Abbas urges UN to end ‘apartheid’ for Palestinians

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, September 20, 2017. (REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)
Updated 21 September 2017
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Abbas urges UN to end ‘apartheid’ for Palestinians

UNITED NATIONS: Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday urged the United Nations to end what he described as an “apartheid” regime imposed by Israel in the Palestinian territories.
“We are entrusted and you are entrusted to end apartheid in Palestine,” Abbas told the UN General Assembly in a nearly 45-minute address.
“Can the world accept an apartheid regime in the 21st century?” he asked.
Taking the podium a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Abbas slammed Israel over the construction of new settlements “everywhere,” saying they were putting the two-state solution in jeopardy.
“There is no place left for the state of Palestine and this is not acceptable,” he said.
The United Nations considers settlements illegal under international law and the Security Council in December adopted a resolution demanding an end to the expansion of the Jewish outposts on the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
The resolution passed after the United States under the previous administration of Barack Obama declined to use its veto and instead abstained.
The Palestinian leader vowed to push for full recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, a move that would require approval from the Security Council where the United States, Israel’s key ally, holds veto power.
Abbas spoke at the assembly after meeting US President Donald Trump who said he was “working very hard with everybody involved toward peace” but offered little detail.


Iraq’s new PM will name cabinet in two days

Updated 21 October 2018
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Iraq’s new PM will name cabinet in two days

  • Abdul Mahdi’s proposed cabinet will consist of 22 ministers and two vice-presidents. He will not have a deputy prime minister
  • All the proposed ministers are independents nominated by the political blocs in the ruling coalition

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s new Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi is putting the finishing touches to his first cabinet and will submit the names to parliament for approval in the next two days.

All the proposed ministers are independents nominated by the political blocs in the ruling coalition, and none is a current or former member of parliament, leading party negotiators told Arab News on Sunday.

The Shiite coalition was formed last month after lengthy negotiations following parliamentary elections in May. It comprises the Reform alliance sponsored by the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, and the Iranian backed Al-Binna’a led by Hadi Al-Amiri, commander of the Badr Organization, the most powerful Shiite armed faction.

Abdul Mahdi’s proposed cabinet will consist of 22 ministers and two vice-presidents. He will not have a deputy prime minister. Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and minorities must all be represented, under Iraq’s constitution. In addition, an unwritten rule requires that ministerial posts and high government positions be filled according to the distribution of parliamentary seats.

Negotiators told Arab News that Abdul Mahdi’s ministers for oil, transport, health, electricity, higher education and water will come from the Reform alliance; ministers for the interior, foreign affairs, communication, housing and construction, and labor and industry will be from Al-Binna’a; Sunnis will be ministers for defense, planning, trade, education, agriculture and youth; and the ministers of finance, justice and immigration will be Kurds. 

“The final names have not been revealed yet,” a Reform negotiator told Arab News. “We presented four names for each post and we are waiting for Abdul Mahdi to present his final list on Monday.”

The coalition will support Abdul Mahdi for one year. “The veto imposed by Sadr and Amiri on any current or former parliamentarians to be a minister has embarrassed everyone and pushed them to change their plans,” an Al-Binna’a negotiator said.

“A year is enough to see if Abdul Mahdi has formed a harmonious team and whether his team will succeed, so it’s fair enough for all parties.”