECONOMIC RELATIONS

The Saudi-Egyptian memorandum of cooperation signed by the Saudi Council for Chambers of Commerce and the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Commerce on 6 January stressed the importance of furthering and boosting bilateral relations between the two countries in all fields and reinforcing the activities of the Saudi-Egyptian Business Council.

The memorandum also stressed the importance of establishing two offices in the Saudi Council for Chambers of Commerce and the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Commerce for monitoring the progress achieved in implementing the recommendations of the Saudi- Egyptian Business Council, which was established in 1990.

A joint Saudi-Egyptian statement pointed out that the two sides had agreed to boost their bilateral trade and increase the number of commodities exported by each country to the other, within the context of expanding the role of the private sector and familiarizing more consumers in the two countries with the economic and productive capabilities of that sector, in addition to probing joint investment opportunities, encouraging joint ventures, boosting exports and exchange of commercial, industrial and touristic delegations.

MFA, Asharq Al Awsat, 7/1/2002

HOT COMMERCIAL DEBATE BETWEEN EGYPTIANS AND SAUDIS

On January 7th, during the current visit paid by an Egyptian minister accompanied by a number of businessmen, Saudi and Egyptian economic officials in Jeddah exchanged complaints and counter-complaints about the obstacles that hinder trade exchange between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

While talking to the Egyptian Minister of Supply and Domestic Trade, Hassan Khidr, a Saudi businessman complained that some Egyptian companies do not abide by the specifications they agreed upon with Saudi traders.

Egyptians, though implicitly, complained about the decrease in the number of Saudi tourists in comparison with the great number of Egyptian pilgrims who visit Saudi Arabia to perform Haj and Umrah every year.

The Egyptians ascribed their complaint to the fact that Saudi Arabian exports to Egyptian, amount to about ten fold that of Egypt to Saudi Arabi, according to the Egyptian Chambers of Commerce Head, Khalid Abu-Ismail and to the continuation of the ban imposed on the Egyptian potato for 17 months due to a news item published in an Egyptian paper which was given the lie at the time.

In their turn, the Saudis complained about modest Egyptian investments in comparison to those of the Saudis in Egypt.

While the Egyptian investments in Saudi Arabia do not exceed 108 million dollars, the Saudi investments in Egypt hit more than 1 billion dollars.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian minister admitted to the presence of some problems facing trade exchange between the two countries.

He called for "justice" according to transparent and objective bases that can raise the volume of trade exchange between them.

Within the same context, he called for not exploiting the topic of standard specifications to justify protectionist policies.

For its part, the Chamber of Commerce in Jeddah said in a study it issued that the main obstacles to trade exchange between the two countries lay in the competitiveness within the Saudi market.

Some Saudi importers believe that some Egyptian products are of low quality due to bad package and some other industrial faults.

Prices of Egyptian products are high in comparison to their Eastern Asian counterparts, in addition to the irregularity of shipping lines between them and some other hindrances, the Chamber said.

The study recommends that the Egyptian side pay more attention to areas outside the triangle of Jeddah, Madina and Mecca.

The Egyptian side also should launch an advertising campaign to promote the products that will be exported through various means including encouraging the setting up of permanent exhibitions between the two countries, the study added.

HSS, Al-Hayat, 8/1/2002

INTERNAL TRADE MINISTER CALLS FOR BARTERING GAS FOR SAUDI OIL

In an attempt to strike a balanced increase in the volume of trade exchange between the two countries, the Egyptian Minister of Internal Trade and Supply, Dr. Hassan Khidr called upon Saudi Arabia to barter Egyptian gas for Saudi crude oil through a clearance agreement.

In the meeting of the Egyptian and Saudi businessmen executive council which was held at the Saudi federation of the chambers of commerce in Riyadh on January 5th, Khidr said Saudi Arabia was setting up a surface pipeline to serve provide Yanbo' area with gas. Egypt can supply this pipeline with gas via the pipeline extended between Egypt and Jordan in return for Egypt importing crude oil, he said, alluding to the importance of the project so as to strike a balanced increase in the volume of trade exchange between the two countries.

HSS, Al-Hayat, 6/1/2002

SETTING UP A JOINT EGYPTIAN-SAUDI COMPANY WITH A $100 MILLION CAPITAL

Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Dr. Hassan Khidr put forward the setting up of a joint Egyptian-Saudi company with a $100-million authorized capital and $25 million paid- up capital to operate in the field of marketing Egyptian and Saudi products in both countries.

It will also be based on studying the needs of consumers and directing investments and industries to meet those markets needs.

This came in a meeting held by the executive committee of the Egyptian-Saudi business council in the Saudi capital of Riyadh yesterday.

The Minister asked for Egypt's participation in the giant project which is being executed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to construct 3 railway lines.

The first project links Saudi cities; the second links Saudi Arabia to Europe and the third links Saudi Arabia to Gulf Cooperation Council States.

The Minister also discussed Egyptian full readiness to participate in that big project due to its long experience in that field.

He pointed out he had discussed with the Saudi party providing Saudi Arabia with natural gas through the natural gas grid executed by Saudi Arabia from Jordan so that a barter deal is implemented under which Egypt would export gas to Saudi Arabia in return for crude oil imports.

MMS, Al-Ahram, 6/1/2002

KUWAITI OFFERS TO BUY 7 EGYPTIAN BANKS

Kuwaiti banks and financial and investment institutions have offered Egyptian banking leaders to purchase seven Egyptian joint and private banks, mainly including Egyptian American Bank, Misr America International Bank, Misr Iran Development Bank, Bank of Commerce and Development (Al-Tegaryoon), Cairo Far East Bank and Islamic International Bank for Investment and Development.

Among the key Kuwaiti banks, which offered to purchase Egyptian banks, is the Kuwaiti Financing House, which wants to buy the Islamic International Bank for Investment and Development, which belongs to the four public enterprise banks and has a licensed capital of 100 million US dollars and paid-up capital of 60 million US dollars.

Kuwait National Bank, a leading Kuwaiti bank, wants to buy a main share in an Egyptian bank put on sale.

Egyptian bank leaders also received similar bids from the Kuwaiti Real Estate Bank, Kuwaiti Industrial Bank, investment banks and other Islamic investment banking companies.

A high-level Egyptian banking delegation wrapped up a 3-day visit to Kuwait on January 7. The delegation was headed by Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Governor Mahmoud Abul Oyoun, National Bank of Egypt Chairman Ahmed Diaa Eddin Fahmi, Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt Chairman Abdel-Hamid Abu Moussa and HSBC (Egypt) Vice-Chairman Abdel-Salam al-Anwar.

For his part, Diaa Eddin told Al-Alam Al-Youm in a phone conversation from Kuwait that Kuwaiti banks are willing to expand their activities in Egypt and have a bigger role in the joint bank privatization program.

In the meeting, Kuwaiti bank leaders expressed willingness to enter into negotiations with Egyptian banks to purchase their shares in joint banks, he said.

Responding to a query whether there is a timetable for starting negotiations between the Egyptian and Kuwaiti sides, Diaa Eddin said that more contacts would be made later on to reach detailed deals.

The Islamic International Bank for Investment and Development, Cairo Far East Bank andMisr America International Bank will be represented by Banque du Caire in the negotiations, while Misr Iran Development Bank and Bank of Commerce and Development (Al-Tegaryoon) will be represented by Bank of Alexandria and Banque Misr respectively, he added.

In a related development, several meetings were held between the Egyptian banking delegation and Kuwaiti officials over the possibility of transferring part of Kuwaiti funds, which were withdrawn from foreign banks following the September 11th attacks, to Egyptian banks, Diaa Eddin added.

MT / Al-Alam Al-Youm, 8/1/2002

4 NEW JOINT EGYPTIAN-MOROCCAN PROJECTS

At the end of the Egyptian-Moroccan commercial committee meetings chaired by the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Trade Youssef Boutros Ghali and The Moroccan Minister of Trade, Industry and Mining Mostafa Al-Mansoury it was decided to sign 4 joint projects to the tune of LE 450 million.

One of the new projects aims at manufacturing 72mm-pipe insulators with a total value of $50 million.

There is another project for medical equipment to the value of LE10 million.

The contracts for both projects will be inked in initials during the Supreme Committee convention in March, 2002 in preparation for final signing.

Two protocols for a technology and information company together with another for a travel agency to the value of $5 million each will be signed as well.

Dr. Ghali announced that the Egyptian-Moroccan Supreme Committee meetings due to be held in Rabat next March would aim at improving bilateral relations.

He pointed out that trade exchange between Egypt and Morocco hit about $70 million in 2001, of which $50 million were Egyptian exports to Morocco and $20 million Moroccan exports to Egypt.

"There is great potential for increasing trade volume between the two countries as the present obstacles that impede trade exchange are not due to lack of competitive edge or relative advantage . Ghali indicated.

The Moroccan market imports goods worth billions of dollars from abroad and the Egyptian commodities can compete as well, he added.

The obstacles that impede trade are that of distance, lack of communication and ignorance of markets in both countries.

We would be capable of overcoming such hurdles if we intensified our presence on the Moroccan market and vice versa", Dr.GGhali opined.

Al-Ahram, 8/1/2002

7 ENTERPRISES IN LIBYA BEFORE EGYPTIAN INVESTORS

The Arab Institution for Guaranteeing Investment decided to put up 7 enterprises to Egyptian investors and businessmen to implement them in Libya at an investment cost hitting 632.28 million dollars.

The pre-feasibility studies conducted by the Institution pointed out that the first project aimed at making use of the urea substance so as to set up a factory for producing melamine.

The investment cost of this factory hits 50 million dollars with a production capacity of 30,000 tons annually.

The second project aims at producing polypropylene at a production capacity of 250,000 tons annually.

The investment cost of this project hits 12 million dollars.

The third project whose investment cost hits 13 million dollars aims at setting up a plant for recycling paper waste at a capacity of 100,000 tons yearly.

The fourth project will produce cement at an investment cost of 166 million dollars with a production capacity of 1 million tons annually.

The fifth project aims at the production of wide diameter plastic polyethylene pipes at an investment cost of 4.8 million dollars and at a production capacity of 16.8 thousand water and drainage pipes on an annul basis.

The sixth project will be set aside for the production of 8- inch-diameter oil pipes at an investment cost of 6.48 million dollars and a production capacity of 70,000 tons per annum.

The last project aims at constructing a factory for producing acrylic and acrylonitrile fibres at a capacity of 140,000 tons yearly and an investment cost of 380 million dollars.

HSS, Al-Alam Al-Youm, 10/1/2002

SERIOUS DEVELOPMENTS IN DOLLAR CRISIS

During the last few days, the dollar crisis has witnessed serious developments.

A number of public Enterprise Sector companies announced the stoppage of most production lines at the factories affiliated to their companies due to shortage of the dollar.

In the recent few hours, the companies' heads sent a memo to the Cabinet , where they affirmed that the banks refused to open the required allocations to import the production requirements needed by some companies operating in the fields of auto, engineering, pharmaceutical and foodstuff industries.

The companies had to stop a number of production lines during last week due to their inability to fulfil the import contracts they concluded several months ago, the memo pointed out.

However, the memo warned against the continuation of the dollar shortage crisis especially as most companies have been suffering from that crisis since mid last year and had to stop some of their production lines since then.

On the other hand, an official at a pharmaceutical company warned against a new rise in the medicine prices due to the continuation of the shortage of the dollar.

Drug plants resort to exchange firms to get the dollar at high rates as the banks had refused to open the required allocations.

To get the dollar at a high rate leads to increasing medicine cost, thus increasing medicine prices or stopping the provision of drugs that are urgently needed by patients, the official added.

Meanwhile, Foodstuff Industries Holding Company warned that all non-subsidized commodities apart from ration cards are liable to rise during the coming period due to the shortage of dollars.

Sources with the company pointed out that the banks declined to open new allocations for importing some basic commodities after the Holding Company had transgressed the permissible credit number.

This will impact on the basic commodities including subsidized cooking oil whose local production only meets 10 % of consumption against 90% imported from abroad, the source pointed out.

For its part, Grain Industry Chamber at the Federation of Industries started intensive contacts to hold a meeting with Prime Minister, Atef Ebeid to solve the problem of the lack of allocations required for importing wheat and grain, something that predicts a crisis in the production of flour.

The chamber's officials affirmed that 180 macaroni factories had come to a halt due to inability to provide imported flour.

Only 40% of the mills' capacities has become operative due to such crisis, they said.

HSS, Al-Ahrar, 12/1/2002

EGYPTIAN BANKS INSTRUCT BRANCHES TO CODIFY DOLLAR EXCHANGE AND CONTROL LIQUIDITY

Egyptian banks have instructed their branches to take a set of measures to control the rise in dollar exchange rates, its dearth and liquidity shortage suffered by markets.

Such measures include the necessity of clients who want to withdraw over LE5 thousand or its equivalent presenting an I.DD photocopy.

Egyptian banks decided to reject any requests for foreign exchange for documentary credits offered to foreign banks, pointing out that providing foreign exchange was a requirement of opening bank credits.

Besides, using Egyptian banks for that end leads to costing banks a lot of foreign exchange, efforts and expenditure in return for the services offered to businessmen.

Businessmen have recently tended to obtain dollars to open credits with foreign banks, which bankers called withdrawal of currency from the Egyptian market.

A number of principal banks, that issued foreign exchange credit cards, have stopped dealing in the dollar and urged clients to enter the bank, offer the required documents and withdraw the sum wanted.

M.M.S, Asharq Al-Awsat 12/1/2002

STOCK EXCHANGE END-OF-YEAR REPORT SAYS FOREIGNERS' TRANSACTIONS WENT DOWN BY LE 17 BILLION LAST YEAR

The transactions of foreigners on the Egyptian Stock Exchange went down by LE 17 billion in 2001, dropping form LE 41.293 billion in 2000 to only LE 24.051 billion during the past year.

The end-of-year report of the Stock Exchange, which was released on 10 January, revealed that the transactions of foreigners on the Stock Exchange last year totaled 1,213,775, against 1,270,273 transactions in 2000, while the number of shares handled by foreigners totaled 1,183,222,236 against 939,843,922 shares in 2000.

It also pointed that the shares sold by foreigners last year represented 15.4% of the total sales on the Egyptian Stock Exchange, while the shares purchased by foreign customers represented 16.2% of the total shares sole on the Exchange.

The report affirmed that the transactions of foreigners soared by LE 1.2 billion in December 2001, rising from LE 2.010 billion in November to LE 3.330 during that month, while the total number of transactions of foreigners dropped from 86,020 in November to 62,866 in December.

Meanwhile, the total number of shares handled by foreigners dropped from 112.2 million in November to 73.5 million in December.

The report also quoted the total transactions of foreign investors on the Egyptian Stock Exchange since 1996, indicating that it was LE 33 billion in 1996, then LE 19.5 billion in 1997, which reflected the crisis in Southeast Asia, going up again to LE 32.7 billion in 1999.

The total transactions of foreigners over the past six years reached LE 138.096 billion, according to the report.

The report affirmed that the number of companies listed on the Stock Exchange as of the end of December 2001 was 1,110, while the number of listed shares was 5,473,200,000 and the total of Egyptian-pound capitals listed was LE 71,258,900,000, against $ 2,556,800,000 for the total of dollar capitals.

It also said that 17 new companies were listed in December 2001, while profit coupons were cashed by 10 companies.

The report indicated that 30 companies accounted for 86.03% of the transactions on the Stock Exchange in December with LE 643.1 million, while all the other companies accounted for LE 104.4 million transactions.

The most active stocks were those of the Commercial International Bank-Egypt, MobiNil, the Egyptian American Bank, the Egyptian Media Production City Company, the Arab United Real Estate Company and Suez Cement Company.

It pointed out that the transactions of foreign investors had been affected by the 11 September attacks in the United States, indicating that they totaled LE 3 billion in September 2001, against LE1.817 billion in September 2000, then LE 2.344 billion in October 2001 and LE 2.010 billion in November 2001.

MFA, Asharq Al Awsat, 12/1/2002

FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN EGYPT SEES SERIOUS SETBACK

Foreign investments in Egypt saw a serious setback over the last months.

In January-November 2001, foreign investments in the projects of the Companies Organization (CO) and the National Investment Authority (NIA) slid by 50 percent compared to 2000 and 80 percent compared to 1999.

Foreign investments in the NIA and CO projects hit 838 million pounds and 243 million pounds respectively against 2.1 billion pounds in 2000 and around 4.5 billion pounds in 1999.

Furthermore, aggregate direct foreign investments in all projects in Egypt amounted to roughly 500 million US dollars in 2000-2001, down 1200 million US dollars over 1999- 2000.

The government's US dollar spending hiked by around 30 percent compared to last year, while the governmental expenditure hit 600 million US dollars despite the ongoing economic crisis.

Local debts also largely skyrocketed over the last months as the government indebtedness from banks, insurance and pension funds and investment certificate revenues reached about 100 million pounds on a daily basis.

The domestic debts amounted to around 240 billion pounds.

Al-Wafd, 12/1/2002

$37 MILLION CANADIAN GRANT TO EGYPT

On January 9th, the Canadian minister of emigration met with the Minister of the State for Foreign Affairs, Fayza Abu El-Naga.

Sources at the Canadian embassy in Cairo said the visit paid by the Canadian minister, that came within the framework of a tour she would make in the region, was to offer the Egyptian Government a grant at a value of 50 million Canadian dollars (37 million US dollars). It will be a low-interest grant that will be used in purchasing Canadian equipment and supplies needed by Egypt.

It will be paid off within 20 years.

The grant is aimed also at procuring cash liquidity to Egypt, the sources said.

The visit comes within the context of a Canadian desire to encourage Egyptians to travel to Canada and urge Canadian tourists to visit Egypt.

The Canadian Government, via its consulate, is no longer warning their citizens to go to Egypt, rather it urges them to visit Egypt and is keen on boosting tourism in it.

HSS, Al-Ittihad, 10/1/2002

EGYPT AND EUROPE CONSIDER ANTI-DUMPING MECHANISM

In the first week of February next, a delegation constituting officials from the Brussels- based European Commission will pay a visit to Cairo and hold talks with officials at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Trade over the formation of a new mechanism of understanding about the dumping issue between the two parties.

The delegation's visit comes within the framework of the Partnership Agreement signed between Egypt and the EU with the target of removing obstacles that face some Egyptian exports to the European market.

These obstacles include some dumping cases which are sometimes considered a preventive measure against certain Egyptian commodities that are highly competitive.

On the other hand, the Brussels-based Egyptian Representation Office has prepared a programme for encouraging and attracting Belgian investments to Egypt.

It also prepares for participating in the 20th round of the technical committee on country of origin rules within the context of the European Commission which will be held in Brussels from 18 to 22 February next.

The weekly report on the efforts and activities of the Commercial Representation Body abroad which was received by Minister of Foreign Trade, Youssef Botrous Ghali said that a delegation constituting representatives of medicine distribution companies in Kazakhstan was due to reach Cairo in January instant to conclude export contracts to import Egyptian medicine.

HSS, Al-Ittihad, 10/1/2002

AGREEMENT WITH BRITAIN AND ITALY TO EXPORT LIQUEFIED GAS TO FRANCE SIGNED

On 21st January running, a joint Egyptian-British-Italian agreement will be signed in Cairo to export liquefied gas produced in Edco factory to France.

This is the second agreement signed by Egypt with Europe in that field after the first one was signed with Spain.

It is scheduled that three European delegations, which comprise experts in petroleum, power, industry and electricity, from the three participant countries will come to Cairo on order to sign the agreement.

The Minister of Petroleum Sameh Fahmi explained that the agreement, by which both the British Gas Company and the Italian Eddison Company would export their quotas of the liquefied gas to the French Gas Du France Company, had been approved.

This comes within the framework of the plan of the Egyptian company for liquefied gas, the production capacity of which hit 3.6 million tons annually, that provides for doubling the production capacity as of 2005 to reach 7.2 million tons in 2006.

BAS, Al-Ahram, 12/1/2002

HEAD OF THE EUROPEAN INDUSTRIES FEDERATION FOR SOLAR ENERGY : WE'RE STUDYING A PROJECT FOR SETTING UP THE FIRST ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY TOURIST RESORT FOR RECUPERATION IN LUXOR

A German company owned by Ibrahim Samak, a German engineer of an Egyptian origin is carefully studying the construction of a resort for an environment friendly tourism in Luxor.

Eng. Samak, born in Luxor but currently occupying the position of head of the European Industries Federation for Solar Energy met Major General Al Desouki Al-Bana, chairman of the Supreme Council of Luxor city and submitted a presentation of the project and a feasibility study.

Engineer Samak pointed out that the project aimed at constructing an integrated resort for recreational and recuperation tourism for German citizens under a contract with Health Insurance Authority in Germany.

He added that that project was very important and has a high economic return due to its numerous tourism nights averaging about 10 nights per tourist.

He went on to say that the project would rely on his company's experience in the fields of using solar energy to exploit Luxor's bright weather most of the year for lighting and heating in the resort in order to be environment friendly.

He added that the head of Luxor's City Supreme Council had voiced willingness to offer all facilities required to set up the project as a prelude to setting up further tourism projects in that field.

He visited the site suggested for the project which overlooked the Nile and Al-Karnak temple.

He highlighted the efforts made by Egypt's ambassador to Germany, Mohamed Al-Orabi to encourage and attract further German investments to Egypt and promote friendly relations and cooperation between German businessmen of an Egyptian origin and the officials in Germany and Egypt.

On the other hand, Engineer Ibrahim Samak said that he was currently studying the possibility of holding a meeting of the Annual General Assembly for European Industries Federation for Solar Energy in Luxor City.

He pointed out that such a meeting would include a big number of chairmen of major international companies specialized in manufacturing solar energy equipment and machinery such as Siemens, Shell, and British Petroleum.

He added that holding the meeting in Luxor emphasizes Egypt's importance as a country that enjoys security, safety and stability regardless of some current violence and terrorism incidents.

M.M.S. Al-Ahram, 12/1/2002

INDO-EGYPTIAN AGREEMENT TO SET UP SMART SCHOOLS SIGNED

On 11th January, Egypt and India signed a cooperation agreement to establish smart schools in Egypt with a view to preparing a new generation of future scientists through teaching information technology and software industry as basic subjects in curricula and making use of the Indian expertise in this domain.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Dr. Youssef Boutros Ghali, Foreign Trade Minister, who doubles as head of the joint Indo-Egyptian committee; Dr. Ali Al-Saidi, Minister of Industry; Dr. Hussien Al- Gammal, Secretary General of the Social Fund for Development; Dr. Jihad Madi, the Egyptian Ambassador in India; prime minister of Karnataka state; ministers of Industry, Trade and small industries, and the chairman of the Industries Federation.

At its meeting on 11 January, the Indo-Egyptian business council decided to increase the Indian investments in Egypt to one billion dollars, an increase of $600 million, as the Indian investments in Egypt, whether in contribution or ownership, totaled $380 million in the fields of hair oil, producing carbon and water tanks.

The Indian investments will be extended to new fields such as phosphate fertilizers, manufactured yarns, pipes and aluminum.

It was also approved to increase the volume of the Egyptian exports of crude oil, raw cotton, leather, phosphate, coke and chemicals to India in return for granting facilities to the Indian imports to Egypt like veal, lentils, spices, sesame, transport equipment, medical compounds and tobacco.

Yesterday, the Egyptian official delegation paid a visit to some information technology and software companies in Bangalore city which is the home of software industry in the world.

It is called 'the American silicon valley' as it has 35 thousand programmers and 27 faculties and institutes specialized in information technology.

Its income from exporting software hit one billion dollars per annum out of the Indian exports of software that reached 6 billion dollars.

The Egyptian and Indian sides agreed to marketing the Indian software in Egypt through agreements between the private sectors in both countries.

BAS, Al- Gomhouria, 12/1/2002

HEAD OF HELNAN INTERNATIONAL: WE SEEK TO PUMP $150 MILLION INVESTMENTS IN REGION

The head of Helnan International Company Anan Al-Galali said that the company sought to pump new investments that totaled $150 million into the region over the coming five years.

All of these investments could go to Egypt in case the market has improved, he said.

He told Al-Alam Al-Youm that his company is ready to purchase any hotel or tourist asset put by the Ministry of Public Enterprise Sector on condition that a reasonable price for the deal is offered.

BAS, Al-Alam Al-Youm, 12/1/2002

EGYPT ASKS FOR CONVERTING AMERICAN AID INTO CASH

Al-Alam Al-Youm learnt that Egypt had officially asked Washington to give the US aid in cash instead of its current uses in the form of commodities, services and sometimes in the form of loans extended to the private sector stipulating importation from the US.

The Egyptian request asked for an additional sum this year in the vicinity of 500 million dollars as a contribution to the efforts exerted to face up to the economic effects and losses that ensued from the September 11th events.

The sums that Egypt has demanded are 330 million dollars as arrears from previous allocations that were not made use of, in addition to another aid in the neighbourhood of 750 million dollars, thus taking the total sum to 1580 million dollars or about 7.3 billion pounds.

HSS, Al-Alam Al-Youm, 12/1/2002

WASHINGTON TURNS DOWN EGYPT'S LETTER OF INTENT ON ANTI- LAUNDERING BILL

The United States has turned down the letter of intent sent to it by the Egyptian government on December 17, 2001 regarding the anti-money laundering draft law, which is expected to be dispatched to the People's Assembly and Shura Council for deliberations late next February.

Washington earlier asked the government to adopt the bill as early as possible.

Washington has also imposed a half-percent credit risks fine on investments and money transfers, which are made through banks and global capital markets.

The US claims that foreign investments in Egypt are facing the risks of sliding into money being laundered at local markets.

Washington's allegations were based on some Egyptian press reports that drug- trafficking revenues account for 16 percent of the country's national economy.

The contents of the reports, which were carried by two small papers, were sent by the US embassy in Cairo to Washington, which, for its part, used the reports as a pretext to force Egypt to issue the anti-money laundering bill.

The draft law also provides for monitoring money inflows and assets of terrorist groups and dealers in drugs and firearms.

The Arab world is concerned over Washington's possible abuse of the bill imposed by a UN Security Council resolution in a bid to "combat" the funds and assets of Muslim and Arab businessmen in the future.

Al-Wafd, 12/2/2002

TRANSFER OF EGYPTIAN RECLAMATION TECHNOLOGY TO CHINA

Chinese Desert Research Institute Manager Li Jioan said an agreement has been reached with the Egyptian government on the transfer of Egyptian desert reclamation technology to China.

A visiting high-level Chinese delegation on Friday (January 11) toured the farming projects of the newly reclaimed land.

The agreement came in the context of exchange of Egyptian-Sino agricultural and economic relations, the head of the Chinese delegation said.

Al-Wafd, 12/2/2002

$450 MILLION FROM "CREDIT LYONNAISE" TO "MISR" COMPANY FOR PETROLEUM PROCESSING

"Misr" Company for Petroleum Processing is holing negotiations with a group of Egyptian banks to provide guarantees required by "Credit Lyonnaise" bank in order to offer it a loan of $450 million in order to set a complex for hydrogenic cracking, a project the first of its kind in the Middle East.

Abd El-Latif Al Samman, Managing director of "Misr" Company for Petroleum Processing said that the Company's board of directors had approved the offer received from Credit Lyonnaise as well as the general conditions of the loan especially the presence of a guarantee from an international export organization confirming the feasibility of the project.

He added that the General Organization of Petroleum's quota in the company reached 47.5% and had offered guarantees to Credit Lyonnaise bank for such a quota.

Negotiations are still underway with the banks to offer other guarantees to obtain the loan.

Al Samman pointed out that the project feasibility study is being reconsidered following the recent big rise in the dollar rate of exchange, however, the ministry of petroleum set up a committee to study the company's position and the project needs in order to ensure that they were met.

Abd El-Latif Al Samman pointed out that refunding LE203 million to the company's shareholders would not constitute a problem as there is insistence on the project execution.

Misr Company for Petroleum Processing had recently decided to refund shareholders' money for the public and closed subscription.

70 thousand shareholders have already been reimbursed so that the number of refunded shares hit 30.9 million shares.

The company has obtained funds from European Investment Bank during 2000 to the value of 100 million euros (equivalent of $106 million). Then a bid was put up so that the company might get an international loan to the value of $465 million from foreign markets in coordination with shareholders and domestic banks.

The company's board of directors have already approved the offer of Credit Lyonnaise Bank and its general conditions of the loan.

Misr Company for Petroleum Processing Capital amounts to LE1.02 billion and has contributions from the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and a group of domestic banks.

It aims at setting up a project for hydrogenic cracking.

It has, so far, been agreed with international companies on the licenses and basic designs of the Hydrogenic cracking units as well as the petrol repair and isomerism units.

It has also been agreed with an international company to run the project.

The envelopes unfolding has been put off till the meeting of funds is done.

M.M.SS Al-Alam Al-Youm, 12/1/2002

A NEW BILL FOR ENCOURAGING EXPORTATION

The Ministry of Foreign Trade has prepared a new bill for encouraging exportation.

The bill, which will shortly be discussed by the People's Assembly and Shura (Advisory) Council as a prelude to endorsing it, provides for granting extra incentives to exporters and removing restrictions that obstruct their export operations.

The bill, due to start operating as of April 1st, does not allow the imposition of any financial burdens on exports or demanding exporters to offer guarantees or subtracting any financial sums from their dues even if such deductions were in return for services related to the export operation unless the Minister of Foreign Trade decrees or approves it.

The bill also provided that no tests or analysis may be done regarding any exported commodity without a decree from the Minister of Foreign Trade determining the nature of the test or analysis and its cost and date of finishing it.

The bill assigned the Exports and Imports Control Authority the responsibility for running the "Drawback" systems.

The bill provides that the profits made through exporting commodities and services be exempted from the tax on trading and industrial activities.

It also provides for setting up a fund for supporting exports, with an artificial personality, affiliated to the Minister of Foreign Trade and aiming at upgrading the competitive edge of Egyptian commodity and service exports and supporting the trading and investment costs of the export operation.

The fund's resources will consist of the allocations made out of the State's budget as well as the proceeds of administrative services offered by the bodies of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the departments affiliated to it, and the proceeds of imports and exports related compensations.

A special account will be opened with one of the banks registered with the Central Bank of Egypt renewable under a decree by the Minister of Foreign Trade.

With that account, such resources shall be deposited and disbursed for the purposes approved by the fund's board of managers after the Premier's approval.

The fund resources may be reserved from one fiscal year to another.

The bill has described the duties of the Ministry of Foreign Trade in the affairs related to exports operations, streamlining export procedures and relieving the burdens borne by exporters.

The Minister of Foreign Trade shall set the rules and procedures that encourage and develop exports and overcome the obstacles before them with a view to increasing them and opening up new markets for them.

MMS Al-Alam Al-Youm, 8/1/2002

AN ORGANIZATION FOR DEVELOPING FOREIGN TRADE SET UP!

The plan of Foreign Trade Ministry this year aims at boosting national economy through encouraging exports and reducing trade balance deficit.

This was said by the Minister of Foreign Trade, Dr. Yussef Boutros Ghali who added that the Ministry's plan included setting up an organization for developing foreign trade on the same lines of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) as a national non-profit institutional entity based on participation by government and the private sector.

It will also provide services for productive and export bodies in an integrated way. A republican draft decree to set up the organization will be submitted.

The Minister of Foreign Trade said that the foreign trade development organization would undertake some activities such as marketing, marketing researches, trade promotion, trade data services as well as the main activities of the job of developing the product in cooperation with internal and external bodies as well as offering a group of services activities supporting of exportation.

The Regional Training Centre for External Trade is to start its actual activity in a few weeks' time after securing the equipment and machinery required for operation at maximum capacity.

Another aim is to organize the performance of Egyptian exporters abroad through setting up companies for marketing Egyptian products abroad with membership of Egyptian producers and exporters and setting up non-governmental societies of Egyptian producers for groups of certain commodities.

MMS Al-Ahram Iktisadi, 7/1/2002

EURO INCREASES EGYPTIAN EXPORTS BY 1%

The Minister of Foreign Trade Dr. Youssef Boutros Ghali expected dealings in the unified European currency, the euro, to have some positive effects on the Egyptian economy in the form of an economic boom that is expected to take place in the region markets which would be open up to other world markets.

He pointed out that dealings in euro would increase the real growth rates of Egypt by 0.1% which, in turn, would increase the Egyptian exports by 1%.

Ghali stated that dealing in the euro would decrease the demand for the dollar on the local market which would relatively relieve nominal pressure on the pound value against the dollar.

He said in an exclusive that the direct dealing in the euro would decrease the risk costs of the commercial and financial dealings with the region countries, a thing which would sharpen the competitive edge of Egyptian commodities and services exported to Europe.

It would also end the problems of the Egyptian exporters who export the Egyptian products to the European markets via some European centres, as the problem of European countries exchange rates fluctuations would ease off.

BAS Al-Alam Al-Youm, 7/1/2002