Palestinians ‘freeze’ meetings with US over office row
Palestinians ‘freeze’ meetings with US over office row
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.
Powerful Cyclone Mekunu leaves at least 1 dead, 40 missing in Oman and Yemen
- At least one person, a 12-year-old girl, died in Oman and 40 others are missing from the Yemeni island of Socotra
- Yemenis, Indians and Sudanese were among those missing on the Arabian Sea isle and officials feared some may be dead
SALALAH, Oman: Cyclone Mekunu blew into the Arabian Peninsula early Saturday, drenching arid Oman and Yemen with rain, cutting off power lines and leaving at least one dead and 40 missing, officials said.
Portions of Salalah, Oman’s third-largest city, lost electricity as the cyclone made landfall. The Arabian Sea angrily churned Saturday morning, sending mounds of sea foam into the air. The waves ate into one tourist beach, pulling hunks of it away and toppling thatch umbrellas cemented into the sand.
As Mekunu barreled overhead, the eye of the storm provided a moment’s respite. At one luxury hotel, which already had evacuated its guests, workers sat down early for a traditional “suhoor,” a meal Muslims eat before sunrise during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. They laughed and shared plates by flashlight in a darkened ballroom, the cyclone’s wind a dull roar behind their clatter.
At least one person, a 12-year-old girl, died in Oman and 40 others are missing from the Yemeni island of Socotra, which earlier took the storm’s brunt, police said. Yemenis, Indians and Sudanese were among those missing on the Arabian Sea isle and officials feared some may be dead.
Director of Meteology at the UAE weather center, Mohamad Al-Ebri, told Arab News on Friday that the cyclone is expected to reach the southern coast of Oman within the next 12 hours, however it is possible that by then the cyclone catagory would have gone down to level one again.
India’s Meteorological Department said the storm packed maximum sustained winds of 170-180 kilometers (105-111 miles) per hour with gusts of up to 200 kph (124 mph). It called the cyclone “extremely severe.”
Many holidaymakers fled the storm Thursday night before Salalah International Airport closed. The Port of Salalah — a key gateway for the country — also closed, its cranes secured against the pounding rain.
James Hewitson, general manager of the five-star hotel Al-Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, told Arab News they were expecting the situation to worsen over the coming days.
“The wind has picked up since this morning.”
He said the hotel staff were preparing for the worst outcome, ensuring there was enough fuel to power the generators, should the main electricity supply be cut.
“We have taken all precautions in terms of securing all areas of the building to keep our guests safe,” Hewitson explained.
He said the hotel was well stocked for food and water and that at least one of the restaurants would remain open.
“We have about 50 guests staying with us at the moment,” Hewitson told Arab News. “Some are leaving tonight, some have chosen to leave and we are offering to compensate them with our sister hotels across Oman”
“At the end of today I expect I will have something between 40 to 50 guests staying… We have 250 staff members.”
He explained that representatives from the Ministry of Tourism had visited in the morning.
“We have already taken down our outdoors furniture, and anything that is not bolted down has been put away so that the winds don’t blow them into anyone and hurt people like glass tables or umbrellas.”
And he added that Muscat civil defense had sent a team to support in Salalah.
“We have taken all precautions in terms of securing all areas of the building to keep our guests safe.”
UAE not to be affected
“According to the Medium Ranged Forecast from Numerical Weather Predictions, the tropical cyclone will not reach the UAE,” the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology said in a statement.
It added that however medium and high clouds and moist air mass may lead to convective cloud formations at times in the eastern and the southern parts of the country associated with fresh winds.
following up #CyclonicStormMekunu path updates in the #ArabianSea Saturday 26/5/2018 #mekunu— المركز الوطني للأرصاد (@NCMS_media) May 25, 2018
As predicted by the NCM the tropical Storm is descending from the second category to a tropical cyclone of the first category and no opportunities for direct impact on the UAE pic.twitter.com/2K0bDqScSv