Neighbours to meet in Algiers on Libya crisis

A picture taken on January 20, 2020, shows a view of Martyr's square in the Libyan capital Tripoli. (AFP)
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Updated 22 January 2020

Neighbours to meet in Algiers on Libya crisis

  • The foreign ministers of Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Chad and Niger as well as Mali are expected to attend the meeting

ALGIERS: Foreign ministers of states neighbouring Libya are to meet Thursday in Algiers as part of international efforts to reach a political settlement to the country's conflict, the foreign ministry announced.
The foreign ministers of Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Chad and Niger as well as Mali are expected to attend the meeting, organised at the initiative of Algiers, the ministry said in a statement.
It said the aim would be to advance "a political settlement to the crisis through an inclusive dialogue between all parties".
"The latest developments in Libya will be reviewed... to allow our Libyan brothers to resolve the crisis in their country free of interference of any kind."
Algeria, which has maintained a neutral stance between the warring parties, and Libya share a border of almost 1,000 kilometres (620 miles).
Algiers has hosted a string of foreign leaders and envoys for talks on the Libyan conflict, including Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the top diplomats of Egypt, France, Italy and Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected in the Algerian capital on Sunday at the start of a two-day visit.
Last Sunday, world leaders at a meeting in Berlin committed to ending all foreign meddling in Libya and to uphold a weapons embargo as part of a broader plan to end the conflict.


Palestinian minister claims Israeli police physically abused him

Fadi Hidmi. (Supplied)
Updated 04 April 2020

Palestinian minister claims Israeli police physically abused him

  • East Jerusalem — with a population of 350,000 — has been all but ignored by the Israeli Ministry of Health in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic

AMMAN: Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Fadi Hidmi was released by Israeli police on Friday afternoon after being arrested for the fourth time without charge.

Ministry spokesman Awad Awad told Arab News that Hidmi had been “warned” not to “move around” or “do any work in” Jerusalem in accordance with measures being taken to minimize the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Awad also claimed that Hidmi had been physically abused by the police, saying that the minister was “punched in the face and forced to wear a mask with blood on it.”

CCTV at Hidmi’s Mount of Olives house show that he was manhandled by Israeli police during his arrest in the early hours of Friday.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed the arrest.

Rosenfeld told the Israeli press that Hidmi was arrested “on suspicion of Palestinian activities in Jerusalem.”

He said police searched Hidmi’s home and confiscated documents as well as “large sums of money. Israeli media said that the police had confiscated NIS10,000 ($2,750) found in the house.

Hidmi, a Jerusalem resident, was the director of the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce and Industry before accepting his current job in the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh’s government.

Before Hidmi’s release on Friday, Shtayyeh wrote on social media: “Israel targets who work for #Jerusalem, even at such critical moments as we work to save our people's lives from #COVID19.”

East Jerusalem — with a population of 350,000 — has been all but ignored by the Israeli Ministry of Health in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Jamil Kousa, director of the St. Joseph hospital, told Palestine TV that he was only informed on March 25 that his hospital should be prepared to accept patients with COVID-19.

Ahmad Buderi, the coordinator of the Jerusalem Alliance — an organization launched to help combat COVID-19 — has said that people in the city are depending almost solely on local initiatives to deal with the pandemic.

Before his arrest, Hidmi launched the website madad.ps to coordinate the distribution of urgenly needed food and medical supplies to the city’s residents.

Walid Nammour, secretary-general of the Jerusalem Hospital Network, estimates that the city’s six hospitals need $7 million to to deal with the potential spread of COVID-19 in East Jerusalem.

Nammour told Arab News that 300-400 ventilators are needed and that only 26 are available at present.