Abbas in Cairo, Istanbul to rally region over holy city

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit (2L) meets with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (3L) in the presence of Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki (4R) and other Palestinian officials in Cairo on December 11, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 11 December 2017

Abbas in Cairo, Istanbul to rally region over holy city

CAIRO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday intensified efforts to rally Middle Eastern countries against US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, setting up talks with Arab leaders beginning in Cairo.
Abbas will meet President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt, which has been a key broker in past peace talks with Israel and between fighting Palestinian factions, before heading for Istanbul to give a speech, his office said.
El-Sisi, after a separate meeting with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the US moving its Israel Embassy to Jerusalem would have “dangerous effects on peace and security in the region.”
Abbas met the head of the Arab League in Cairo on Monday, local media reported. Arab foreign ministers held an hours-long emergency meeting at the weekend and vowed to seek a UN Security Council resolution rejecting the US move, but gave few details on other measures they would take.
The Palestinians hope for concrete action.
“Daring Palestinian and Arab decisions are required in the coming stage, which is very important,” Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah told Palestinian official news agency WAFA.
Abbas will not meet Mike Pence during the US Vice President’s visit to the region later this month, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said on Saturday.
Egypt’s top Muslim and Christian religious leaders also said they would not meet Pence.
Abbas is expected to make a statement after his meeting with El-Sisi, the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo said, without giving details.
Egypt, along with Jordan a key US ally in the region which has helped broker past peace deals and has good relations with Israel, has said the Jerusalem move undermines efforts to end the conflict.

It has also brokered reconciliation deals between Abbas’s Fatah party and Gaza-based militant group Hamas, which called for a new uprising against Israel last week.
The planned handover of control of Gaza to the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority under the latest deal hit another delay on Sunday, with a Fatah official blaming “obstacles” without elaborating.
Israel launched fresh airstrikes in Gaza on Saturday in response to rocket fire from the enclave, where it fought a war in 2014 which killed more than 2,000 people, most of them civilians.

Saudi Arabia, UAE form joint panel to enforce Yemen cease-fire

Updated 51 min 20 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, UAE form joint panel to enforce Yemen cease-fire

  • The panel will ensure all the ceasefire procedures are followed
  • Saudi Arabia and UAE will continue their support for the Arab coalition

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE have formed a joint panel to support the cease-fire between Yemen’s government and southern separatist forces in Shabwah and Abyan, Saudi state news agency SPA reported on Monday.

The panel will ensure the implementation of the cease-fire, Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said.

The two states issued a joint statement by the foreign ministries, urging the sides to honor the cease-fire and return the civilian headquarters in Aden of the legitimate government.

The governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE confirmed they will continue their support, politically, militarily and through relief support to the Arab coalition in Yemen, the statement added.

The separatist forces of the so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC) declared last month they were breaking away from the UN-recognized legitimate government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, based in the southern city of Aden.

Their forces seized governmental structures and military camps in Aden, Shabwa and Abyan. Last week, they partially withdrew from strategic areas in Aden under pressure from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

STC still retain control of military sites in the province.