Gulf countries reject US position on Israeli settlements, Arab League calls emergency meeting

Laborers work in a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Ramat Givat Zeev in the occupied-West Bank Nov. 19, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 20 November 2019

Gulf countries reject US position on Israeli settlements, Arab League calls emergency meeting

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it completely rejected Washington’s statement on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, state news agency SPA reported.
US President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday abandoned the position held by the United States for four decades that the settlements were “inconsistent with international law.” 
An official foreign ministry source expressed “the Kingdom’s utter rejection of the US government’s statements that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank are legitimate and do not violate international law.”
The source added that Israel’s construction of the settlements is contrary to the resolutions of international legitimacy and international law, and stands as an obstacle to achieving peace and stability in the Middle East and a two-state solution.
The source said that achieving lasting peace requires the Palestinian people to obtain their full legitimate rights in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and the resolutions of international legitimacy.

The United Arab Emirates also stressed the need to abide by the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative, which are relevant to the West Bank, including Security Council resolutions stating that Israeli settlements are illegal.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the UN Security Council to abide by the Security Council resolutions stating that Israel should stop settlement activities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities toward providing international protection for the Palestinian people and confronting Israeli policies that violate international law.
Bahrain also reiterated its firm rejection of the Israeli settlements, “which is in violation of international law and resolutions of international legitimacy, especially Security Council Resolution 2334 issued in 2016 to stop settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories in 1967, including East Jerusalem.”
Bahrain’s foreign ministry said that the construction of settlements carries serious repercussions that would hinder efforts to reach a just and comprehensive peace in the region based on a two-state solution.
Meanwhile, the Arab League said it is to hold an urgent meeting Monday on the US announcement.
Hossam Zaki, the pan-Arab body’s deputy secretary general, said several members had backed a Palestinian Authority (PA) call for a ministerial meeting.
The PA’s permanent representative to the Arab League has condemned Washington’s change of position — announced by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — as “illegal.”
Pompeo said Monday that after legal consultations, the US had concluded the establishment of settlements was “not, per se, inconsistent with international law.”
The Cairo-based Arab League has said the US shift was an “extremely adverse development.”


First government headquarters launched in Egypt’s new administrative capital

Egyptian police guard in front of the new government district in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) east of Cairo, Egypt May 2, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 21 September 2020

First government headquarters launched in Egypt’s new administrative capital

  • The establishments occupy 250,000 square meters of that area, with a total building area of ​​2 million square meters and a construction rate of 20 percent

CAIRO: Egypt has launched its first ministerial headquarters in the New Administrative Capital project, in preparation for the transfer of the most prominent government headquarters in Cairo to the new location in the coming months.

During Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly’s visit to the administrative capital, he inspected the headquarters of the Ministry of Finance, which has been furnished and equipped as a model for the rest of the ministries.

According to a statement from the Egyptian Cabinet, officials confirmed that the implementation rate of the government district had reached 87 percent and that the structure and internal buildings were fully complete. So far 234 floors, roofs and basements and 2,086 service rooms have been delivered.

The prime minister listened to an explanation from Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces officials about the executive position of the government district in the New Administrative Capital, which is located on an area of ​​1.5 million square meters.

The establishments occupy 250,000 square meters of that area, with a total building area of ​​2 million square meters and a construction rate of 20 percent. The rest of the space consists of gardens and roads.

The project includes 10 ministerial complexes with a total of 34 ministries, in addition to the Cabinet Presidency building, the Parliament building and the main axis in the middle of the ministerial buildings.

The prime minister witnessed the casting of the walls of the “L 45” floor of the Iconic Tower, the highest tower in Africa, and one of the distinctive icons of the New Capital project, which rises to about 385 meters. So far it sits at a height of 220 meters, which exceeds the height of the Cairo Tower, according to the Middle East News Agency.

Madbouly explained that the central business district will become a distinctive landmark in the new capital. He instructed the Chinese company implementing the project to complete all external construction work on the towers in late October 2021.

He revealed that the government is working to implement a new city near the New Administrative Capital in the coming period. Madbouly said that the decision on the construction of the new city will be issued soon, noting that work has started in the city as commissioned by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

“The New Administrative Capital is a model for nearly 20 new cities, whose construction is being carried out at the same level, which aims to absorb the increase in population and increase the globalized area in Egypt, preceded by proper planning,” he said.