Palestinian president appoints ally Shtayyeh as new PM

Senior Fatah official Mohammad Shtayyeh receives a designation letter from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to form a new Palestinian government, in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in this handout picture released March 10, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 10 March 2019
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Palestinian president appoints ally Shtayyeh as new PM

  • Abbas asked Shtayyeh to form a new government
  • Some analysts view bringing in Shtayyeh to replace outgoing prime minister Rami Hamdallah as part of Abbas’s efforts to further isolate his political rivals

RAMALLAH: Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas appointed longtime ally Mohammad Shtayyeh as prime minister on Sunday, a senior official said, in a move seen as part of efforts to further isolate Hamas.
Abbas asked Shtayyeh, a member of the central committee of the Palestinian president’s Fatah party, to form a new government, Fatah vice president Mahmoud Al-Aloul told AFP.
Official Palestinian news agency WAFA also reported the move.
Some analysts view bringing in Shtayyeh to replace outgoing prime minister Rami Hamdallah as part of Abbas’s efforts to further isolate his political rivals from Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip.
Shtayyeh, born in 1958, is a long-term Abbas ally, while Hamdallah was politically independent.
The previous government was formed during a period of improved relations and had the backing of Hamas.
This government is instead likely to be dominated by Fatah, though other smaller parties will be represented. Hamas is not expected to be included.


Gargash: UAE not leaving war-torn Yemen despite drawdown

Updated 23 July 2019
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Gargash: UAE not leaving war-torn Yemen despite drawdown

  • The UAE announced earlier this month it was drawing down and redeploying troops in Yemen
  • UAE minister Gargash said the Houthis should see the UAE move as a confidence-building measure

The United Arab Emirates, part of a Saudi-led military coalition, is not leaving war-torn Yemen despite an ongoing drawdown and redeployment of Emirati forces, a UAE minister has said.

“Just to be clear, the UAE and the rest of the coalition are not leaving Yemen,” minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said in an opinion piece published Monday in The Washington Post.

“While we will operate differently, our military presence will remain. In accordance with international law, we will continue to advise and assist local Yemen forces.”

The UAE announced earlier this month it was drawing down and redeploying troops in Yemen, where a years-long conflict between government forces - backed by the Saudi-led coalition - and Iran-backed Houthi militia has pushed the country to the brink of famine.

The UAE is a key partner in the military coalition which intervened in Yemen in 2015 to back the internationally-recognised government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against the Houthi.

Gargash said the Houthis should see the UAE move as a “confidence-building measure to create new momentum to end the conflict”.

“As the United Arab Emirates draws down and redeploys its forces in Yemen, we do so in the same way we began - with eyes wide open,” he said.

“There was no easy victory and there will be no easy peace.

“But now is the time to double down on the political process.”

The warring sides have fought to a stalemate, and several rounds of UN-sponsored talks, the last held in Sweden in December, have failed to implement any deal to end the war.

Since 2015, tens of thousands of people - mostly civilians - have been killed in the conflict described by the United Nations as the world’s worst manmade humanitarian crisis.