Wednesday’s papers: Obama ‘wrings’ Chinese leader, Muslim Brotherhood internal crisis

Al-Ahram leads today with a report on US President Barack Obama’s success at “wringing” an agreement from his Chinese “counterpart” Hu Jintau over sanctions on Iran. Over the course of a 90-minute meeting, Obama was reportedly able to convince the Chinese leader of the “necessity” of sanctions if Iran continues to develop its nuclear program. The meeting between the two leaders came at the end of a two-day summit on nuclear security in the American capital.

Al-Ahram also reports in a related story that Egypt has emphasized the importance of “expanding the scope” of international efforts to combat nuclear terrorism, requesting that the United Nations General Assembly and the International Atomic Energy Agency spearhead the initiative. The request was made by Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit during a dinner ceremony celebrating the end of the summit.

Al-Ahram also gives prominent placement to a statement by Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Hany Hilal announcing the cancellation of student "affiliate" enrollment in universities. Previously, prospective undergraduates who failed their college entry exams could instead pay an unspecified amount of money, granting them admission as “affiliates” of the college. The decision will be enforced at the start of the next academic year. In the meantime, Hilal indicated that he will continue to hold “open dialogue regarding the acceptance policies of universities as well as the development of the secondary educational system.”

Al-Akhbar leads with the headline “LE200 billion from the national to be allocated for subsidies and wages,” referring to an announcement by Minister of Finance Youssef Boutros-Ghali during a meeting yesterday with members of the Shura Council’s Economic Committee. Boutros-Ghali said that Egypt’s internal debt indicators remain within the “limits of safety,” and are “undergoing a continuous improvement.”

Al-Akhbar also covers Egypt’s “rejection” of Israel’s decision to distance Palestinians from the West Bank. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hossam Zaki expressed the Egyptian government’s “grave concern” over the potential ramifications of the Israeli decision. The paper also reports that Zaki communicated Egypt’s apprehension during a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell, describing Israel’s actions as a “direct contradiction of their claims of commitment to the peace process.”

Al-Shorouq leads with details of the “crisis between Brotherhood MPs and reformists.” Members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau have submitted to the organization’s parliamentary faction a folder of documents for an official party formation—an act that caused significant “distress” to the Brotherhood’s Shura Council, who reportedly consider themselves as the Brotherhood’s highest authority.

In a statement to Al-Shorouq, a member of the Brotherhood’s Shura Council said: “The submitting of the party application documents to the parliamentary faction downplays the role of the Shura Council at a time when we are seeking to make changes to reinforce its integrity as the Brotherhood’s highest legislative and administrative authority.” The Brotherhood is expected to make its final decision regarding the formation of a party by the end of this week.

Confrontations between security forces and a crowd of 200 protestors staging a demonstration in front of the Supreme Court yesterday are also featured in Al-Shorouq. Members of the pro-democracy movement Kefaya were protesting security forces’ brutal assault of political activists during 6 April demonstrations. According to Al-Shorouq, yesterday’s demonstration was attended by Ghad Party founder Ayman Nour, and at least two members of the People’s Assembly, as well as affiliates of the Revolutionary Socialist and Egyptian Women for Change movements, all of whom joined in a chorus of chants and slogans such as, “Respect and reverence to those beaten on 6 April.” Security forces responded to the chants by attacking several journalists and confiscating their cameras. Al-Shorouq claims that one commanding officer was heard ordering his men not to differentiate between men and women in their attempts to control the crowd.

Al-Wafd looks at an American report on the current situation in Egypt. Under a headline likening the current regime to a “setting sun,” the report, released yesterday, states that “Egypt is currently undergoing a critical stage in its history,” before adding “Egyptian people are anticipating widespread rejuvenation which will follow the imminent disappearance of the ruling regime.” The report was published yesterday in Foreign Policy magazine.

Egypt’s newspapers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run
Rose el-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party’s Policies Secretariat
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouq:Daily, privately owned
Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party
Youm7: Weekly, privately owned
Sawt el-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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