US expected to open embassy in Jerusalem in May

An Israeli flag is seen near the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem’s Old City. The opening of the US Embassy in the city in May will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. (Reuters)
Updated 23 February 2018
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US expected to open embassy in Jerusalem in May

WASHINGTON: The United States is expected to open its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in May, a US official told Reuters on Friday, a move from Tel Aviv that reverses decades of US policy.
US President Donald Trump announced last year that the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, infuriating even Washington’s Arab allies and dismaying Palestinians who want the eastern part of the city as their capital.
A May opening appears to represent an earlier time frame than what had been expected. While speaking in the Israeli parliament last month, US Vice President Mike Pence said the move would take place by the end of 2019.
The opening will coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, said the US official, speaking on condition of anonymity.


Libya’s state oil firm confirms LNA control of oil ports

Updated 14 min 15 sec ago
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Libya’s state oil firm confirms LNA control of oil ports

VIENNA: The head of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) confirmed on Friday that Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) had regained control of the key oil ports of Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, and said he hoped operations would resume in the “next couple of days.”

NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said Libya had been losing 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production after clashes between the LNA and rival factions closed the two terminals.

The LNA took the ports back on Thursday in heavy fighting, a week after an attack by anti-Haftar armed groups had forced them to withdraw.

“We lost 450,000 bpd in last eight to nine days and hopefully in next couple of days we can resume operations,” Sanalla told reporters ahead of an OPEC meeting in Vienna.

A fire that broke out at a third storage tank in Ras Lanuf on Thursday had been put out, he said.

“We had a minor fire yesterday and we extinguished it and the situation there is good. We will make the assessments and then resume operations as soon as possible.”

Two other storage tanks at Ras Lanuf had caught on fire earlier in the fighting, causing extensive damage.

Libya’s national oil production has dropped to between 600,000 and 700,000 bpd due to the closure of the ports.