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Monday, December 24, 2012
Excerpts: Security tops GCC agenda. Egypt opposition united front against Morsi. Egypt draft constitution vote challenged December 24, 2012

Excerpts: Security tops GCC agenda. Egypt opposition united front against
Morsi. Egypt draft constitution vote challenged December 24, 2012

+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 24 Dec.’12:”Security tops Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) summit agenda”, by Saeed Al Khotani
SUBJECT: Security tops GCC agenda

QUOTE: ”concern over the Iranian nuclear program”

FULL TEXT:RIYADH – Leaders of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and
Bahrain will discuss a range of issues during the two-day 33rd Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit which opens in Manama Monday[24 Dec.]

The summit agenda includes political, economic, and security issues, in
particular those relating to GCC’s internal affairs.

Prominent on the agenda is the proposal made by King Abdullah, Custodian of
the Two Holy Mosques, for GCC transition from the stage of cooperation to
union.

The GCC leaders will also discuss developments in Syria, Palestine and in
Arab Spring countries.

GCC foreign ministers met in Manama Sunday[23 Dec.] to finalize the agenda
for the summit, which included topics related to joint Gulf work, regional
and international political issues.

The Ministerial Council reviewed a host of political, economic, social,
environmental, educational and health issues, and followed up on strategic
dialogues and negotiations between the GCC countries and international
blocs.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretariat General called on Iran to
stop interfering in the domestic affairs of member countries.

In a statement issued Sunday[23 Dec.] on the eve of the summit, it said any
differences should be sorted out through peaceful means and direct dialogue.

The statement also stated the right of the member countries to use nuclear
energy for peaceful purposes, drawing attention to their concern over the
Iranian nuclear program. It reiterated the position of the GCC countries,
categorically rejecting the Iranian occupation of the three UAE islands. It
called on Iran to resort to either direct negotiations or international
arbitration to solve the issue.

Any measures taken by Iran to alter the identity or the nature of one or
more of the three islands, which are integral lands of the UAE territories,
will be considered null and void, the statement said.

On the situation in the Arab world, the statement reiterated the GCC’s
position on the Palestinian issue, lauding the recent UN General Assembly’s
resolution to grant Palestine a non-member observer status. It rejected the
Israeli occupation of other Arab lands, its attempts to tamper with the
sanctity of the holy city of Al-Quds and continuation of its Jewish
settlements’ plans

+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 24 Dec.’12:”Opposition to form united front against
Morsi
SUBJECT: Egypt opposition united front against Morsi
QUOTE:”Egypt’s opposition coalition said Sunday (23 Dec.] it was moving
towards forming a single political party to challenge Islamists”
FULL TEXT:CAIRO – Egypt’s opposition coalition said Sunday[23 Dec.] it was
moving toward forming a single political party to challenge Islamists, whose
more disciplined ranks have dominated the ballot box since last year’s
revolution.

Members of the opposition National Salvation Front, whose differences have
split the non-Islamist vote, pledged to keep up the pressure on President
Mohamed Morsi, including through peaceful protests.

Liberals, socialists and other factions that united under the banner of the
Front campaigned unsuccessfully for a “no” vote in a referendum on a new
constitution which, according to an unofficial tally by Morsi’s Islamist
backers Sunday[23 Dec.], secured 64 percent approval on turnout of about a
third of the 51 million eligible voters.

“The Front is very cohesive and the Front is in agreement that it will lead
all battles together,” Mohamed Abul Ghar, head of the Egyptian Social
Democratic Party and a leading member of the Front, told a news conference
after the referendum.

“Not only that, but the parties inside the Front have taken advanced steps
to form a big party inside the Front,” he said.

A statement from the Front said it had learnt “useful lessons” during the
referendum. But it will have little time to organize, as a parliamentary
election is due to be held in about two months.

Egypt’s opposition said Sunday[23 Dec.] it will appeal the referendum.

Polling “fraud and violations” skewed the results of the two-stage
referendum, the final leg of which was held Saturday[22 Dec.], the National
Salvation Front charged.

“We are asking the (electoral) commission to investigate the irregularities
before announcing official results,” a Front member, Amr Hamzawy, told a
Cairo news conference.

“The referendum is not the end of the road. It is only one battle,” said
another member, Abdel Ghaffar Shokr, reading from a Front statement. “We
will continue the fight for the Egyptian people.”

Germany immediately backed the call for a transparent investigation into the
results. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: “The new constitution can
only meet with acceptance if the process of its adoption is beyond
reproach.”

But Westerwelle said it was “not the power of the street but rather the
spirit of compromise and tolerance that should determine the way forward for
Egypt.”

Egyptian state media and Morsi’s supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood said
the constitution was passed with the support of nearly two-thirds of voters,
based on unofficial tallies.

A member of the national electoral commission, Mohamed El-Tanobly, said that
“no official date has been fixed” for the publication of the final
referendum results.

The state news agency MENA had reported they would be released Monday[24
Dec.].

Opposition to the charter have fuelled demonstrations for the past month,
some of them violent, such as clashes that wounded 62 people in Egypt’s
second city of Alexandria on Friday[21 Dec.], the day before the final round
of voting.

The army has deployed troops to reinforce police since December 5 clashes
outside the presidential palace in Cairo killed eight people and injured
more than 600 others.

Morsi and Islamists backing the charter say it is necessary to restore
stability after the early 2011 revolution that toppled president Hosni
Mubarak.

But the opposition sees the new constitution as a wedge to usher in creeping
Islamic law through a weakening of human rights, particularly women’s
rights, and undermine the independence of the judiciary. – Agencies

+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 24 Dec.’12:”Egypt opposition to appeal vote passing
new constitution”, Agence France Presse

SUBJECT: Egypt draft constitution vote challenged

QUOTE:”a low voter turnout of about 32 per cent undermined the plebiscite’s
legitimacy”

FULL TEXT:CAIRO — Egypt’s opposition said on Sunday[23 Dec.] it will appeal
a referendum seen as voting in a new constitution backed by ruling
Islamists, and vowed to keep up a struggle that has spawned weeks of
protests and instability.

Polling “fraud and violations” skewed the results of the two-stage
referendum, the final leg of which was held on Saturday[22 Dec.], the
National Salvation Front charged.

“We are asking the [electoral] commission to investigate the irregularities
before announcing official results,” a front member, Amr Hamzawy, told a
Cairo news conference.

“The referendum is not the end of the road. It is only one battle,” said
another member, Abdel Ghaffar Shokr, reading from a front statement. “We
will continue the fight for the Egyptian people.”

Germany immediately backed the call for a transparent investigation into the
results. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: “The new constitution can
only meet with acceptance if the process of its adoption is beyond
reproach.”

But Westerwelle said it was “not the power of the street but rather the
spirit of compromise and tolerance that should determine the way forward for
Egypt”.

Egyptian state media and President Mohamed Morsi’s supporters in the Muslim
Brotherhood said the constitution was passed with the support of nearly
two-thirds of voters, based on unofficial tallies.

A member of the national electoral commission, Mohamed Tanobly, told AFP
that “no official date has been fixed” for the publication of the final
referendum results.

The state news agency MENA had reported they would be released on Monday[24
Dec.].

Opposition to the charter has fuelled demonstrations for the past month,
some of them violent, such as clashes that wounded 62 people in Egypt’s
second city of Alexandria on Friday[21 Dec.], the day before the final round
of voting.

The army has deployed troops to reinforce police since December 5 clashes
outside the presidential palace in Cairo killed eight people and injured
more than 600 others.

Morsi and Islamists backing the charter say it is necessary to restore
stability after the early 2011 revolution that toppled president Hosni
Mubarak.

But the opposition sees the new constitution as a wedge to usher in Islamic
law and undermine the independence of the judiciary.

It accuses Morsi of steamrolling through the referendum without consensus on
the charter, and argues that a low voter turnout of around 32 per cent
undermined the plebiscite’s legitimacy.

Approval of the constitution would trigger parliamentary elections in two
months’ time to replace an Islamist-dominated assembly that was dissolved by
Egypt’s constitutional court before Morsi’s election in June.

In the meantime, all legislative business is being handled by the senate,
also under the sway of Islamists.

In a gesture to “national dialogue”, Morsi on Saturday[22 Dec.] appointed 90
additional senators, including eight women and 12 Christians

==========
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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