Jordanians view Pelosi visit as support for their country

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. (AFP)
Updated 21 October 2019

Jordanians view Pelosi visit as support for their country

  • The king stressed the need for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution, with East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine

AMMAN: Jordanians are interpreting the visit of a US congressional delegation headed by Democrat Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives (the lower house of Congress), as a statement of support for the kingdom.
“Considering what’s happening in the region, this is a welcome visit that emboldens our country and our leadership,” Jordanian MP Wafa Bani Mustafa told Arab News.
Adnan Abu Odeh, a former adviser to King Abdullah and the late King Hussein, told Arab News: “I’m sure the delegation wants to go back to Washington and convey a sense of concern about the situation in Jordan and the region.”
Veteran Jordanian journalist Etaf Roudan told Arab News: “King Abdullah is looking to create warm alliances within Washington after the cold shoulder that (US President Donald) Trump has shown to Jordan following the disagreement over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Roudan said: “Pelosi’s visit comes as she gears up for a major political confrontation with Trump. Unlike Trump, American Democrats support the two-state solution.”
The nine-member bipartisan delegation included Adam Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, who is leading the impeachment probe into Trump; Eliot Engel, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; and Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.
Mac Thornberry, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, was the only Republican in the delegation.
It was received in Jordan by the king, Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, the king’s communications adviser Bisher Khasawneh, and his media adviser Kemal Al-Nasser.
During their meeting, the two sides discussed cooperation, the strategic partnership between the two countries, and regional developments, primarily the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jordan’s official Petra news agency reported.
The king stressed the need for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution, with East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine.
On Syria, the king called for a political solution that safeguards the country’s territorial integrity and its people’s unity, while guaranteeing the safe and voluntary return of refugees, Petra reported.
The US delegation commended Jordan’s efforts in pursuit of regional peace and stability.

Locust invasion in Yemen stokes food insecurity fears

A Yemeni tries to catch locusts on the rooftop of his house as they swarm several parts of the country bringing in devastations and destruction of major seasonal crops. (AFP)
Updated 13 July 2020

Locust invasion in Yemen stokes food insecurity fears

  • Billions of locusts invaded farms, cities and villages, devouring seasonal crops

AL-MUKALLA: Locust swarms have swept over farms in central, southern and eastern parts of Yemen, ravaging crops and stoking fears of food insecurity.

Residents and farmers in the provinces of Marib, Hadramout, Mahra and Abyan said that billions of locusts had invaded farms, cities and villages, devouring important seasonal crops such as dates and causing heavy losses.
“This is like a storm that razes anything it encounters,” Hussein Ben Al-Sheikh Abu Baker, an agricultural official from Hadramout’s Sah district, told Arab News on Sunday.
Images and videos posted on social media showed layers of creeping locusts laying waste to lemon farms in Marb, dates and alfalfa farms in Hadramout and flying swarms plunging cities into darkness. “The locusts have eaten all kinds of green trees, including the sesban tree. The losses are huge,” Abu Baker added.
Heavy rains and flash floods have hit several Yemeni provinces over the last couple of months, creating fruitful conditions for locusts to reproduce. Farmers complained that locusts had wiped out entire seasonal crops that are grown after rains.
Abu Baker said that he visited several affected farms in Hadramout, where farmers told him that if the government would not compensate them for the damage that it should at least get ready for a second potential locust wave that might occur in 10 days.
“The current swarms laid eggs that are expected to hatch in 10 days. We are bracing for the second wave of the locusts.”  
Last year, the UN said that the war in Yemen had disrupted vital monitoring and control efforts and several waves of locusts to hit neighboring countries had originated from Yemen.

This is like a storm that razes anything it encounters.

Hussein Ben Al-Sheikh Abu Baker, a Yemeni agricultural official

Yemeni government officials, responsible for battling the spread of locusts, have complained that fighting and a lack of funding have obstructed vital operations for combating the insects.
Ashor Al-Zubairi, the director of the Locust Control Unit at the Ministry of Agriculture in Hadramout’s Seiyun city, said that the ministry was carrying out a combat operation funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization in Hadramout and Mahra, but complained that the operation might fall short of its target due to a lack of funding and equipment.
“The spraying campaign will end in a week which is not enough to cover the entire plagued areas,” Al-Zubairi told Arab News. “We suggested increasing the number of spraying equipment or extending the campaign.”
He said that a large number of villagers had lost their source of income after the locusts ate crops and sheep food, predicting that the outbreak would likely last for at least two weeks if urgent control operations were not intensified and fighting continued. “Combating teams could not cross into some areas in Marib due to fighting.”
The widespread locust invasion comes as the World Food Programme (WFP) on July 10 sent an appeal for urgent funds for its programs in Yemen, warning that people would face starvation otherwise.
“There are 10 million people who are facing (an) acute food shortage, and we are ringing the alarm bell for these people, because their situation is deteriorating because of escalation and because of the lockdowns, the constraints and the social-economic impact of the coronavirus,” WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told reporters in Geneva.