Influential group slams French 'haste' in Mali

Updated 17 January 2013
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Influential group slams French 'haste' in Mali

DOHA: An Islamic group headed by influential scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi yesterday criticized France's "haste" in launching an offensive against militants in Mali, warning of "dangerous consequences."
"Military intervention has dangerous consequences, whether in killing, destruction, displacement... and famine, which Mali is already suffering from," the Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars said in a statement.
It criticized "France's haste in sparking war before having exhausted all means of a peaceful solution and national reconciliation."
French forces last week went into action in the vast country on the southern edge of the Sahara to help Malian troops contain hardline armed movements, who have occupied the north of Mali during the past 10 months.
The International Union of Muslim Scholars called in its statement for "dialogue and reconciliation as the only correct solution to resolve the problem in Mali," saying it is "ready to continue its efforts" to achieve this.
It also urged "the OIC and African countries to exert serious efforts to end the war and achieve a peaceful settlement."
In the statement, his union called for "reason and wisdom from armed groups" and urged them to "accept dialogue to reach a peaceful and just solution."
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani on Tuesday insisted that force would not solve the problem in Mali and urged dialogue.
FROM: AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE


Israel reopens people, goods crossings to Gaza

Updated 15 min 55 sec ago
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Israel reopens people, goods crossings to Gaza

  • Hamas disavowed the launch and said it was investigating the incident, as fears of a new war rose
  • Near daily protests along the border since March 30 against Israel’s crippling 11-year blockade of the impoverished enclave have sparked repeated clashes with the army

JERUSALEM: Israel ordered the country’s goods and people border crossings with Gaza to be opened on Sunday, just four days after shuttering them following a Palestinian rocket attack that sparked retaliatory strikes.
“The decision comes after a decrease in the violent events in Gaza over the weekend and efforts (militant Islamist Gaza rulers) Hamas made to restrain” demonstrators, a statement from Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman office read.
On Wednesday, Lieberman had ordered the closure of the Kerem Shalom goods crossing and the Erez crossing for people, after a rocket from the Palestinian territory hit a home in southern Israel, prompting the Jewish state to strike 20 Hamas targets in Gaza.
Hamas disavowed the launch and said it was investigating the incident, as fears of a new war rose.
Near daily protests along the border since March 30 against Israel’s crippling 11-year blockade of the impoverished enclave have sparked repeated clashes with the army.
On Friday, thousands again gathered for protests in northern Gaza, but demonstrators largely remained at least 100 meters (yards) from the border.
Hamas officials were seen discouraging protesters from nearing the fence.
Israel had on Wednesday also suspended the delivery of fuel for the Palestinian territory’s power plant that had been trucked daily into Gaza under a deal brokered by the United Nations.
“The decision on the renewal of the fuel from Qatar has been put off as for the time being, and will be examined in a number of days based on the events,” the Sunday statement from Lieberman said.