PLO intensifies talks for Palestinian National Council session

President Mahmoud Abbas
Updated 13 August 2017
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PLO intensifies talks for Palestinian National Council session

AMMAN: The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee decided Saturday to intensify discussions aimed at reaching an agreement to hold a full session of the Palestine National Council (PNC) parliament-in-exile.
The decision follows a recommendation by the Fatah Central Committee to convene a full session of the PNC in order to elect a new executive committee and central council, and to approve a political program.
Hamadeh Faraneh, a member of the PNC, welcomed the call but expressed reservations about the idea of holding the meeting in Ramallah.
“The problems with holding the PNC in Ramallah are twofold,” Faraneh said. “It needs both a political consensus and a legal quorum.”
Political consensus would require national reconciliation, at least within the PLO factions. And in order to have a legal session, members would have to appear in person and not via video conferencing, Faraneh told Arab News. Some PNC members living outside of Palestine may refuse to come to occupied areas or may be barred by the Israelis from entering.
The question of holding the PNC outside of Ramallah could produce political problems with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Following the suspension of security coordination with Israel, Abbas is no longer as mobile as he was. And holding a PNC session in nearby Amman or Cairo might be seen as having political meanings or weakening the independence of the PLO.
One possibility, Faraneh suggests, is to hold the PNC session in Algiers. The 1988 session held in Algiers witnessed the declaration of the state of Palestine by Yasser Arafat.


Former Egyptian president Morsi buried in Cairo: lawyer

Updated 48 min 16 sec ago
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Former Egyptian president Morsi buried in Cairo: lawyer

  • Morsi, was suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention, says state TV
  • The former president died aged 67

CAIRO: Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi was buried on Tuesday in eastern Cairo, one of his lawyers said, a day after he collapsed in court and died.

“He was buried in Medinat Nasr, in eastern Cairo, with his family present. The funeral prayer was said in Tora prison hospital” where he was declared dead on Monday, his lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud said.

Egyptian state television announced that Morsi, 67, who was ousted by the military on July 3, 2013, had been attending a court session at his trial on charges of espionage and links with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

It was reported that he collapsed in the courtroom inside a glass cage he and others had been sharing, before his body was transferred to a local hospital.

Morsi died from a sudden heart attack, state television reported early on Tuesday, citing a medical source. The source said the former president, who was suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention.

Attorney-General Nabil Sadiq issued a statement saying: “The accused, Mohammed Morsi, in the presence of the other defendants inside the cage, fell unconscious, where he was immediately transferred to the hospital.

“The preliminary medical report stated that by external medical examination they found no pulse, no breathing, and his eyes were unresponsive to light. He died at 4:50 p.m. and no apparent injuries to the body were found.”

Sadiq added he had ordered the transfer of teams from the Supreme State Security Prosecution Office and the Southern Cairo Prosecution Office to conduct an investigation into Morsi’s death, and to examine surveillance footage from the courtroom and collect witness testimonies.

He also ordered that a senior forensic committee headed by the chief medical officer and the director of forensic medicine to prepare a forensic report on the cause of death.

Various outlets say that a state of high alert has been issued by the military and the Ministry of the Interior throughout the country following the news, for fear of riots or activity by the Muslim Brotherhood, in which Morsi was a prominent figure.

Morsi became president in June 2012 after the first democratic elections in the country following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak on Jan. 25, 2011. He was Egypt’s fifth president.

He was born to a family of farmers on Aug. 20, 1951, in the village of Al-Adwa in Sharkia province. He married in 1978 and leaves behind his wife, five children and three grandchildren.

Following his deposition and arrest, Morsi was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on Oct. 22, 2016, over bloody clashes that took place on Dec. 5, 2012 in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and opponents of Morsi rejecting a constitutional declaration issued in November of that year.

Other sentences meant his total incarceration could have been up to 48 years, with the ongoing espionage case potentially carrying a further maximum sentence of 25 years.

In Istanbul on Tuesday, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets, mourning former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi and some chanting slogans blaming Cairo authorities for his death.

* With AFP