Palestinian minister slams US ‘threats’ ahead of UN vote over Jerusalem

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki attends a meeting with Arab foreign ministers at Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Sept. 12, 2011. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 December 2017
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Palestinian minister slams US ‘threats’ ahead of UN vote over Jerusalem

ISTANBUL: Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki on Wednesday accused Washington of “threatening” member countries of the UN General Assembly ahead of a vote on rejecting the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Malki said American officials were “committing another mistake when they have distributed this famous letter trying to threaten countries, (and) threaten their sovereign decision to choose how to vote.”
He spoke at a press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Istanbul, shortly before both men left for New York.
On Tuesday, Nikki Haley, Washington’s UN envoy, warned countries that she would report back to President Donald Trump with the names of those who supported a draft resolution rejecting the US recognition.
The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency session on Thursday to vote on the proposed measure, after the US vetoed a similar resolution for the Security Council.
“This is really a new definition of world order in politics and it seems that the American administration... are putting their stamp on a new political reality that many countries will reject,” Malki said.
Turkey and Yemen requested the urgent meeting on behalf of the Arab group of countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The two countries circulated a draft resolution on Tuesday that mirrors the vetoed measure, reaffirming that any decision on the status of Jerusalem has no legal effect and must be rescinded.
Malki said the UN session would show “how many countries will opt to vote with their conscience.”
“They will vote for justice and they will vote in favor of that resolution that was presented by both Yemen and Turkey on behalf of the Arab group and OIC,” he said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to lead Islamic condemnation of Trump’s Jerusalem plan, calling a summit of the leaders of Muslim nations last week in Istanbul, who urged the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.
East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel after it seized control of the area in the 1967 war, in a move never recognized by the international community.
Cavusoglu said his country expected “strong support” for the Palestinian Authority in the UN General Assembly.
“Everyone with a conscience ... is against this decision that usurped Palestine’s rights,” he said.
The foreign minister said any honorable country would not bow to US pressure, urging Washington to reverse its mistake.
“God willing, I believe we will obtain a good result tomorrow (Thursday),” he added.


Libya rivals clash south of capital, causing blackouts

Updated 18 September 2018
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Libya rivals clash south of capital, causing blackouts

  • Tuesday morning’s clashes centered on the main road to Tripoli’s long-closed international airport
  • Libya’s National Electricity Company said its network had been damaged, causing a total blackout across the country

TRIPOLI: New clashes flared between rival militias south of Libya’s capital Tripoli on Tuesday, causing widespread power outages, the national electricity firm said.
The fighting underscored the fragility of a United Nations-backed cease-fire reached earlier this month after days of deadly violence between armed groups in the capital, beset by turmoil since the fall of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Tuesday morning’s clashes centered on the main road to Tripoli’s long-closed international airport, according to witnesses including an AFP journalist.
Libya’s National Electricity Company said its network had been damaged, causing a total blackout across the North African nation’s south and west.
Fighting which broke out late last month killed at least 63 people and wounded 159 others — mostly civilians — before the cease-fire came into effect on September 4.
Last week, the capital’s only working airport came under rocket fire just days after reopening following the truce.
Mitiga International Airport, located in a former military base that includes a prison, is currently controlled by the Special Deterrence Forces, a Salafist militia which serves as Tripoli’s police force and has been involved in clashes around the capital.
Interior Minister Abdessalam Ashour said Monday that a “regular force” would be tasked with securing the airport.
UN envoy Ghassan Salame later reported 14 cease-fire violations around Tripoli, but sought to play them down, saying the deal had been “generally respected.”
Tripoli’s main airport has been out of action since it was severely damaged by similar clashes in 2014.
Since Qaddafi’s fall in 2011, oil-rich Libya has been rocked by violence between dozens of armed groups vying for control of its cities and vast oil resources.
A UN-brokered agreement signed in Morocco in December 2015 established the Government of National Accord (GNA) in a bid to ease the chaos.
But deep divisions remain between the GNA and rivals including military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who is based in eastern Libya and backs a competing authority.
The GNA last week announced a series of measures to secure the capital and curb the influence of militias over state institutions and banks.