Paraguay president inaugurates embassy in Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he stands next to Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes at Netanyahu's office Monday. Reuters
Updated 22 May 2018
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Paraguay president inaugurates embassy in Jerusalem

  • Israeli forces killed nearly 60 Palestinians in clashes along the border
  • Several European countries summoning the Israeli ambassadors to their foreign ministries for questioning

JERUSALEM: Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes inaugurated his country’s Israel embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, making it the third nation to make the deeply controversial move after the US and Guatemala.
Cartes and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the inauguration of the new embassy in a Jerusalem office park.
The Paraguayan leader called it a “historic event.”
“This act has profound significance in the sense that it expresses Paraguay’s sincere friendship and full solidarity with Israel,” he said.
Netanyahu said cooperation between the two countries would become “greater,” naming areas such as agriculture, security and technology.

Consensus
The South American nation of some seven million people follows in the footsteps of the US which broke with decades of international consensus when it declared Jerusalem Israel’s capital in December.
Washington followed up on the declaration by moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14.
The US Embassy opening was accompanied by mass protests and clashes along the Gaza border that saw 62 Palestinians killed by Israeli gunfire.
Israel has sought to persuade other countries to follow the White House move, but so far only Paraguay and Guatemala have done so.

Capital
Guatemala opened its new embassy in the same Jerusalem office park as Paraguay’s on May 16.
Jerusalem’s status is perhaps the thorniest issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community.


UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

Khalifa Haftar. (Supplied)
Updated 21 August 2018
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UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

  • Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar
  • Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees

TRIPOLI: The UN has called on Libya’s internationally recognized government to crack down on armed groups obstructing the work of state institutions in the chaos-wracked country.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) late on Sunday night expressed its “strong condemnation of the violence, intimidation and obstruction to the work of Libya’s sovereign institutions by militiamen.”
It called on the UN-backed Government of National Accord to “prosecute those responsible for these criminal actions.”
The GNA’s military and security institutions have failed to place limits on the powerful militias that sprung up in the turmoil that followed the 2011 ouster of dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Several state institutions, including those in Tripoli, have been regular targets of harassment and intimidation by armed groups technically operating under the GNA’s Interior Ministry.
Members of militias “nominally acting under the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Accord are attacking sovereign institutions and preventing them from being able to operate effectively,” UNSMIL said.
Last week, the GNA’s National Oil Corp. said men from the Interior Ministry had forced their way into the headquarters of Brega Petroleum Marketing Company — a distribution outfit — to “arrest” its chief.
The Libyan Investment Authority, the GNA-managed sovereign wealth fund, recently moved from its downtown Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees.
UNSMIL said it would work with the international community and the GNA to “investigate the possibility of bringing sanctions against those interfering with or threatening the operations of any sovereign institution.”
Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
A myriad of militias,terrorist groups and people traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.