Jordanian education and tourism ministers resign over Dead Sea disaster

Updated 01 November 2018

Jordanian education and tourism ministers resign over Dead Sea disaster

  • 21 people died in flash floods last week, many of them school children on a field trip.
  • Many of those killed were children under 14.

AMMAN: Jordan's tourism and education ministers resigned Thursday in response to flash floods near the Dead Sea that killed 21 people- mostly children.

The government has come under increasing pressure for the disaster last Thursday after it emerged that a school trip had gone ahead despite warnings of bad weather. 

The Minister of Tourism Lina Annab and Minister of Education Azmi Mahafzah submitted their resignation to Prime Minister Omar Al-Razzaz after several members of parliament called for their dismissal earlier this week. 

Annab said that she had resigned from her post as Minister of Tourism and Antiquities “in light of the general political climate and the painful situation that our beloved country experienced and is experiencing.”

It has not yet been announced whether the Jordanian prime minister had accepted the resignations or not.

Pupils on the school trip, their teachers and minders had stepped out of their bus in a tourist area called Al-Miyah Al-Sakhina when they were hit by a flash flood that washed them towards the nearby Dead Sea.

Twenty-one people died in the floods and many of them were children under 14. Families picnicking in the popular destination were also among the dead and injured.

Jordanian political scientist Philip Madant told Arab News that the decision helped preserve Prime Minister Omar Razzaz's government. 

MP Nabil Gheishan told Arab News that the resignation avoids a major confrontation that could have brought down the government. “This was the least that they can do to ensure the government stays.”





White House’s Kushner to finalize Palestinian economic plan on Middle East tour -official

Updated 24 min 50 sec ago

White House’s Kushner to finalize Palestinian economic plan on Middle East tour -official

  • White House senior adviser Kushner will visit Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE

WASHINGTON: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner will lead a US delegation on a tour of the Middle East to finalize details of his proposed $50 billion economic development plan for the Palestinians, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, an administration official said on Sunday.
Kushner, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, State Department official Brian Hook and Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz are expected to make make stops in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the official said.
They leave late this month and return to Washington in early August.
The official said the purpose of the trip is to “continue on the momentum that was created at the workshop in Bahrain and finalize the economic portion of the plan.”
They will also discuss the possibility of locating the development fund in Bahrain, the official said.
Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and the plan’s main architect, sought to build support for his ambitious economic proposals for the Palestinian territories at an international meeting in Bahrain in June.
Palestinians poured scorn on the Trump administration’s $50 billion investment plan to help achieve Middle East peace, but US Gulf Arab allies said the economic initiative had promise if a political settlement is reached.
Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week discussed creation of the fund with World Bank President David Malpass, the official said. The World Bank has a role in managing the fund.
The delegation was not expected to discuss Trump’s long-awaited political plan for the Middle East, and when it will be released remains unclear.