Iraqi court orders arrest of ballot box storage site fire suspects

Ballot boxes are seen after a fire at a storage site in Baghdad, housing the boxes from Iraq's May parliamentary election. (Reuters)
Updated 12 June 2018

Iraqi court orders arrest of ballot box storage site fire suspects

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi court has ordered the arrest of four people accused of setting fire to a storage site housing ballot boxes from a May parliamentary election, state television said on Monday.
Three of the suspects are policemen and one is an employee of the Independent High Elections Commission, state TV said. The storage site caught fire on Sunday.

Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court is the only entity that has the right to decide if a parliamentary election needs to be re-run, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s spokesman told Reuters on Monday.
“This is a matter for the Federal Court and not for the executive branch or any other entity,” said Saad Al-Hadithi when asked if the prime minister had a comment on the speaker of parliament’s call for another election.
Parliament had mandated a manual recount of the election after a number of political parties alleged fraud. A storage site holding half of the ballot boxes from the capital caught fire on Sunday.


Lebanon sets out its claim in maritime border talks

Updated 29 October 2020

Lebanon sets out its claim in maritime border talks

  • A military source told Arab News: “The Lebanese side considers that Israel, through the border line it drew for itself, is eating into huge areas of Lebanese economic waters.”

BEIRUT: Lebanese negotiators laid out their claim to maritime territory on Wednesday as they began a second round of talks with Israel over their disputed sea border.
The contested zone in the Mediterranean is an estimated 860 square kilometers known as Block 9, which is rich in oil and gas. Future negotiations will also tackle the countries’ land border.
Wednesday’s meeting took place at the headquarters of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) amid tight security. An assistant of the UN special coordinator for Lebanon chaired the session, and the US Ambassador to Algeria, John Desrocher, was the mediator.
A military source told Arab News: “The Lebanese side considers that Israel, through the border line it drew for itself, is eating into huge areas of Lebanese economic waters.”
The Lebanese delegation produced maps and documents to support their claim to the disputed waters.
In indirect talks between Lebanon and Israel in 2012, US diplomat Frederick Hoff proposed “a middle line for the maritime borders, whereby Lebanon would get 58 percent of the disputed area and Israel would be given the remaining 42 percent, which translates to 500 square kilometers for Lebanon and 300 square kilometers for Israel.”
On the eve of Wednesday’s meeting, Lebanese and Israeli officials met to discuss a framework to resolve the conflict through the implementation of UN Resolution 1701.
UNIFIL Commander Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col praised the “constructive role that both parties played in calming tensions along the Blue Line” and stressed the necessity of “taking proactive measures and making a change in the prevailing dynamics regarding tension and escalation.”