Britain rules out embassy move to Jerusalem

Alistair Burt
Updated 27 February 2018

Britain rules out embassy move to Jerusalem

RIYADH: Britain will not follow the US in moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a senior UK government minister told Arab News on Monday.
“The United Kingdom is very clear. This was not a decision that we would have made,” said Alistair Burt, the Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa.
“If there is a settlement of the issue, I’m sure at that stage it would be possible to move the embassy. At that stage there will be a state of Palestine, and the UK will be very pleased to have an embassy there. So no, we will not be following the United States in this regard.”
US President Donald Trump announced the embassy move late last year, provoking disapproval throughout the Arab world, protests in the occupied West Bank and an overwhelming vote of condemnation at the UN General Assembly in New York. His administration said this week the new embassy would open on May 14.
Burt was speaking to Arab News at an award ceremony in Riyadh for Saudi alumni of British universities.
The minister said Western countries had missed the opportunity to intervene in Syria “probably some years ago” when the Assad regime first used chemical weapons against civilians.
“No one knows what the impact of that intervention would have been,” he said, “but we do know what has happened subsequently, which has been a tragedy.
“The killing and the attacks in Eastern Ghouta must stop. There is no reason for them, there is no excuse for them. The injuries to innocent civilians shock the whole world, but the wider problem is an issue of international order now.
“If the UN Security Council cannot ensure that there is peace and the conflict comes to an end, then there are many big questions for society.”


Syria Kurds hand over four Daesh-linked children to Germany

Updated 28 min 28 sec ago

Syria Kurds hand over four Daesh-linked children to Germany

  • They included a boy and two sisters who had lost both parents, and a fatherless girl infant
  • A spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry confirmed the handover to staff from its consulate

SIMALKA CROSSING: The Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria on Monday handed over four children linked with the Daesh group to Germany, their first such repatriation to the European country, an official said.
“The autonomous region handed over four children from Daesh families to a delegation from Germany,” said Fanar Kaeet, a foreign affairs official with the Kurdish authorities.
They included a boy and two sisters who had lost both parents, and a fatherless girl infant who was repatriated for health reasons, Kurdish authorities said.
All are under 10 years old, they said.
A spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry confirmed the handover to staff from its consulate in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan at the Simalka border crossing.
“I can confirm that four children who were in custody in northern Syria were able to leave Syria,” she said.
“The children were received on the Iraqi-Syrian border by staff of the consulate in Irbil and will be given to family members,” the spokeswoman said.
“From there, the children and their family members will, we believe, travel to Germany.”
Syria’s Kurds have spearheaded the US-backed fight against Daesh in Syria, and in March expelled the extremists from their last patch of territory in the war-torn country’s far east.
Even as they fight remaining sleeper cells, thousands of alleged Daesh fighters and family members are being held in their custody.
These include hundreds of suspected foreign fighters in their jails, and thousands of their alleged family members in overcrowded camps.
Western countries have been largely reluctant to repatriate their nationals.
But France and Belgium have brought a handful of orphans home, while the United States last year repatriated a woman with her four children.
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kosovo have repatriated dozens of women and children.
Daesh overran large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” there, but offensives in both countries have seen them lose that territory.
A dozen children of alleged jihadist fighters have been repatriated from Iraq to Germany since March.