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
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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.


Fresh protests in Iraq as medics raise death toll to 11

Updated 22 July 2018
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Fresh protests in Iraq as medics raise death toll to 11

  • Security forces remained deployed around the capital Baghdad
  • Overall medical sources put the death toll in the unrest at 11 people

BAGHDAD: Fresh protests hit southern Iraq Sunday as medical sources put at 11 the number of demonstrators killed in two weeks of unrest sparked by ire over corruption and lack of public services.
Security forces remained deployed around the capital Baghdad after struggling Friday to disperse crowds of angry protesters who took to the streets.
Demonstrations have roiled swathes of southern and central Iraq since erupting in the oil-rich port city of Basra on July 8, when security forces opened fire killing one person.
Overall medical sources put the death toll in the unrest at 11 people, three in each of the cities Basra, Samawah and Najaf, and one in both the cities of Diwaniyah and Karbala.
Most of them were killed by gunfire from unidentified assailants, while one person suffocated to death on tear gas used to disperse the demonstrators.
Protesters on Sunday took to the streets in the cities of Samawah and Nasiriyah, chanting “no to corruption,” a scourge Iraqis say has long blighted their country.
Since the start of the demonstrations those involved have focused their anger on the political establishment, with government buildings and party offices being sacked or set ablaze.
The Iraqi authorities have scrambled to halt the unrest and have blocked social media sites online to try to prevent the spread of protests.
Iraq is in a state of political limbo with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi overseeing a caretaker government as wrangling to form a new government drags on after elections in May.
A coalition headed by populist cleric Moqtada Sadr topped the polls, campaigning on an anti-graft ticket to claim the most seats in parliament.