Syria’s warring parties agree to Geneva talks: UN envoy

Pedersen also repeated a message made to the UN Security Council on Monday and urged the United States and Russia to talk about a push for peace. (File/AFP)
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Updated 19 May 2020

Syria’s warring parties agree to Geneva talks: UN envoy

  • “As soon as the pandemic situation allows, they have agreed to come to Geneva and they have agreed on an agenda for the next meeting,” the envoy said

GENEVA: Opposing sides in Syria’s conflict have agreed to reconvene in Geneva for negotiations on the constitution, United Nations Special Envoy Geir Pedersen said on Tuesday, adding that a lull in fighting could provide an opportunity to start healing “deep, deep mistrust” between them.
“As soon as the pandemic situation allows, they have agreed to come to Geneva and they have agreed on an agenda for the next meeting,” he told journalists. He did not give a date and said that a virtual meeting of the constitutional committee would not be possible.
In the same briefing, Pedersen also repeated a message made to the UN Security Council on Monday and urged the United States and Russia to talk about a push for peace.


Israel records highest single-day virus tally

Updated 36 sec ago

Israel records highest single-day virus tally

  • Benjamin Netanyahu has admitted that the decision to allow businesses, including bars and event spaces, to re-open may have been made “too soon”
  • Certain towns and city neighborhoods across the country considered virus hotspots have been placed under more robust lockdowns

JERUSALEM: Israel has recorded its highest number of coronavirus infections over a 24-hour period, with nearly 1,500 new cases confirmed in the most recent daily count, the health ministry said Friday.
Israel had won early praise for its virus containment efforts, but cases have surged since a broad re-opening began in May.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted in a late Thursday news conference that the decision to allow businesses, including bars and event spaces, to re-open may have been made “too soon.”
“I take responsibility for it,” he told reporters.
From midnight (2100 GMT) on Wednesday to midnight on Thursday, the health ministry registered 1,504 new coronavirus infections — the highest single-day tally since Israel confirmed its first case on February 21.
The country of roughly nine million has now registered more than 36,000 cases, including 351 deaths.
Various restrictions have been re-imposed, including the closure of venues, clubs, bars, gyms and public pools.
Limits on the number of people allowed in restaurants and places of worship have also been reinstated.
Certain towns and city neighborhoods across the country considered virus hotspots have been placed under more robust lockdowns.
Israel’s director of public health services, Siegal Sadetzki, resigned this week, blasting her superiors for ignoring her advice and steering Israel’s virus response off course.
“Despite repeated warnings in different forums, we are watching with frustration as our window of opportunity (to contain the virus) is running out,” Sadetzki said in a Facebook post announcing her resignation.