Mahmoud Abbas wins EU backing for Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, right, welcomes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas upon his arrival at the EU Council in Brussels on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday that France wants the European Union to start work on an agreement on closer ties with the Palestinian territories, following U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Updated 22 January 2018
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Mahmoud Abbas wins EU backing for Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem

BRUSSELS: Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Monday urged EU member states to “swiftly” grant official recognition to the state of Palestine as he arrived to meet foreign ministers from the bloc in Brussels.
“We truly consider the European Union as a true partner and friend, and therefore we call its member states to swiftly recognize the state of Palestine and we confirm that there is no contradiction between recognition and the resumption of negotiations,” Abbas told reporters.
The 82-year-old Abbas met EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini for one-on-one talks before joining the bloc’s 28 foreign ministers for lunch on the sidelines of their monthly meeting, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a similar trip last month.
Abbas, who came to Brussels in search of European support, said the Palestinians were still committed to the stalled peace process.
“We are keen on continuing on the way of negotiations because we believe it is the only way forward to reach a negotiated solution and peace between us and Israel,” Abbas said before talks with Mogherini.
“Despite the hurdles we can find on our way toward the settlement of this issue we remain committed to fighting terrorism, violence and extremism locally, regionally and internationally.”
Last week Abbas denounced Trump’s peace efforts as the “slap of the century” and accused Israel of ending the Oslo accords that underpin negotiations — which have been effectively frozen since 2014.
But on Monday he said his side were still prepared to stick to past agreements.
“We are committed as well to continued compliance with treaties we signed with Israel but at the same time we call upon Israel to play its part and comply with those treaties,” he said.
Mogherini said the two sides needed “to show more than ever before their engagement with the international community” to work for peace.


At least 7 killed by car bomb in Benghazi, Libya

A historic building that was destroyed during a three-year conflict is seen in Benghazi, Libya, on February 28, 2018. A car bomb explodsion on a busy street in the center of Benghazi on Thursday night killed at least seven people. (REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/File Photo)
Updated 25 May 2018
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At least 7 killed by car bomb in Benghazi, Libya

  • The bomb exploded behind the Tibesti hotel, the city’s biggest, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, on a street where people were taking a stroll after a day of fasting until sunset in the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
  • Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, is controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA), the dominant force in eastern Libya led by commander Khalifa Haftar.

BENGHAZI, Libya: At least seven people were killed and 10 wounded when a car bomb exploded on a busy street in the center of the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Thursday night, a hospital medic said.
The bomb exploded behind the Tibesti hotel, the city’s biggest, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, on a street where people were taking a stroll after a day of fasting until sunset in the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
No more details on the bombing were immediately available. Eight cars parked on the street lined with shops were destroyed.
Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, is controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA), the dominant force in eastern Libya led by commander Khalifa Haftar.
The LNA was battling Islamists, including some linked to Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, as well as other opponents until late last year in the Mediterranean port city.
Security has improved since then, but two mosque bombings earlier this year killed at least 35 people.
Haftar launched his military campaign in Benghazi in May 2014 in response to bombings and assassinations blamed on Islamist militants, part of anarchy that ensued after a NATO-backed uprising ended Muammar Qaddafi’s rule in 2011.
In the past few months, there have been occasional, smaller- scale bombings apparently targeting LNA allies or supporters, but attacks in the city center are rare (Reporting by Ayman Al-Warfalli)