Arab FMs reject unilateral steps that ‘jeopardize legal status of Jerusalem’

1 / 2
A photo taken on March 27, 2017 shows a general view of the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers during the 28th Summit of the Arab League at the Dead Sea, south of the Jordanian capital Amman, with the Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul-Gheit (C-L) and chair Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi (C) seated in the centre. (AFP)
2 / 2
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attends the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers during the 28th Summit of the Arab League at the Dead Sea, south the Jordanian capital Amman, on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 28 March 2017

Arab FMs reject unilateral steps that ‘jeopardize legal status of Jerusalem’

THE DEAD SEA, Jordan: The Council of Arab Foreign Ministers on Monday approved 17 draft resolutions, including the rejection of unilateral steps that “jeopardize the historic and legal status” of Jerusalem. The draft will be presented to Arab leaders at their summit on Wednesday.
It followed an announcement by Jason Greenblatt, US envoy to the Middle East, that he looks forward to attending the Arab Summit as an observer “to discuss how best to work together against extremism and toward peace and prosperity.”
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi said at a press conference held at the Dead Sea resort that all draft resolutions submitted by the Arab League’s permanent representatives to the Arab League had been agreed upon.
Al-Safadi said the draft agenda prepared by the Council of Arab Foreign Ministers included 17 resolutions addressing all current Arab issues.
In response to a question about the possibility of transferring the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Al-Safadi said that Arabs have repeatedly stressed the need to establish a just and lasting peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis in accordance with international covenants and resolutions, and within the two-state solution to ensure an independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian national territory with East Jerusalem as its capital. Al-Safadi also said Arab foreign ministers rejected unilateral steps that “jeopardize the historic and legal status” of Jerusalem.
This was an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s previously stated intentions to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians seek a capital in east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Al-Safadi said the resolution is one of “about 17” to be adopted later this week at the gathering of Arab heads of state. He said the ministers also reaffirmed the need to establish a state of Palestine alongside Israel.
Meanwhile, US envoy Greenblatt tweeted: “The US president believes peace between Israelis and Palestinians might be possible and that the time has come to make a deal and I believe that such a peace agreement will reverberate positively throughout the region and the world.”
Last month, Greenblatt met with senior Palestinian and Israeli officials, during which he reaffirmed the US commitment to achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians.


In the deserts of Dubai, salmon farming thrives

Updated 23 min 39 sec ago

In the deserts of Dubai, salmon farming thrives

  • The farming of salmon in the desert is “something that no one could have imagined,” said Bader bin Mubarak
  • Fish Farm produces 10,000 to 15,000 kilos of salmon every month

DUBAI: From a control room in the middle of Dubai’s desert, Norway’s sunrises and sunsets and the cool currents of the Atlantic are recreated for the benefit of thousands of salmon raised in tanks despite searing conditions outside.
Dubai is no stranger to ambitious projects, with a no-limits approach that has seen a palm-shaped island built off its coast, and a full-scale ski slope created inside a shopping mall.
But the farming of salmon in the desert is “something that no one could have imagined,” said Bader bin Mubarak, chief executive of Fish Farm. “This is exactly what we’re doing in Dubai.”
Inside the facility, waters flow and temperatures fluctuate to create the most desirable conditions for the salmon living in four vast tanks.
“We provide for them a sunrise, sunset, tide, a strong current or a simple river current — and we have deep waters and shallow waters,” Mubarak told AFP.
Even for a country known for its extravagant ventures, building Fish Farm, located along the southern border of the emirate, was a challenging endeavour.
Salmon usually live in cold waters such as those in and off Iceland, Norway, Scotland and Alaska — which is why the farming of Atlantic salmon in a country where temperatures can reach up to 45C (113 degrees F) is a stretch to say the least.
“Creating the (right) environment for the salmon was the hardest thing we faced,” Mubarak told AFP.
“But we came up with the idea of dark water that resembles deep water, a strong current like the ocean with the same salinity and temperature of the Atlantic.”
Fish Farm bought some 40,000 fingerlings — or juvenile fish — from a hatchery in Scotland and thousands more eggs from Iceland to raise in open tanks in Dubai’s southern district of Jebel Ali.
Salmon are born in freshwater but live in salt water for much of their lives before returning to freshwater to spawn.
At their home in the United Arab Emirates, the tanks are filled with sea water that is cleaned and filtered.
Fish Farm produces 10,000 to 15,000 kilos of salmon every month.
It was established in 2013 with the support of Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, to farm salmon and other fish including Japanese amberjack, which is used to prepare sushi.
Mubarak said that because of the technical challenge, salmon-raising remains the “greatest production” of the farm, which supplies to Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates, where the population includes millions of expatriates.
“The UAE imports around 92 percent of its fish from abroad, and the goal today is to be able to fulfil (that demand) for imports internally, so that we have food security,” Mubarak said.
“In case there is an interruption, cyclone or floods, the UAE will be able to supply itself. This is the main objective.”
Another goal is to be environmentally friendly and, in a move also motivated by the high cost of electricity, Fish Farm has plans to go solar-powered.
The ecological pros and cons of farming fish on land, compared to raising them in rivers and seas, are hotly debated, as is the alternative of harvesting wild fish.
“There are animal welfare concerns about keeping fish whose natural behavior is to swim freely in seas and rivers in closed tanks,” said Jessica Sinclair Taylor, from Feedback Global, a London-based environmental group.
“There are also concerns about the energy requirements and therefore carbon emissions.”
But she said that on the plus side, land-based farming prevents water pollution in lakes or seas where salmon farms are sometimes sited, and where waste and run-off can damage marine ecosystems.
According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the UAE imported 2.3 billion dirhams ($630 million, 570 million euros) of fish products, crustaceans and molluscs in 2017 and exported 280 million dirhams’ worth.
Fish Farm, the UAE’s only fish farm, hopes to meet at least 50 percent of the country’s needs within two years, said Mubarak.
In April, Fish Farm began selling its products in supermarkets. Despite its decidedly unnatural origins, the salmon is marked “100 percent organic” because of the fish feed and the absence of antibiotics in a closed environment.
“It is (more expensive), but I also think about the quality — I’ve tried different salmon before and this is less greasy and my family prefers this one,” said Katja, a German residing in Dubai.
She said that UAE is “making really great efforts to produce not only fish but vegetables and other foods locally, and I think I should really support that.”