Palestinians ‘freeze’ meetings with US over office row

Palestinian flag waves at Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, U.S., in this November 19, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 November 2017
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Palestinians ‘freeze’ meetings with US over office row

RAMALLAH/GAZA: Palestinian officials announced Tuesday they had suspended meetings with the US following a quarrel with President Donald Trump’s administration over the future of their representative office in Washington.
The announcement came on the same day the leading Palestinian political factions began talks in Cairo aimed at boosting reconciliation efforts.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki and other officials said they had suspended all meetings, but speaking during a visit to Spain, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he remained committed to working with Trump and America.
Meanwhile, delegations from 13 factions from Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora arrived in Egypt on Monday. Deputy chairman of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, Fayez Abu Eita, said the dialogue will include enabling the Palestinian government to work freely in Gaza and unify its governance with that of the West Bank. “There will be bilateral meetings sponsored by Egypt between Hamas and Fatah to complete the discussions,” he told Arab News.
Al-Malki said that by deciding to close the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, the Americans had effectively cut off ties. “What is the use of holding any meetings with them when they close our office?” he told AFP.


UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

Khalifa Haftar. (Supplied)
Updated 21 August 2018
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UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

  • Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar
  • Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees

TRIPOLI: The UN has called on Libya’s internationally recognized government to crack down on armed groups obstructing the work of state institutions in the chaos-wracked country.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) late on Sunday night expressed its “strong condemnation of the violence, intimidation and obstruction to the work of Libya’s sovereign institutions by militiamen.”
It called on the UN-backed Government of National Accord to “prosecute those responsible for these criminal actions.”
The GNA’s military and security institutions have failed to place limits on the powerful militias that sprung up in the turmoil that followed the 2011 ouster of dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Several state institutions, including those in Tripoli, have been regular targets of harassment and intimidation by armed groups technically operating under the GNA’s Interior Ministry.
Members of militias “nominally acting under the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Accord are attacking sovereign institutions and preventing them from being able to operate effectively,” UNSMIL said.
Last week, the GNA’s National Oil Corp. said men from the Interior Ministry had forced their way into the headquarters of Brega Petroleum Marketing Company — a distribution outfit — to “arrest” its chief.
The Libyan Investment Authority, the GNA-managed sovereign wealth fund, recently moved from its downtown Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees.
UNSMIL said it would work with the international community and the GNA to “investigate the possibility of bringing sanctions against those interfering with or threatening the operations of any sovereign institution.”
Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
A myriad of militias,terrorist groups and people traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.