Carter urges Palestinian elections

Updated 02 May 2015
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Carter urges Palestinian elections

RAMALLAH: Former US President Jimmy Carter on Saturday urged Palestinians to hold elections to end the de facto division of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
He was speaking at a joint news conference with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in the Palestinian political capital Ramallah in the West Bank.
“We hope that sometime we’ll see elections all over the Palestinian area and east Jerusalem and Gaza and also in the West Bank,” said Carter, a member of the independent Elders Group of global leaders.
No election has been held in the occupied territories for nearly a decade.
Abbas’s presidential mandate expired in 2009, but he remains in office since there has been no election. The Palestinian parliament has also not met since 2007.
In 2006, a year after Abbas was elected, Hamas won the most recent Palestinian legislative elections. Differences between Abbas’s Fatah party and the Hamas then led to the so-called “inqissam,” or division.
Despite the rivals signing a reconciliation agreement a year ago, Hamas is reluctant to hand over power in Gaza to an independent Palestinian unity government they formed.
Carter had also planned to go to Gaza, but the visit was canceled at the last moment.


Iran will defend itself against any aggression: foreign minister

Updated 37 sec ago
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Iran will defend itself against any aggression: foreign minister

  • Iraq said they will act as an intermediary between US and Iran
  • Iran said they proposed to sign a non-aggression pact with Gulf countries

BAGHDAD: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Sunday that Tehran would strongly defend itself against any military or economic aggression and called on European states to do more to preserve a nuclear agreement his country signed with them.
Speaking in a news conference in Baghdad with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed Al-Hakim, Zarif said his country wanted to build balanced relations with its Gulf Arab neighbors and that it had proposed signing a non-aggression pact with them.
Iraq stands with Iran and is willing to act as an intermediary between its neighbor and the United States, Hakim said, adding that Baghdad does not believe an “economic blockade” is fruitful, a reference to US sanctions.