Palestinian divisions persist as Cairo talks end

Updated 10 February 2013
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Palestinian divisions persist as Cairo talks end

CAIRO: Palestinian factions meeting in Cairo wrapped up two days of talks aimed at reconciling the rival Hamas and Fatah late on Saturday although divisions remained over how exactly to apply the deal, an official said.
The talks, which began on Friday, were held under the umbrella of the provisional governing body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
“We agreed with Hamas to start consultations with the Palestinian factions about the formation of a government of technocrats led by President (Mahmud) Abbas under terms of the Doha Agreement,” Fatah delegation chief Azzam Al-Ahmad told reporters, referring to a deal between Hamas and Fatah nearly a year ago.
“There was agreement over most of the questions, except several points concerning the election law for the (Palestinian) National Council,” he said of the PLO’s sprawling legislature.
PLO Executive Committee member Wassel Abu Yussef had earlier on Saturday said that the main points of dispute were over the way elections were held for the PNC, as well as other issues relating to legislative and presidential elections in the Palestinian territories.
He also said there was disagreement over the timing of the establishment of a caretaker cabinet, which is supposed to prepare for new elections, and the announcement of a date for such a poll.
“Fatah wants the government formed at the same time as a decree setting the date for elections,” Abu Yussef said.
“Hamas wants the government to be formed first to end the division before the date of elections is decided.”
Maher Al-Taher, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine delegation, agreed there would need to be more talks to iron out differences of opinion.
“The atmosphere was positive but we need another meeting to sort out some interpretations and differences in point of view,” he told reporters.
Another point of dispute is the type of voting system to be used, officials said.
Fatah and independent figures in the PLO provisional governing body want the same system to apply for the PNC and parliament, whereas Hamas wants proportional representation within the Palestinian National Council.
The Islamist movement which rules Gaza wants a breakdown of 75 percent proportional representation for polling in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the rest under a one-person, one-vote system.
The Cairo talks were convened by Abbas, whose Fatah faction signed a reconciliation deal with Hamas in April 2011 aimed at ending years of rivalry, but which has never been properly implemented.
The PLO provisional governing council met in Cairo for the first time in December 2011. It groups PLO leaders and the heads of groups currently under its umbrella, as well as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and independent personalities.
Last week, Hamas authorized the Central Elections Commission to start registering voters in the Gaza Strip, removing a major obstacle to reconciliation with Fatah.
The CEC said voter registration will be carried out from February 11 to 18.


Prince William visits Jerash, meets students during Jordan visit

Updated 25 June 2018
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Prince William visits Jerash, meets students during Jordan visit

  • Britain’s Prince William visited the Roman ruins of Jerash in northern Jordan, accompanied by his host Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah
  • The two princes met children from Jordan and neighboring war-torn Syria during their visit to the site

AMMAN: Britain’s Prince William ended a two-day tour of Jordan on Monday that included a visit to the archaeological Roman city of Jerash. The visit also included meetings with young Jordanian and Syrian students.
Ziad Guneimat, head of the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism and Archaeology in Jerash, told Arab News that the visit was very successful. “The prince toured the entire facility and expressed amazement at the location and its history,” he said.
Guneimat said that the British prince was accompanied by Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, who said that this was his first official visit to the important archaeological site since becoming crown prince and regent.
Prince William posed for a photo in the same location where his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, was photographed as a two-year-old when her father was director of the British Airways office in Amman. 


The Duke of Cambridge told a crowd of Jordanian and internationals at a reception that his wife, who had recently given birth, was sorry she could not make the trip to Jordan.
Osama Salameh, a spokesman for the Royal Court in Amman, told Arab News that Prince William and the Jordanian crown prince spoke with Jordanian and Syrian students on the sidelines of the visit to the archaeological site. 
A spokesperson for UNICEF said that Prince William met with younger Syrian refugees benefiting from UNICEF’s Makani program, which offers psychological support for Syrian refugee parents and children.

The British prince was unable to watch his country’s World Cup game live on Sunday, so the UK embassy recorded the game and he was seen watching the recorded version of Britain’s 6-1 victory over Panama along with Jordan’s crown prince.
At an event sponsored by the UK Embassy in Amman on Sunday to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday, Prince William read out a message in which the queen looked back warmly on her 1984 visit to Jordan and spoke of the country as “a staunch and long-held friend.” 
“The way in which you opened your doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, not to mention your longstanding commitments to Palestinian refugees, is remarkable,” the prince told Jordanians. The event was attended by Jordanians, members of the diplomatic corps as well as the newly sworn-in Prime Minister Omar Razzaz and members of his Cabinet. 
Prince William arrived in Israel on Monday for the first-ever official visit of a member of the British royal family to the tumultuous region London once ruled.
Arriving from neighboring Jordan, the Duke of Cambridge landed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport and then departed to Jerusalem, where he will stay at the elegant King David Hotel, site of the former administrative headquarters of the British mandate.
Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Prince William will be staying at the Hotel, which was the main administrative building of officials during the British Mandate from 1920-1948. The hotel was also the site of a terrorist attack by a Zionist underground organization in July 1946, which killed 91 people.