PLO: US veto of Fayyad ‘blatant discrimination’

Salam Fayyad
Updated 12 February 2017
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PLO: US veto of Fayyad ‘blatant discrimination’

JEDDAH: The US decision to block the appointment of Salam Fayyad as UN envoy to Libya has been dubbed “blatant discrimination” by a top Palestinian official.
Donald Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley said she did not support the appointment of Fayyad, a former Palestinian prime minister, to the role.
“For too long the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel,” said the US ambassador.
Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), rejected the move by the US.
“This is a blatant discrimination on nationality basis and we absolutely reject it. We call on the (US President Donald) Trump administration to immediately reconsider their decision,” Erekat told Arab News over the phone on Saturday.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday defended his choice of Fayyad as UN peace envoy to Libya after the US blocked the appointment.
The decision to put forward his candidacy “was solely based on Mr. Fayyad’s recognized personal qualities and his competence for that position,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
“United Nations staff serve strictly in their personal capacity. They do not represent any government or country,” he said.
Erekat said that Fayyad is a “very qualified figure.”
“The UN secretary-general chose him for the designated position... based on his high qualifications. For the Americans to block his appointment only because he is Palestinian is sheer discrimination against Palestinians,” Erekat said.
“The US veto seriously indicates that the US political compass diverts from the right path when it comes to taking decisions that affect international norms and practices.
“For us, it is a source of pride that Salam Fayyad was nominated for this position especially that it was coming from the most important international entity, the UN. We call on our brotherly countries to support the Palestinian demand from the US to immediately reconsider its position.
“Fayyad’s nomination has nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli struggle or the Palestinian cause.”


EU efforts to save nuke deal ‘not sufficient,’ says Iran’s Zarif

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wants the European Union to do more to save the nuclear deal after the exit of the US. (AFP)
Updated 56 min 52 sec ago
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EU efforts to save nuke deal ‘not sufficient,’ says Iran’s Zarif

  • Several foreign firms have already halted their Iranian operations while they wait to see how talks within the EU will play out.
  • Zarif spoke after meeting with EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, who has been on a two-day visit to Tehran.

TEHRAN: Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Sunday that European efforts to save the nuclear deal after the exit of the US were not sufficient.

“The cascade of decisions by EU companies to end their activities in Iran makes things much more complicated,” Zarif told reporters.

He spoke after meeting with EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, who has been on a two-day visit to Tehran — the first by a Western official since Washington announced its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal earlier this month.

“With the exit of the United States from the nuclear deal, the expectations of the Iranian public toward the European Union have increased... and the EU’s political support for the nuclear agreement is not sufficient,” Zarif added in comments carried by state broadcaster IRIB.

Several foreign firms have already halted their Iranian operations while they wait to see how talks within the EU will play out.

French oil major Total said last week it would abandon its $4.8-billion investment project in Iran unless it was granted a waiver from Washington.

Another French energy giant, Engie, said Saturday it would cease engineering work in Iran before November, when US sanctions are due to be reimposed.

“The European Union must take concrete supplementary steps to increase its investments in Iran. The commitments of the EU to apply the nuclear deal are not compatible with the announcement of probable withdrawal by major European companies,” Zarif said.

Canete said he recognized that time was short and that clear measures were needed from Europe to protect investments and oil purchases.

Iran has threatened to resume industrial uranium enrichment “without limit” if its interests are not protected.