Prisoner’s freedom sought for abducted Jordan ambassador

Updated 16 April 2014

Prisoner’s freedom sought for abducted Jordan ambassador

TRIPOLI: Jordan’s ambassador to Libya was kidnapped on Tuesday by gunmen who demanded a radical militant be released from a Jordanian jail in exchange for the diplomat’s freedom.
The masked gunmen shot and wounded the driver of Ambassador Fawaz Al-Itan’s car as they snatched the diplomat from a street in the capital Tripoli, Libya’s Foreign Ministry said.
Essam Baitelmel, a member of the Libyan team investigating the abduction, said the kidnappers had demanded the release of Mohamed Dersi, a Libyan militant jailed for life in 2007 for plotting to blow up the main airport in Jordan.
The kidnappers made their demands in a call to the ambassador’s own cellphone, which was left behind in the car after the abduction, Baitelmel said. They said the diplomat was unharmed.
Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour told Parliament the government would take “all necessary measures to protect his life and release him.” But agreeing to the kidnappers’ demand could set a dangerous precedent for Jordan.
“Jordan has currently locked up some of the top global Al-Qaeda scholars and jihadis like Mohammad Al-Makdisi and Abu Qatada. A deal over Dersi may encourage other jihadis to follow suit, so, very tricky,” a Jordanian intelligence official said.
Royal Jordanian Airlines suspended flights to Tripoli after the kidnap.

Deal on horizon after Lebanon maritime border talks

Updated 22 min 57 sec ago

Deal on horizon after Lebanon maritime border talks

  • Hariri condemns ‘heinous criminal attack’ on French worshippers 

BEIRU: Talks between Israel and Lebanon over disputed maritime borders are expected to resume next month following two days of productive negotiations, the US and UN said.

US-mediated talks held at the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters in Naqoura ended on Thursday with plans for another round of negotiations to begin on Nov. 11.

Lebanon presented documents and maps claiming its right to 2,270 sq. km of the marine area, a position at odds with Israel.

Following the talks, the US and the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon released a statement saying: “Building on progress from their Oct. 14 meeting, on Oct. 28 and 29 representatives from the governments of Israel and Lebanon held productive talks mediated by the US and hosted by the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL).

“The US and UNSCOL remain hopeful that these negotiations will lead to a long-awaited resolution. The parties committed to continue negotiations next month.”

Meanwhile, a terrorist attack that left three people dead in a church in the southern French city of Nice has drawn widespread condemnation in Lebanon.

Prime minister-designate Saad Hariri condemned what he described as a “heinous criminal attack.”

After meeting with Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, Lebanon’s top Sunni religious authority, he said: “The incidents in France are regrettable, but we condemn in return the words and cartoons mocking the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). But what happened today in Nice is a very regrettable murder because it makes it seem like all Muslims have the same mentality, and this is entirely false.

“Thoughts, speech or revenge should not be based on this logic. This discourse is wrong. Just as well, such cartoons should not be published, and we condemn them. But the important thing is to realize that Islam is fine.”