Jordan steps up efforts to provide for basic needs of 10m living under virus curfew

Jordanian police personnel guard at a checkpoint during the second day of a nationwide curfew, amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, in Amman, Jordan March 22, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 24 March 2020

Jordan steps up efforts to provide for basic needs of 10m living under virus curfew

  • Around 70,000 students have begun distance learning using a curriculum broadcast on Jordan’s sports satellite station as well as online

AMMAN: The Jordanian government on Monday announced a series of programs to help ease conditions for 10 million people living under a round-the-clock coronavirus curfew.
Minister of media affairs, Amjad Adaileh, said pharmacies had been allowed to make free home deliveries of medicines, along with bread and water, and bakeries had been given the green light to restart work from Tuesday morning.
Through the initiatives, more of which will be introduced over the coming days, officials are hoping to prevent a repeat of the panic buying witnessed in supermarkets before the curfew was imposed on Saturday.
Jordan currently has 127 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease.
Around 70,000 students have begun distance learning using a curriculum broadcast on Jordan’s sports satellite station as well as online.
Government officials expected the curfew to remain in place for some time and appealed for Jordanians to adjust their lifestyles appropriately.
Samar Muhareb, director of the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) legal aid organization, told Arab News that the government’s plan of supplying basic humanitarian needs was necessary due to the large number of people affected.
“But from our experience in dealing with the Syrian crisis, after you deal with basic needs you need to address other needs or else you will be faced with social unrest.
“All of sudden you will find problems of people with aching teeth, or smoking addicts that have run out of cigarettes, and this might turn normally peaceful people into beasts if these issues are not dealt with.”
Muhareb pointed out that the Jordanian government needed to be transparent with the public over dealing with the outbreak.

SPEEDREAD

● Through the initiatives, more of which will be introduced over the coming days, officials are hoping to prevent a repeat of the panic buying witnessed in supermarkets before the curfew was imposed on Saturday.

● Around 70,000 students have begun distance learning using a curriculum broadcast on Jordan’s sports satellite station as well as online.

“In an emergency you begin with providing emergency protection and support and after protection you need to work on the need to identify the needs and begin a distribution plan that can help address the public’s need to cope with the long-term emergency,” she added.
It was only a matter of time before “the government must open up the banks and get money into people’s hands,” Muhareb said.
Linda Al-Kalash, executive director of Tamkeen for legal aid and human rights, told Arab News: “I hope the government doesn’t plan to provide cash or other support only for Jordanian citizens.
“There are 3 million people who are non-Jordanians including foreign laborers, refugees, and Palestinians without citizenship that live in the country and are equally affected by this epidemic.”


Pompeo says US to call UN vote on Iran arms embargo extension

Updated 8 sec ago

Pompeo says US to call UN vote on Iran arms embargo extension

  • The resolution is widely expected to fail, as the other members of the Security Council have signaled their opposition
  • If the vote fails, Pompeo suggested the US would invoke the so-called “snapback” mechanism

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration will press ahead with efforts to extend a United Nations arms embargo on Iran despite widespread opposition to such a move at the world body, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday. The decision sets the stage for a potential crisis at the UN Security Council amid rising tensions in Middle East.
Pompeo said the US would call for a Security Council vote next week on a US-drafted resolution to extend the embargo that is due to expire in October. The resolution is widely expected to fail, as the other members of the Security Council have signaled their opposition.
“The Security Council’s mission is to maintain international peace and security,” Pompeo told reporters. “The council would make an absolute mockery of that mission if it were to allow the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell weapons openly.”
If the vote fails, Pompeo suggested the US would invoke the so-called “snapback” mechanism that would restore all UN sanctions on Iran. Snapback was envisioned in the 2015 nuclear deal in the event Iran was proven to be in violation of the accord, under which it received billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
“One way or another we will ensure that the arms embargo will be extended,” he said. “We’re not going to let the arms embargo expire on October 18. We’re deeply aware that snapback is an option that is available to the United States.”
Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018 and has steadily reimposed US penalties on Iran, leading Iran to step up uranium enrichment and heavy water production outside the allowed limits. Disputes over those violations remain unresolved.
The remaining participants in the 2015 nuclear deal have said the US no longer has standing to invoke snapback. Administration officials and Iran hawks argue that as a permanent member of the Security Council, the US remains party to the separate UN resolution that endorsed the deal and still has the legal grounds to call for the reimposition of sanctions.
Under the nuclear deal, the UN arms embargo against Iran will expire Oct. 18 if Iran is in compliance with the agreement. For several months, Pompeo and other US officials have been lobbying for the indefinite extension of the embargo, saying its expiration would allow Iran to import weapons at will and further destabilize the Middle East.
The European participants in the nuclear deal, Britain, France and Germany, have said they have concerns about Iran's ability to import and export weapons but have also pointed out that it was envisioned by the agreement. China and Russia have threatened to veto any attempt to extend the embargo.
But a snapback of UN sanctions would not be subject to veto, due to the unusual way the provision was worded. The other members of the Security Council could, however, simply choose to ignore a US invocation of snapback, which would create a crisis of credibility in the UN's most powerful body.