Arab League backs Palestinian president’s call to restart Mideast peace talks

The Arab League Council holds its 149th session at the level of foreign ministers in Cairo on Wednesday. (SPA)
Updated 09 March 2018
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Arab League backs Palestinian president’s call to restart Mideast peace talks

CAIRO: The Arab League Council has supported the Palestinian president’s call to hold an international conference to relaunch the
Middle East peace process.
The resolution came at the end of its 149th session at the level of foreign ministers held on
Wednesday in Cairo.
The council confirmed its support for the peace plan presented by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the Security Council on Feb. 20, and working to establish a multilateral international mechanism under the auspices of the UN to sponsor the process.
The council affirmed its rejection of the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to transfer its embassy there.
Arab foreign ministers also stressed their continued support for the constitutional legitimacy of the government in Yemen headed by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. It supported measures taken by the government aimed at normalizing the situation, ending the coup and restoring security and stability to all Yemeni governorates.
The council stressed its commitment to preserving Yemen’s unity and sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and the rejection of any interference in its internal affairs.
The session was held under the chairmanship of Minister of State for African Countries Affairs Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Qattan, and in the presence of the Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Speaker of the Arab Parliament Dr. Mishal Al-Salami.
At a press conference, Qattan said that Saudi Arabia supported the continuation of the league’s role, pointing out that Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit had been seeking, since his appointment, to reform the league’s system. He said that the upcoming Arab summit in Riyadh would be an important and historic summit.
Qattan said that Iranian interference in Arab affairs had become a source of anger, and some Arab countries did not condemn Iran adequately and did not see the harm being done to Arab national security and the security of GCC.
“We heard blame for the decision for military intervention in Yemen,” he said. “We explained at length that it came at the request of the Yemeni government, stressing that the legitimate government must return to its place.”
Qattan said that Houthi missiles targeted the Kingdom’s cities and the two holy cities, and this was a red line. The Kingdom would defend its territory, even if this need continued for years and whatever the effort and cost, until its citizens felt safe.
He said that before the league’s council session, a meeting of the quartet involving Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain had issued a statement on Iranian interventions. This included a reference to the Iranian nuclear program.
“We in Saudi Arabia and the GCC and all Arab countries that have the same position will not be silent on what is happening,” he said, pointing out that the Iranians were fighting a proxy war that had succeeded in breaking up some Arab countries and but had not succeeded in GCC states.
Qattan said that “we have no objection to dialogue with Iran as a state, not with a militia, but it must first stop interfering in our internal affairs.”
On the Syrian issue, he said that it had not abided by the Security Council’s decision, resulting in the displacement of millions and the deaths of thousands.
Secretary-General Aboul Gheit said that the Arab League was the backbone of the Arab security system, and its role in defending Arab national security was provoking some neighboring countries.


Egypt court upholds corruption conviction of Mubarak, sons

Updated 22 September 2018
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Egypt court upholds corruption conviction of Mubarak, sons

  • Saturday’s ruling by the Court of Cessation dashed any hope that Gamal Mubarak could run for public office.
  • Mubarak’s two sons are currently on trial for insider trading.

CAIRO: Egypt's highest appeals court on Saturday rejected a motion by former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons to overturn their conviction on corruption charges.
The ruling by the Court of Cessation, Egypt's final recourse for appeals in criminal cases, dashed any hope that Gamal, Mubarak's younger son and one-time heir apparent, could run for public office. A senior newspaper editor and confidant of Egypt's current president had recently suggested that banker-turned-politician Gamal may have been contemplating the move.
The Mubarak trio was sentenced to three years each for embezzling funds meant for maintenance of presidential palaces but which they spent on upgrading or building private residences. The sons were released in 2015 for time served, while their father was freed last year. They repaid the funds, a total of 125 million pounds (about $7 million).
Mubarak's sons are currently on trial for insider trading. They are free on bail after a judge on Thursday overturned a surprise Sept. 15 ruling to detain them. The case's next hearing is on Oct. 20.
The rejection of their appeal Saturday and Gamal Mubarak's subsequent ineligibility to run for office came in the wake of recent comments by the chief editor of state-run Al-Akhbar publications, Yasser Rizq, who suggested that frequent public appearances by the younger Mubarak could be a prelude to a future presidential run.
Rizq first warned Gamal Mubarak against harboring presidential ambitions in an article published in May. He repeated the warning in a television interview aired earlier this week.
"His real crime is insulting the dignity of the Egyptian people," Rizq said, alluding to Gamal's one-time intention to succeed his father. It violated the constitution and amounted to the toppling of republican rule, he explained. He said it was not improbable that he would strike a political deal with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to secure the group's return to politics in exchange for its support in a presidential bid in 2022, when President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi's second term ends.
Preventing Gamal from succeeding his father was among the main drivers of a 2011 uprising that ended Mubarak's 29-year rule, as well as the military's support for it. The years that followed saw Mubarak regime heavyweights tried on corruption or abuse of power charges. Most have since walked free, while second-string regime loyalists found their way back to public life under El-Sissi.