Foreign Ministry takes back agenda from intelligence, minister says

The Foreign Ministry has restored its authority over several issues that the intelligence services began taking care of under the rule of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said Tuesday.

Egyptian intelligence handled Palestinian issues and relations with Nile Basin countries and Israel, among other affairs that had previously been in the ministry's charge.

Egyptian intelligence also played a vital role in dealings with Hamas leaders in Gaza and relations between Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

During a meeting of the People’s Assembly Arab Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Amr said that the ministry’s strategy regarding Egypt's regional role would be handed to the new president.

The minister refused to disclose the ministry’s role in the recent diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia, saying the nature of diplomacy entails keeping its means private and adding that the ministry faced unreasonable criticism over the issue.

Amr also discussed dialogues with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates regarding problems their investments face in Egypt. He said Egypt banned former Libyan regime figures from traveling and froze their assets after Libya had requested their extradition.

Mohamed al-Saeed Idris, head of the parliamentary committee, warned against Israeli nuclear weapons and the risk they present to the region and to Egyptian national security.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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