Come back to an independent Palestine, Abbas tells Prince William

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Prince William gestures during a visit at the Jalazone refugee camp near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. (Reuters)
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Prince William (R) speaks with Palestinian students at a school operated by the UNRWA inside the Jalazoun refugee camp. (AFP)
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Britain's Prince William walks to meet the Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 27, 2018. (AFP)
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Prince William receives a Palestinian national team football shirt.
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Prince William meets the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
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Prince William showing off his skills with the ball in Ramallah. (AFP)
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Head of the Palestinian Football Federation, Jibril Rajoub and Britain's Prince William pose for a picture with young Palestinian football players in Ramallah. AFP
Updated 27 June 2018

Come back to an independent Palestine, Abbas tells Prince William

  • Second in line to British throne visits West Bank refugee camp  
  • President says Palestinians need the support of British people

AMMAN: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Britain’s Prince William to Palestine and affirmed his full commitment to achieving a just and lasting peace with Israel. 

The Duke of Cambridge visited a refugee camp, inaugurated a musical fountain, and enjoyed music and Palestinian cuisine.

Abbas told the visiting prince that Palestinians are serious about making peace with Israel. “We want to reach peace through negotiations. This is our position which has not changed in a long time,” he told the Duke of Cambridge, who is on his first official visit to Palestine, during their meeting at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah.

“I hope that your next visit will be in the state of Palestine when we have our full independence,” Abbas added.

He said the prince’s visit will deepen and strengthen the friendly ties between the Palestinian and British people. 

“We are always in need of the support of the British people for our just Palestinian cause,” he said.

Abbas also mentioned the recent financial aid provided by the British government to support the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), saying it was an important gesture.

Scott Anderson, director of UNRWA field operations in the West Bank, told Arab News that he was happy to take the British prince to the Jalazoun refugee camp outside Ramallah. “He visited a health center and a girls school, and he interacted with mothers and children.”

Anderson called it a “positive visit” and said that the prince was engaged throughout, asking many of the teenagers “what they wanted to do when they grow up.”

Ahmad Abu Laban, the Ramallah city manager, said that the prince met with city’s mayor and council and other Palestinian leaders. 

“We were proud to host the prince after his meeting with President Abbas,” the added.

Prince William took part in a ceremony to open Ramallah’s first musical fountain. Abu Laban said that after the official meetings, speeches and musical presentation, the British royal enjoyed Palestinian cuisine. 

“He walked around our food fair enjoying falafel and kenafeh sweets, and engaging with the local community. He seemed excited and happy with the visit.”

The Duke of Cambridge visited the local Friends school and met Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association, and members of the Palestinian national team as well as young footballers.

“It was the first time since 1800 for such a royal British visit,” Abu Laban said. 

“Even though the royal palace doesn’t deal with politics, we are happy he referred to our future capital as the occupied city of Jerusalem.” 

While the British prince steered away from politics, David Stansbury, from the British Consulate General in Jerusalem, told a Palestinian radio station that the UK supports the two-state solution on the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as capital to both countries.

Stansbury was adamant that the UK had no plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The UK Consulate in Jerusalem was busy on social media. @UKinJerusalem tweeted that this is “the first official visit by a senior member from the Royal Family to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” It called the visit “a historic moment and a model of strong ties of friendship and respect between the British & Palestinian peoples.”

The prince will visit Jerusalem on Thursday.

UN Security Council approves Hodeidah ceasefire monitoring force in Yemen

Updated 16 January 2019

UN Security Council approves Hodeidah ceasefire monitoring force in Yemen

  • Deployment will be known as the United Nations Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement
  • Resolution requests the larger force to be deployed expeditiously

NEW YORK: The UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously authorized the deployment of up to 75 observers to Yemen's port city of Hodeidah for six months to monitor a ceasefire.

The Security Council last month authorized an advance monitoring team led by retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert and asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to recommended a larger operation.

The initial deployment came after a deal reached during talks in Sweden between the Iran-backed Houthi militants and the internationally recognized government. The UN says the ceasefire that went into force on Dec.18 in Hodeida has been generally holding, but there have been delays in the redeployment of Hothi and some government forces from the city.

The British-drafted resolution adopted on Wednesday asks Guterres to "expeditiously" deploy his recommended larger operation, which will be known as the United Nations Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA).
The resolution also "requests Member States, particularly neighboring States, to support the United Nations as required for the implementation of UNMHA's mandate."
Guterres described the mission as a "nimble presence" that will report on violations in Hodeida, which for months was the front line in the war after pro-government forces launched an offensive to capture it in June.

Hodeidah is the entry point for most of Yemen's commercial goods and aid supplies, and a lifeline for millions of Yemenis on the verge of starvation.