Jordanians say change of Israeli envoy not enough to improve ties

FILE PHOTO: Jordanian police stand guard during a demonstration near the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan July 28, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 30 November 2017

Jordanians say change of Israeli envoy not enough to improve ties

AMMAN: Jordanians have rejected Israel’s attempt to improve relations with their country by changing its ambassador and paying compensation for the killing in July of two Jordanians at the Israeli Embassy in Amman.
Israeli media reported Wednesday that Israel has agreed to send a different ambassador to Amman than Einat Schlein, who left Jordan hurriedly in July with the Israeli security guard who killed the Jordanians.
“Jordan made two clear demands: That the security guard is seriously questioned and put on trial, and that Schlein not return,” Jordanian MP Nabil Gheishan told Arab News.
Gheishan comes from the town of Madaba, as did Bashar Hamarneh, an elderly doctor who was killed at the embassy.
Gheishan said Hamarneh’s family are not interested in compensation now, adding: “Compensation should be paid after the trial, not instead of a court case.”
Aroub Souboh, a Jordanian TV presenter and a leading social media influencer, said improving relations with Jordan requires much more than simply a change of ambassador.
“In addition to a proper trial of the killer, two other Jordanians were killed by Israeli soldiers. That must also be resolved,” Souboh told Arab News, referring to the 2014 shooting at King Hussein Bridge of Judge Raed Zeiter, and that of tourist Said Hayel Al-Amr outside Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate in 2016.
Mohammad Ersan, the popular presenter of a talk show on Radio Al-Balad in Amman, told Arab News: “The change of ambassador is an attempt to cover up the case and allow Jordan to drop its demand for a trial of the killer. This won’t go down well with the Jordanian public, who’ve shown solidarity with the government position.”
Ersan believes a better solution would be that Israel agrees to the popular demand that Jordanians held in Israel jails complete their prison terms in Jordan.
“This will be well received, and can help Jordan resolve its differences with Israel with a much better face-saving solution,” he said.
While Jordan’s relations with Israel deteriorated following the July killing, Amman has improved its working relationship with the Palestinian Authority, holding a high-level meeting of the Jordanian Palestinian Committee in October after a three-year hiatus.

Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

Updated 17 July 2019

Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

  • The constitutional declaration is expected to be signed on Friday
  • The deal aims to help the political transition in Sudan

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s ruling military council and an opposition alliance signed a political accord on Wednesday as part of a power-sharing deal aimed at leading the country to democracy following three decades of autocratic rule.

The agreement, which ended days of speculation about whether a deal announced earlier this month would hold, was initialed in Khartoum in the presence of African mediators following a night of talks to iron out some details of the agreement.

Sudan’s stability is crucial for the security of a volatile region stretching from the Horn of Africa to Libya that is riven by conflict and power struggles.

The deal is meant to pave the way to a political transition after military leaders ousted former President Omar Al-Bashir in April following weeks of protests against his rule.

At least 128 people were killed during a crackdown that began when security forces dispersed a protest camp outside the Defense Ministry in central Khartoum in June, according to medics linked to the opposition. The Health Ministry had put the death toll at 61.

A political standoff between Sudan’s military rulers and protesters threatened to drag the country of 40 million toward further violence before African mediators managed to bridge the gap between the two sides.

General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council, hailed the agreement as the start of a new partnership between the armed forces, including the paramilitary forces he leads, and the opposition coalition of Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC).

Ibrahim Al-Amin, an FFC leader, said the accord signaled a new era of self-reliance for Sudan’s people.

“We want a stable homeland, because we have suffered a great deal,” Amin said in a speech after the ceremony.

Ethiopian mediator Mahmud Dirir said Sudan, long under international isolation over the policies of Bashir’s Islamist administration, needed to overcome poverty and called for the country to be taken of a US list of states that support terrorism.

The sides are still working on a constitutional declaration, which is expected to be signed on Friday.

Power-sharing deal

Under the power-sharing deal reached earlier this month, the two sides agreed to share power in a sovereign council during a transitional period of just over three years.

They also agreed to form an independent government of technocrats to run the country and to launch a transparent, independent investigation into the violence.

The power-sharing agreement reached earlier this month called for a sovereign council comprised of 11 members — five officers selected by the military council, five civilians chosen by the FFC and another civilian to be agreed upon by both sides.

The constitutional declaration will now decide the duties and responsibilities of the sovereign council.

The military was to head the council during the first 21 months of the transitional period while a civilian would head the council during the remaining 18 months.

But the agreement was thrown into doubt when new disputes surfaced last week over the military council’s demand for immunity for council members against prosecution.

The military council also demanded that the sovereign council would retain ultimate decision-making powers rather than the government.