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The New Arab Staff

Egypt parliament ridiculed for national security debate about 'kites' being potential spy equipment

Parliament was mocked for the topic of the debate [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 June, 2020

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The Egyptian parliament is being criticised for using a session to discuss the dangers of kites for children.
The topic of discussion at an Egyptian parliamentary session was the subject of mockery this week after a parliamentarian raised an issue over the dangers of children playing with kites, calling it a threat to national security.

The suggestion prompted ridicule and anger on social media, with Egyptians demanding parliament to focus on legitimate concerns, rather than “silly” issues.

Khaled Abu Talib, a member of the Parliament’s Defence and National Security Committee, submitted a request for a briefing to the prime minister, warning him of the dangers of kites to national security, as they may be equipped with surveillance cameras to photograph important and vital installations, according to his request.

In his request, Abu Talib said playing with kites was an important part of childhood, but argued that with technological advancements, they can pose a threat to the lives of children, and national security.

Other parliamentarians thought the topic was not suitable for session.

In his comment on the matter, a member of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Tantawi, said that there are issues that are much more important than such a request regarding the kite, “which is no more than a game for children in the end”.

He also questioned the validity of Talib’s claim a kite could be used to spy on others, and accused parliament of not having their priorities in order.

Building and Development Party spokesperson, Khaled al-Sharif said there are far more important issues to discuss, such as the Renaissance Dam.

Egypt agrees on dam delay

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have agreed that Addis Ababa will delay filling a mega-dam as part of a comprehensive deal on the project that has raised tensions between the three countries, the Egyptian presidency said on Friday.

The office of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said "a legally binding final agreement for all parties stressing the prevention of any unilateral moves, including the filling of the dam, will be sent in a letter to the UN Security Council to consider it in its session discussing the Renaissance Dam issue next Monday."

Egypt, which views the hydroelectric barrage as an existential threat, appealed last week to the UN Security Council to intervene in the dispute.

Addis Ababa followed suit complaining about Cairo, while Khartoum expressed its concern to the UN about Ethiopia unilaterally filling without a comprehensive deal being inked first.

Cairo fears the dam would severely cut its Nile water supply, which provides nearly 97 percent of the country's freshwater needs.

Ethiopia says the dam is indispensable for its electrification and development needs.

The Nile is a lifeline supplying both water and electricity to the 10 countries it snakes through.

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