Saudi Foreign Minister reasserts the Kingdom's eagerness to unify Arab stance, revamping Arab League

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Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit (L) speaks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir during a League meeting at its headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on September 11, 2018. (AFP)
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Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit looks on during the opening of Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo, Egypt September 11, 2018. (Reuters)
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Pierre Krahenbuhl (C), Commissioner General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), attends a meeting of the Arab League Foreign Ministers at the League’s headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on September 11, 2018, during a special session on the sidelines discussing the financial crisis of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)’s caused by the US scrapping its contributions. (AFP)
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This picture taken on September 11, 2018 shows a general view of the Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo. (AFP)
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This picture taken on September 11, 2018 shows a general view of a meeting of the Arab League Foreign Ministers at its headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo, during a special session on the sidelines discussing the financial crisis of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)’s caused by the US scrapping its contributions.(AFP)
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A special session on the crisis facing UNRWA. (SPA)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Saudi Foreign Minister reasserts the Kingdom's eagerness to unify Arab stance, revamping Arab League

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir emphasized in Cairo on Tuesday, during the opening of the 150th ordinary session of the Arab League (AL) Council, that the Kingdom remains keen to unify the Arab stance, promote the performance of the AL and revamp a Pan-Arab joint action system.
The Palestinian cause is the top priority and interest for Saudi Arabia, which endeavors to secure the Palestinian people their legitimate rights based on the Arab Peace Initiative: International legitimacy resolutions calling for establishing its independent state, with East Al-Quds as its capital, he pointed out, reiterating absolute rejection of anything that may compromise the historical or legal status of Al-Quds.
On Yemen, Al-Jubeir said the Kingdom is keeping to its commitment toward Yemeni unity, sovereignty, stability, security and territorial integrity, through backing the legitimate government and reiterating readiness to cooperate with the UN envoy to Yemen.
Iran-affiliated Houthis militias have never and will never positively respond to the international community’s calls to engage in the political process, he said, pointing out their absence at the latest meeting, held in Geneva.
He stressed that coalition countries will continue to cooperate with the UN and other relief agencies, to ensure humanitarian access to the civilians in Yemen and alleviate their suffering.
Al-Jubeir added that the total humanitarian support provided by the Kingdom to Yemen during the past four years amounted to more than $13 billion.
On the Syrian crisis, the foreign minister said that the Kingdom seeks to stabilize Syrian unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and has united the position of the Syrian opposition so it may sit at the negotiating table to reach a political solution that guarantees security and unity, through the prevention of foreign intervention or any attempts to partition the country.
Al-Jubeir said that the Kingdom supports the unity and independence of Libya and the efforts of the UN envoy to reach a political solution that will guarantee the country’s security and stability and eliminate terrorism in the country.
He pointed to the suffering caused in the world by terrorism, which the Kingdom has exerted all efforts to combat, and did not hesitate to provide all kinds of support, in cooperation with the international community, to eliminate it.
He stressed that the conduct of Iran, through its blatant interference in our affairs and its support for terrorist militias, is among the ugliest manifestations of terrorism, which requires us to unite and cooperate to confront and deter.
At the end of his speech, the foreign minister called on his counterpart, the Sudanese Foreign Minister Dr. Dirdiri Mohammed Ahmed, to take over the chairmanship of the current session.
Earlier, under the chairmanship of Al-Jubeir, Arab foreign ministers held, at the request of Jordan, a special session on the crisis facing UNRWA.
The extraordinary session included discussion of the systematic campaign against the UNRWA to reduce or cancel its role, as well as ways to support it, financially, in the light of the recent decision by the US to stop making financial contributions to the organization’s annual budget.
Arab foreign ministers stressed the need for UNRWA to continue to play its role in meeting the humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees, warning against compromising the agency’s mandate or reducing its services, which would contribute to aggravation of the situation in the Middle East.
The ministers emphasized that the agency’s continued commitment to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees in the areas of operations, as mandated by the UN, is an international political, legal and moral responsibility.
The ministers agreed to continue discussing the issue in the light of the outcome of the international meeting called for by Jordan, in coordination with Egypt and Palestine, and in cooperation with Sweden, Germany, Japan and the EU to take the necessary steps to build on the outcome of the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference on the Support of UNRWA, held in Rome on March 15, 2018, and political moves to ensure the financial support for the agency to perform its tasks.
Ministers expressed thanks to countries that have provided financial support to the agency, which so far this year has raised about $200 million.


Libya rivals clash south of capital, causing blackouts

Updated 18 September 2018
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Libya rivals clash south of capital, causing blackouts

  • Tuesday morning’s clashes centered on the main road to Tripoli’s long-closed international airport
  • Libya’s National Electricity Company said its network had been damaged, causing a total blackout across the country

TRIPOLI: New clashes flared between rival militias south of Libya’s capital Tripoli on Tuesday, causing widespread power outages, the national electricity firm said.
The fighting underscored the fragility of a United Nations-backed cease-fire reached earlier this month after days of deadly violence between armed groups in the capital, beset by turmoil since the fall of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Tuesday morning’s clashes centered on the main road to Tripoli’s long-closed international airport, according to witnesses including an AFP journalist.
Libya’s National Electricity Company said its network had been damaged, causing a total blackout across the North African nation’s south and west.
Fighting which broke out late last month killed at least 63 people and wounded 159 others — mostly civilians — before the cease-fire came into effect on September 4.
Last week, the capital’s only working airport came under rocket fire just days after reopening following the truce.
Mitiga International Airport, located in a former military base that includes a prison, is currently controlled by the Special Deterrence Forces, a Salafist militia which serves as Tripoli’s police force and has been involved in clashes around the capital.
Interior Minister Abdessalam Ashour said Monday that a “regular force” would be tasked with securing the airport.
UN envoy Ghassan Salame later reported 14 cease-fire violations around Tripoli, but sought to play them down, saying the deal had been “generally respected.”
Tripoli’s main airport has been out of action since it was severely damaged by similar clashes in 2014.
Since Qaddafi’s fall in 2011, oil-rich Libya has been rocked by violence between dozens of armed groups vying for control of its cities and vast oil resources.
A UN-brokered agreement signed in Morocco in December 2015 established the Government of National Accord (GNA) in a bid to ease the chaos.
But deep divisions remain between the GNA and rivals including military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who is based in eastern Libya and backs a competing authority.
The GNA last week announced a series of measures to secure the capital and curb the influence of militias over state institutions and banks.