Abbas to seek wider peace process in UN speech: officials

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will call for an alternative to US-mediated negotiations with Israel during a rare address to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 19 February 2018

Abbas to seek wider peace process in UN speech: officials

RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas will call for an alternative to US-mediated negotiations with Israel during a rare address to the United Nations Security Council, Palestinian officials said Monday.
Addressing the council Tuesday for the first time since 2009, the longtime Palestinian leader is expected to call for multiple international powers to facilitate peace negotiations and again criticize the United States’ controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
President Donald Trump’s December announcement angered the Palestinians, who also consider the city the capital of their future state, and led them to say the US had disqualified itself from its traditional role as lead mediator in talks with Israel.
In a statement ahead of the visit, Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told state media a “new phase of struggle has started” as they seek to protect their claim to Jerusalem.
Senior Palestinian official Nasser Al-Qudwa said on Monday that Abbas would be looking to gain support for a multilateral initiative, but added that the Palestinians would not dictate what shape it would take.
The 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement negotiated by the so-called P5+1 — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — is seen by many Palestinians as a good example.
“We can live with different formats, the P5, P5+1, expanded Quartet, we can live with an international peace conference,” Qudwa told a news conference in Ramallah.
“Anything that can do the job, provide a reasonable basis for negotiation and follow up the process — sponsor it until it successfully concludes.”
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, is expected to respond to Abbas’s comments.
Israel, which often accuses both the European Union and the United Nations of bias against it, would be reluctant to accept any other mediator than the US.
Palestine is currently a non-member observer state at the UN, but would need a UN Security Council vote to be upgraded to full membership.


Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Updated 16 September 2019

Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

  • Joint operations planned to prevent attacks ahead of polls

KABUL: Afghan forces backed by US forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hard-line insurgent group in joint airstrikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an airstrike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.

“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

HIGHLIGHT

Taliban deny the governor of Samangan province had been killed.

Last week, insurgents killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.

“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.

Senior security officials in Kabul said several joint operations will be launched against Taliban and Daesh fighters to prevent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians ahead of the presidential polls on Sept. 28.

Fighting picked up in several parts of Afghanistan last week after US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation of talks with the Taliban aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to end to 18 year-long war in Afghanistan. 

 

Troops for polling day

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Sunday that 72,000 security personnel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling centers across Afghanistan while nearly 30,000 additional troops will serve as reserve units.

Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said security forces have recently taken back eight districts from the Taliban and that operations are underway to secure around 20 others.