Secretary-General of Arab League warns Palestine situation critical

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit gestures during a joint conference. (File/AFP)
Updated 20 September 2018
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Secretary-General of Arab League warns Palestine situation critical

  • The United States recently announced that it is ending all funding for the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA
  • The Secretary-General stated that this deprives Palestinians of any political solution in the future

The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit warned of the deteriorating situation of Palestinians in occupied territories, pointing out that the current situation is cause for concern.

Aboul Gheit said in a statement: “The US administration is exerting unprecedented pressure on the weakest party in this conflict, and it is not understood how such an approach could eventually lead to peace, which actually distances us from the two-state solution.”

The United States recently announced that it is ending all funding for the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA. Washington’s aid cuts to the Palestinians also affects cancer patients and peace groups.

The Secretary-General stated that this deprives Palestinians of any political solution in the future and puts them under unprecedented pressure, both at a political level and on a humanitarian level with regards to the standard of daily life of millions of people living in occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Aboul Gheit stressed that the explosion of the situation in Palestine will not be in the interest of any party, and that there is a responsibility on the international community to prevent the situation to deteriorate even more.

Aboul Gheit blamed the US, calling Washington responsible for creating this state of anger and despair among Palestinians, stating that the situation has negative consequences for stability in the region.


Powerful Algerian party abandons beleaguered Bouteflika

Updated 58 min 9 sec ago
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Powerful Algerian party abandons beleaguered Bouteflika

  • The National Rally for Democracy has joined ruling party officials, unions and business tycoons who have abandoned Abdelaziz Bouteflika
  • ‘The candidacy of president Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a new term was a big mistake’

ALGIERS: An influential Algerian party that was a long-time supporter of Abdelaziz Bouteflika has criticized the ailing president for seeking to stay in power, another setback for the ruling elite in the face of mass demonstrations.
The National Rally for Democracy (RND), a member of the ruling coalition, has joined ruling party officials, unions and business tycoons who have abandoned Bouteflika in recent days, after nearly a month of street demonstrations protests.
“The candidacy of president Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a new term was a big mistake,” RND spokesman Seddik Chihab told El Bilad TV.
“Extra constitutional forces have seized power in the past few years and ruled state affairs outside a legal framework.”
Bouteflika, who has ruled for 20 years, bowed to the protesters last week by reversing plans to stand for a fifth term. But he stopped short of stepping down and said he would stay in office until a new constitution is adopted, effectively extending his present term.
His moves have done nothing to halt demonstrations, which peaked on Friday with hundreds of thousands of protesters on the streets of Algiers and have continued into this week.
RND leader Ahmed Ouyahia, a former prime minister who had close ties to intelligence agencies, has also switched sides. “The people’s demands should be met as soon as possible,” he told followers in a letter on Sunday.
Leaders have emerged from the protest movement, offering an alternative to Bouteflika’s political roadmap to what he says will be a new Algeria. But they have not built up enough momentum to force the president to quit or make more concessions.
The military, which wields enormous power from behind the scenes, has remained on the sidelines.
Another powerful figure, Bouteflika’s younger brother Said, has kept a low profile. The president has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke five years ago, and the protesters say a shadowy circle of aides, including Said, have been ruling the country in his name.
The protests continued on Tuesday, with students, university professors and health workers rallying in Algiers calling for Bouteflika to quit.
A new group headed by activists and opposition figures told the army not to interfere.
In the first direct public message to the generals from leaders emerging from the protests, the National Coordination for Change said the military should “play its constitutional role without interfering in the people’s choice.”