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.


Pentagon plans to send 5,000 more troops to Middle East amid Iran threat: US officials

Updated 23 May 2019
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Pentagon plans to send 5,000 more troops to Middle East amid Iran threat: US officials

  • Tehran and Washington have this month been escalating rhetoric against each other
  • The US military deployed a carrier strike group, bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East earlier this month

WASHINGTON: The US Department of Defense is considering a US military request to send about 5,000 additional troops to the Middle East amid increasing tensions with Iran, two US officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
Tehran and Washington have this month been escalating rhetoric against each other, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to try to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero and beef up the US military presence in the Gulf in response to what he said were Iranian threats.
The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the request had been made by US Central Command, but added that it was not clear whether the Pentagon would approve the request.
The Pentagon regularly receives — and declines — requests for additional resources from US combatant commands throughout the world.
One of the officials said the requested troops would be defensive in nature.
This appeared to be the latest request for additional resources in the face of what US officials have said are credible threats from Iran against US forces and American interests in the Middle East.
The Pentagon declined to comment on future plans.
“As a matter of longstanding policy, we are not going to discuss or speculate on potential future plans and requests for forces,” Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said on Wednesday.
Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Tuesday that while threats from Iran in the Middle East remained high, deterrence measures taken by the Pentagon had “put on hold” the potential for attacks on Americans.
The US military deployed a carrier strike group, bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East earlier this month in response to what Washington said were troubling indications of possible preparations for an attack by Iran.
Trump had warned on Monday that Iran would be met with “great force” if it attacked US interests in the Middle East.