Palestinian PM Fayyad resigns

Updated 16 April 2013
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Palestinian PM Fayyad resigns

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad formally presented his resignation to president Mahmud Abbas on Saturday, a Palestinian official said.
“Fayyad met Abbas for half an hour in the president’s headquarters in Ramallah in the West Bank and officially handed him his written resignation,” the official told AFP.
Abbas and Fayyad have been at loggerheads as criticism of the prime minister’s economic policies has mounted in the ruling Fatah movement, but Washington has lobbied hard for the US-educated economist to remain in post.
Late on Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned Abbas to press him to find common ground with his prime minister, Palestinian officials said.
Rumours that Fayyad would either resign or be told to step down by Abbas have been rife in recent weeks after longstanding differences between the two men came to a head over the finance portfolio.
Finance minister Nabil Qassis announced on March 2 that he was standing down. Fayyad agreed to the resignation but Abbas, who was abroad at the time, rejected it.
Fayyad held the finance portfolio as well as the premiership before Qassis’s appointment in May 2012.
A planned meeting Thursday at which a senior Fatah official had said Fayyad intended to hand in his resignation was postponed after Washington insisted that to the best of its knowledge the prime minister was “sticking around.”
Last week, the Fatah Revolutionary Council for the first time openly criticized the Fayyad government’s economic policy.
Abbas’s Palestinian Authority is in serious financial crisis, partly as a result of non-disbursement of promised foreign funding, although the US Congress quietly unblocked $500 million (382 million euros) in aid last month.
The international community credits Fayyad with building a sound institutional framework for the Palestinian Authority in the areas of the occupied West Bank under its control.
His resignation could hamper implementation of an agreement with Israel which Kerry announced this week to “promote economic development in the West Bank.”


Tunisia reopens consulate in Libyan capital Tripoli

Updated 21 April 2018
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Tunisia reopens consulate in Libyan capital Tripoli

  • Most embassies left Tripoli in 2014 when heavy fighting broke out between rival factions.
  • Only a few embassies came back when a UN-backed administration took office in 2016.

Tripoli: Tunisia has reopened its consulate in the Libyan capital, the Libya foreign ministry said on Saturday, the latest mission to return to Tripoli.
Most embassies left Tripoli in 2014 when heavy fighting broke out between rival factions and few came back when a UN-backed administration took office in 2016.
The Tunisian consulate resumed work after talks between the two countries, the Libyan foreign ministry said. The Tunisian foreign ministry declined to comment, but a diplomatic source confirmed the move.
Tunisian had closed its mission 2015 after ten staff were kidnapped.
In recent weeks some Western embassies have sent diplomats for longer stays to Tripoli as security has improved, although few stay full time on the ground.
The Italian and Turkish embassies as well as the UN mission are among the few open.
Tripoli is formally run by a Government of National Accord backed by the UN but in reality controlled by a patchwork of armed groups.
Big street clashes between rival groups have ended, but several rockets which hit Tripoli airport this week were a reminder that security remains shaky.
The UN has been trying to meditate to produce a national government and end the rift between the administration in Tripoli and a rival one in the east, part of a conflict gripping the oil producer since the toppling of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.