Jordanian education and tourism ministers resign over Dead Sea disaster

Updated 01 November 2018
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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.”

 

 

 

 


Putin and Erdogan to hold Syria talks

Updated 16 min 44 sec ago
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Putin and Erdogan to hold Syria talks

  • Erdogan said he would discuss with Putin the creation of a Turkish-controlled “security zone” in northern Syria
  • Moscow plans to organize a three-way summit with Turkey and Iran at the beginning of this year as part of the Astana peace process

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold Syria talks in Moscow on Wednesday, with Turkey saying they will focus on Ankara’s so-called “security zone” in northern Syria.
The two leaders are on opposite sides of the conflict: Russia provides critical support to the Syrian government, while Turkey has backed rebel groups fighting President Bashar Assad’s forces.
Despite this, they have worked closely to find a political solution to the seven-year conflict. Russia and Turkey have agreed to coordinate ground operations in Syria following US President Donald Trump’s shock announcement on pulling 2,000 American troops out of Syria last month.
In a speech on Monday, Erdogan said he would discuss with Putin the creation of a Turkish-controlled “security zone” in northern Syria, suggested by Trump.
The US-allied Kurds, who control much of northern Syria, have rejected the idea, fearing a Turkish offensive against territory under their control.
Moscow, a long time supporter of Assad, is likely to oppose the plan, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week saying Damascus must take control of the country’s north.
Nearly eight years into Syria’s deadly conflict, the US pullout has led to another key step in Assad’s Russian-backed drive to reassert control over the country.
Kurdish forces who were left exposed by Trump’s pledge to withdraw US troops have asked the Syrian regime for help to face a threatened Turkish offensive.
The Kremlin hailed the entry by Syrian forces into the key northern city of Manbij for the first time in six years after Kurds opened the gates.
Moscow plans to organize a three-way summit with Turkey and Iran at the beginning of this year as part of the Astana peace process, launched by the three countries in 2017.
“So far, no date has been set but after negotiations with Erdogan, we will begin preparations for the trilateral summit,” Putin’s foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters last week.
The last meeting between Putin, Erdogan and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani took place in Iran in September last year with the fate of the rebel-held Idlib province dominating the agenda.
Ties between Russia and Turkey plunged to their lowest level in years in November 2015 when Turkish forces shot down a Russian warplane over Syria.
But after a reconciliation deal in 2016, relations have recovered with remarkable speed with Putin and Erdogan cooperating closely over Syria, Turkey buying Russian-made air defense systems and Russia building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant.