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Friday, August 3, 2012
Excerpts: Egypts new PM. Palestinian Authority bid for UN recognition August 03, 2012

Excerpts: Egypt's new PM. Palestinian Authority bid for UN recognition
August 03, 2012

+++SOURCE: Egyptian Gazette 3 Aug.'12:"Egypt's little known new PM a
surprise pick", Agence France Presse

SUBJECT: Egypt's new PM
QUOTE:"Qandil . . .stressed that his government would comprise technocrats"

FULL TEXT:CAIRO - Before his appointment as Egypt's prime minister, little
was known about Hisham Qandil, an irrigation minister who last made
headlines for persuading a suicidal employee not to jump out of a window.

Qandil, who selected his new cabinet on Wednesday[1 Aug.], is now charged
with accomplishing an ambitious promise by President Mohamed Morsi to
improve security and the livelihoods of Egyptians in the space of several
For weeks after Morsi took office on June 30, the Egyptian media surmised he
would pick a premier from a list of better known candidates who would
satisfy a mercurial coalition of allies that reluctantly supported his

The choice of the technocrat Qandil disappointed Morsi's secular allies, the
more so because the new premier may, like Morsi, be an Islamist.

A closely cropped beard with no moustache - in the fashion of ultra-devout
Muslims in Egypt - adorns Qandil's face. Born in 1962, he is a fledgling
when measured in Egyptian politician years.

His recent appearances in rather oversized suits have accentuated his young
age compared with his hoary predecessor Kamal Ganzouri, who once declared
that although many youths had not heard of him, their parents certainly had.

Qandil was a senior manager at the African Development Bank before heading
Egypt's Nile Water Sector. He was appointed a minister in 2011 after
president Hosni Mubarak's overthrow in a popular uprising.

The state newspaper Al-Ahram reported in June that Qandil had intervened to
talk an employee out of jumping from the eighth floor of the ministry.

A father of five, Qandil graduated from Cairo University's Faculty of
Engineering before doing post-graduate studies in the United States.

In 1993, he received a doctorate from the University of North Carolina.

Qandil has been forced to deny that he is a member of Morsi's Muslim
Brotherhood, or that he belonged to any party, but that has not stopped
Egyptians from gossiping about the new premier's dogma.

On social networking sites, Qandil is said to be so devout that he banned
his children from listening to Western music, and that he does not even own
a television.

Such gossip is impossible to verify, but it is a sign of suspicion towards
Morsi, who barely won the election after many voters supported his rival,
former Mubarak premier Ahmed Shafiq, in an attempt to block the Islamists
from office.

After his appointment last week, Qandil called for support from all
Egyptians and stressed that his government would comprise technocrats.

+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 3 Aug.'12:"UN bid or US aid? Tough option for
SUBJECT: Palestinian Authority bid for UN recognition

QUOTES: " 'We . . . decided to go (to the General Assembly) . . .' ,Fatah
leader." ; "Last month, the Palestinian Authority recieved a green light
from the Arab League to seek UN recognition."

FULL TEXT:RAMALLAH, West Bank – An internal document says Palestinians must
prepare for possible harsh reactions by the US and Israel if they go ahead
with plans to seek UN recognition of “Palestine” as a non-member observer
state in the General Assembly.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, backed by the Arab League, is ready to
take this step but hasn’t decided on when. A senior Palestinian official
says Abbas leans toward waiting until after the US presidential election, in
line with a US request. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because
of the sensitivity of the issue.

The internal Palestinian document, prepared by the PLO’s Negotiations
Support Unit and obtained by The Associated Press Thursday, laid out the
pros and cons of seeking UN recognition.

On the downside, both Israel and the US have a whole arsenal of punitive
measures at their disposal, the document said. The US could close the PLO
mission in Washington, suspend millions of dollars of aid to the
Palestinians or withhold contributions to any UN agency the Palestinians try
to join, the document said.

Possible Israel reactions could range from canceling interim peace deals,
annexing parts of the West Bank or increasing restrictions on Palestinian
trade and movement, the document said.

The document said all Palestinian institutions should get ready for any of
these scenarios. The paper was presented to the Arab League last month and
Wednesday [1 Aug.]was discussed by leaders of Abbas’ Fatah movement.

“We discussed the different scenarios ... and decided to go (to the General
Assembly) regardless of the pressure and the threats,” said Mahmoud Aloul, a
Fatah leader. “The date is up to the Arab League ... For us, the sooner the

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Thursday that the date for
presenting the application of the Palestinian bid to the United Nations will
be set in the Arab Ministerial council’s meeting scheduled on September 5.

During separate meetings with councils and representatives of France,
Germany, India, Brazil, South Africa, and the US, Erekat said that the
Palestinian bid to the United Nations to seek a non-member state status is a
decision taken by Palestinians and Arabs.

He added that to recognize Palestine as a non-member state will not harm the
final status negotiations, the aim of which is to implement UN Security
Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and end the Israeli occupation that began in

He called on the international community to intervene immediately to compel
the Israeli government to re-open the Palestinian offices and institutions
in East Jerusalem closed since 2001, mainly the Orient House, and the
Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce, as well as to stop all settlement activities,
including in East Jerusalem.

Erekat urged Israel to accept the two-state-solution and release all
Palestinian prisoners, particularly prisoners arrested before the end of

Last month, the Palestinian Authority received a green light from the Arab
League to seek UN recognition. – Agencies

Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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