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Egyptian students back from Ukraine after evacuation via Poland – Arab News

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CAIRO: Egyptian students returning from Ukraine via Poland arrived in their country on Saturday on board two Air Cairo planes.
Egypt’s government announced on Friday that it had sent two planes to Poland to return 177 Egyptian students.
Egypt’s Ambassador to Poland Hatem Taj El-Din said his embassy “has received hundreds of phone calls from Egyptian students stranded in Ukraine.”
He added: “The embassy is coordinating with the Polish side to facilitate the entry of stranded Egyptian students.” He said 500 Egyptians have arrived in Poland so far.
Mohamed Abdel-Aty, first secretary of the Egyptian Embassy in Ukraine, said the evacuation of Egyptians is taking place in a more disciplined manner than in the initial days of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
He added that coordination is underway with the Egyptian community and its leaders in various cities in Ukraine, as well as with the Ukrainian Supreme Authority for Emergency Management to determine safe paths and the presence of a police escort on buses moving to the border.
“There is a large number of the Egyptian community in Ukraine who managed to cross the borders,” said Abdel-Aty, adding that they “are being transported in cooperation with the Egyptian embassies in neighboring countries such as Romania, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.”
Egyptian embassies in countries neighboring Ukraine are trying “to find solutions to the problems facing … Egyptians in the eastern border cities, namely Kherson, Kharkiv and Sumy, and to find solutions to evacuate them,” he said, adding that these cities are located in a region where there is heavy fighting.
There are initiatives with the International Red Cross in eastern Ukraine to negotiate with Ukrainian and Russian authorities to find safe corridors to get Egyptians out of those three cities, Abdel-Aty said, adding that his embassy’s goal is to evacuate all Egyptians.
CAIRO: Radwa Helmi made history on Saturday as the first woman judge to sit on the bench of Egypt’s State Council, a top court in the Arab country.
Helmi, making her appearance in a Cairo courthouse, was among 98 women appointed last year to join the council, one of Egypt’s main judicial bodies, following a decision by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
“The 5th of March has become a new historical day for Egyptian women,” said the head of the National Council for Women (NCW), Maya Mursi.
The move came ahead of the March 8 International Women’s Day.
Women in Egypt, the most populous Arab country, have been fighting an uphill battle for years to secure their rights.
Egypt has hundreds of women lawyers but it took decades for one to move up the judicial ladder and become a judge.
The first was Tahany Al-Gebaly, appointed in 2003 to Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court.
Gebaly held that post for a decade before being removed in 2012 by then president Muhammad Mursi.
Although no law bars women from being justices in Egypt, the judiciary in the conservative Muslim-majority country has traditionally been a male preserve.
The State Council was set up in 1946 as an independent body which mainly adjudicates in administrative disputes and disciplinary cases.
Since Egypt’s founding as a modern state in the 19th century, women have been marginalized.
Women gained the right to vote and run for public office in 1956, but their personal rights have remained flouted.
Women currently hold about a quarter of cabinet posts and some 168 seats in the 569-member parliament.
In May 2021, the grand imam of the prestigious Cairo-based Al-Azhar, Egypt’s highest Sunni institution, weighed in on the debate.
Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb said no religious edict prevents women from holding high-ranking posts, traveling alone or having an equitable share of inheritance rights.
TEHRAN: Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Saturday after talks in Tehran that they agreed on an approach to resolve issues crucial in efforts to revive the country’s 2015 nuclear deal. 
Both aimed to resolve a standoff over the origin of uranium particles found at old but undeclared sites by early June, they said in a joint statement. 
The announcement came shortly before Russia said it would seek guarantees from the US before it backs the deal, potentially scuppering hopes an agreement could be wrapped up quickly.
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said the UN agency and Iran “did have a number of important matters that we needed … to resolve,” but that they had now “decided to try a practical, pragmatic approach” to overcome them.
“It would be difficult to believe or to imagine that such an important return to such a comprehensive agreement like the (nuclear deal) would be possible if the agency and Iran would not be seeing eye to eye on how to resolve these important safeguards issues,” Grossi said.
Mohammed Eslami, president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the two sides had come to the “conclusion that some documents which need to be ex- changed between the IAEA and the Iranian organization should be exchanged” by May 22.
Russia said that Western sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine had become a stumbling block for the Iran deal, warning the West that Russian national interests would have to be taken into account.
Eslami said the men had reached an “agreement” that would see Iran “presenting documents that would remove the ambiguities about our country.” Eslami said: “God willing, we will do this by Khordad, which is a phase of the agreement in Vienna.” Khordad is a month in the Iranian calendar that starts on May 22 this year.
Eslami did not elaborate on what the documents would discuss. However, Iran has made previous conciliatory gestures before meetings of the IAEA’s membership. Its next board of governors meeting begins on Monday.
Grossi met later with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who according to his ministry’s website expressed hope that “negotiations and understandings” reached between the IAEA and Iran would pave the way for further implementation of the agreements.
Grossi also met Mohammad Mokhber, Iran’s senior vice president. According to state-run IRNA news agency, Mokhber said that “Tehran welcomes the expansion of future cooperation with the IAEA for the peaceful use of nuclear knowledge.”
Meanwhile, on Saturday, Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard unveiled what it described as two new underground missile and drone bases in the country. State TV said the bases contained surface-to-surface missiles and armed drones capable of “hiding themselves from enemy radar.”
(With AFP, Reuters and AP)
NADOR: When 2,500 migrants stormed Morocco’s border with a Spanish enclave this week, Mahjoub Abdellah wasn’t among the hundreds who made it across — but he is determined to try again.
The 22-year-old from the war-devastated region of Darfur in western Sudan was nursing a foot injury on Friday at a makeshift camp in a Moroccan forest near Melilla, a tiny Spanish territory which he sees as his route to “a dignified life.”
“If I get a chance, I’ll try again,” he said.
Spanish authorities say Wednesday’s incident was the biggest such crossing attempt on record, with almost 500 managing to cross into EU territory.
Melilla and Ceuta, Spain’s other tiny North African enclave, have the EU’s only land borders with Africa.
That makes them a magnet for migrants desperate to escape poverty, violence and hunger both at home and during their journeys across Africa.
“I’m tired. I spent three months living in this forest, under the rain,” Abdellah said.
“Even animals couldn’t live in these conditions.”
He plans to leave the drab town of Nador, near Melilla, to try to earn some money elsewhere — and prepare another attempt.
Spain says over 800 migrants managed to cross Melilla’s heavily fortified 12-km frontier this week, compared to 1,092 in the whole of last year.
Melilla, a welcoming city for sunseeking European tourists, sits a stone’s throw across the border from the Gourougou Massif, a forested mountain that has long served as a grim hideout for migrants hoping to reach European territory.
To do so, they have to brave successive layers of razor wire, ditches and high fences — and an at times violent game of cat-and-mouse with both Moroccan and Spanish security forces.
Spain says over 800 migrants managed to cross Melilla’s heavily fortified 12-km frontier this week, compared to 1,092 in the whole of last year.
They said the migrants had thrown rocks and used “violence” against security forces.
Moroccan Association for Human Rights said some 30 migrants were injured in Wednesday’s rush, three or four of them seriously.
On Friday, Moroccan police were deployed along the fence near the town of Beni Ansar as migrants walked in freezing gusts of wind along the rugged paths of Gourougou. Ahmed Mohamed, another migrant from Sudan, also tried to reach Melilla on Wednesday.
He is just 17 years old, but has lost count of how many times he has attempted the crossing since he arrived in Morocco eight months ago.
After his failed attempts, he is sent back each time to the Casablanca or Safi regions, hundreds of kilometers away.
“One day, I’m going to achieve my dream,” he said. “Back home, there’s no hope any more.”
Like many of his companions, he said he entered Morocco via neighboring Algeria, but he prefers not to reveal the exact route.
Another 17-year-old, a Chadian girl with a tattooed forehead, begged to be let into Europe.
“Open the borders, help us! We’re sick of being chased and harassed,” she said.
She had not tried to cross this week but would stop at nothing to succeed.
In mid-May 2021, Spain was caught off guard when more than 10,000 people swam or used small inflatable boats to enter Ceuta as Moroccan border forces looked the other way.
The incident, at the height of a diplomatic spat between Rabat and Madrid, showed how heavily Spain relies on Moroccan cooperation to rein in clandestine migration.
ABU DHABI: A senior US diplomat has apologized to thousands of Afghans stranded in the UAE months after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban.
The diplomat spoke to the stranded Afghans, promising to speed repatriation for some to America while acknowledging that may not be possible as authorities work to confirm their identities and backgrounds.
The visit comes as America still struggles with how to handle the tens of thousands who piled into planes in the hectic final days of Afghanistan’s US-backed government, the end of a 20-year experiment in replacing hard-line Taliban rule with a nascent democracy.
After meeting with the Afghans, the diplomat and other officials spoke to journalists on the condition they not be identified, citing the “sensitive and ongoing natures of the issues discussed.” The diplomat expressed personal frustration about delays. But he also acknowledged that some of the Afghans — including journalists and prosecutors — might never get US visas. Thousands of Afghans have held protests over their uncertain situation.
Around 12,000 Afghans remain in Abu Dhabi, with some 10,000 at Emirates Humanitarian City.
“The problem is nobody knows what’s going on,” said Ahmad Shah Mohibi, the founder of a group called Rise to Peace, which has been trying to help Afghans there. “The US has a moral obligation” to help them. Around 12,000 Afghans remain in Abu Dhabi, with some 10,000 at Emirates Humanitarian City and another 2,000 at Tasameem Workers City in the capital, Mohibi said.
They represent a cross-section of those who fled the Taliban’s lightning advance in August, including journalists, judges, prosecutors, LGBT rights activists and religious and ethnic minorities, he said.
Among those in Abu Dhabi are former soldiers who identify themselves as belonging to so-called “Zero” Units. There are about 2,500 of them, including family members.  Evacuation flights had been going on until November, but then suddenly stopped, leaving the thousands stranded in Abu Dhabi. There are tens of thousands more still stuck in Afghanistan.
The senior US official also said that two measles outbreaks among the refugees, concerns over coronavirus vaccinations and later, CDC demands for full medical examinations had slowed down the process of getting Afghans to the US.

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