New US ambassador meets with Iraqi FM in Baghdad

Tueller submitted his diplomatic credentials to Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim. (Iraqi foreign ministry)
Updated 09 June 2019
0

New US ambassador meets with Iraqi FM in Baghdad

  • Matthew Tueller has served as US ambassador to both Yemen and Kuwait
  • The US Senate confirmed Tueller’s appointment in Iraq in mid-May

BAGHDAD: The new US ambassador in Baghdad submitted his credentials to Iraq’s top diplomat, the foreign ministry announced Sunday, joining the embassy just weeks after Washington brought “non-essential” diplomatic staff home.
Matthew Tueller has served as US ambassador to both Yemen and Kuwait, and had been previously posted in Baghdad as a political adviser at the American embassy.
On Sunday, Tueller submitted his diplomatic credentials to Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim, who said Baghdad would “guarantee all necessary conditions for the success of his mission.”
The US Senate confirmed Tueller’s appointment in Iraq in mid-May, a day after the State Department announced it was withdrawing all “non-essential” members from its embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Irbil.
The move came amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran that have repeatedly seen Iraq — an ally of both countries — caught in the middle.
The US withdrew from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran last year, then reinstated tough sanctions on the Islamic republic.
In April, it designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a “terrorist organization,” prompting Iran to slap US troops across the region with the same designation.
And last month, the US deployed a carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf over unspecified Iranian “threats” and a rocket landed in Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone, where the US embassy is based.
It sparked fears of a spillover into Iraq, which relies heavily on Iran for energy and consumer goods and where various Shiite armed groups have close ties to Tehran.


Door will stay open to Palestinians despite Bahrain boycott, Kushner tells Arab News

Updated 26 June 2019
0

Door will stay open to Palestinians despite Bahrain boycott, Kushner tells Arab News

  • Kushner said US President Donald Trump had delivered on his promises to everyone, and would deliver on his promise to Palestinians
  • Kushner says he has laid out a great framework in which Palestinians can engage 'if they want to make their people’s lives better'

MANAMA: The “Peace to Prosperity” conference in Bahrain was “a remarkable couple of days,” White House adviser Jared Kushner said on Wednesday as he was pressed by Israeli reporters demanding to know what consequences Palestinians would face for refusing to attend.
The conflict was a “solvable problem economically,” Kushner said. “The Palestinian people have been promised a lot of things over the years that have not come true, and I do want to show them that this is the plan, this is what could happen if there is a peace deal.”
Kushner said he planned to follow up with investors to secure the funding. “Once we have that, we will roll into the political plan but we will do it with a context of people having the opportunity to digest what is possible.” It was a “constant theme” during the conference “that this is actually very doable,” he said.
Kushner’s press secretary controlled who could ask questions. He said he would only allow four, and called Israeli journalists from i24 Israeli TV and The Times of Israel.  When the press secretary waved me away, I asked if he would take a question from the only Palestinian reporter present, writing for Arab News. Kushner said: “Yes.”
I asked if he was going to close the door or leave it open to the Palestinians as his vision for economic peace moved forward.
“If they actually want to make their people’s lives better, we have now laid out a great framework in which they can engage and try to achieve it,” Kushner replied.
“We have left the door open the whole time. One thing you have seen with me is I tend not to get emotional about transactions at the end of the day, I understand people have their domestic politics and people have different ways of reacting.

“I think what you have seen from us is that we have been very respectful, very straightforward. We have been very deliberate. We take actions, not weighing the
political consequences. We have been weighing what is right and wrong.”
Kushner said US President Donald Trump had delivered on his promises to everyone, and would deliver on his promise to Palestinians.
“President Trump has said he wants to help the Palestinians achieve a better future for themselves, and I hope they will take it very seriously that he has been trying to do that. Hopefully what you have seen in the last couple of days shows there has been a lot of effort on a very high level, a lot of resources devoted to it.
“We are going to keep moving forward and we will put out our political plan at the right time. I do think that one of the things from today is that it will be very hard for people to go back to looking at this through a traditional lens. I do think that hopefully we have helped people look at it a little bit differently, and that is one of our goals.”