Syria says France, Germany blocking expat vote

Updated 15 May 2014

Syria says France, Germany blocking expat vote

DAMASCUS: The foreign ministry said Monday that France and Germany intend to prevent Syrians living in their countries from voting in Syria’s presidential election, expected to return President Bashar Assad to power.
Germany and France are “preventing Syrians living in their territory from voting,” the foreign ministry said.
“France... is carrying out a hostile press campaign” against next month’s election, it said in a statement carried by state news agency SANA.
“It has officially informed our embassy in Paris of its opposition to the holding of the vote on Frech territory, including the Syrian embassy.”
French foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal implicitly confirmed the decision.
“The organization of foreign elections on French soil is covered by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of April 24, 1963,” he told AFP.
“As we are authorized by this convention, French authorities have the right to oppose the holding of this election anywhere on French territory.”
He reiterated France’s demand for a “political solution” to conflict in Syria as well as a transition process and Assad’s departure from office.
“Bashar Assad, who is responsible for the death of 150,000 people, cannot represent the future of the Syrian people,” Nadal said.
More than 150,000 people have been killed in Syria’s conflict, which began with anti-government protests in mid-March 2011.
Despite the violence, Damascus has set the presidential election for June 3, with expatriate voting to take place on May 28.
Voting in Syria will only be held in government-held territory, and Syrians who fled through unofficial border crossings will be barred from voting abroad.
The foreign ministry said Germany had “joined the countries trying to block the presidential elections in Syria.”
It accused Berlin of “supporting, funding and arming terrorist groups in a bid to destroy Syria,” referring to the anti-Assad opposition.
“It is not surprising that these countries have taken the decision to prevent Syrian citizens living in their territory from exercising their constitutional right to vote in the embassies of their country,” the ministry added.
Syria’s opposition and much of the international community have criticized Damascus for its decision to hold the presidential vote, dismissing the ballot as a “farce.”


Israel says it has completed Gaza strikes after rocket fire

Updated 15 November 2019

Israel says it has completed Gaza strikes after rocket fire

JERUSALEM: Israel says it has completed a series of airstrikes on targets linked to the Islamic Jihad militant group in Gaza after rocket fire that rattled a day-old truce.
The military statement early on Friday indicates that Israel is willing to abide by the cease-fire if there are no additional rocket attacks.
The statement says Israel struck a military compound, a rocket-manufacturing site and a militant headquarters in the town of Khan Younis.
The airstrikes came after a barrage of rockets late Thursday. There were no immediate reports of casualties on either side.
It’s unclear whether the fighting would continue. The unofficial cease-fire that began early Thursday ended a two-day escalation triggered by Israel’s targeted killing of an Islamic Jihad commander.
The fighting killed 34 Palestinians, including 16 civilians.