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G7 calls for ‘unity’ of Iraq as Kurds meet to hold independence referendum.

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The G7 group of powerful nations has emphasized its continual support for “unity and territorial integrity” of Iraq, calling on both Baghdad and Erbil to take their military cooperation as a model for a political cooperation after the defeat of ISIS in the country. The statement came out as the top leadership in Kurdistan Region, including President Masoud Barzani and Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani were in a meeting to discuss holding independence referendum in 2017. The international G7 group includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and were also joined by the High Representative of the European Union who met in Italy on April 10-11. The Kurdistan Region has already discussed holding the independence referendum with three members of the G7, the US, France, and the United Kingdom, according to a senior Kurdish official. “We reassert our continued support for the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Iraq”, the G7 statement said.

Egypt, Russia discuss boosting military cooperation in Cairo

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Egypt’s Defence Minister Sedky Sobhi discussed with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin means of bolstering military cooperation during talks in Cairo on Tuesday, Egypt’s army said in a statement. The two leaders looked at efforts to “boost cooperation…and exchanged views on the regional and international developments and effects on security and stability in the Middle East,” said the statement, published on the army’s official Facebook page. In October 2015, Egypt and Russia held military exercises on Egyptian soil for the first time. Egypt is in talks with Russia to resume flights to its popular Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, over a year since the bombing of a Russian passenger jet that killed all 224 on board and prompted a suspension of air traffic. Egypt is struggling to revive tourism, a key source of hard currency, which has been hard hit since the 2011 uprising ushered in a period of political turmoil.

Egypt's army commanders discuss military cooperation with top US general

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Egypt’s Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi met with the commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) Joseph L Votel on Sunday to discuss military cooperation between the two countries.In an official statement on its Facebook page, the Egyptian army said the meeting, which took place in Cairo, tackled regional and international efforts to counter terrorism amid latest developments in the MENA region. The senior US commander also met with Egyptian Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Mahmoud Hegazy, the two discussing a number of issues of common interest, including strengthening cooperation in the military field and sharing expertise between the two armies. The meeting was attended by a number of military leaders, according to the army’s statement. “Egypt is one of our most important partners in the region,” General Votel was quoted as saying in the press release. CENTCOM’s area of responsibility covers 20 nations at the intersection of three continents and globally vital commercial sea lanes, flight corridors, pipelines, and overland routes

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