World leaders voice hope UAE-Israel deal could kickstart Middle East peace talks

World leaders voice hope UAE-Israel deal could kickstart Middle East peace talks
Israel and the UAE agreed to normalise relations on Thursday in a landmark US-brokered deal under which the Jewish state agreed to halt further annexation of Palestinian territory. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 16 August 2020

World leaders voice hope UAE-Israel deal could kickstart Middle East peace talks

World leaders voice hope UAE-Israel deal could kickstart Middle East peace talks
  • As a sovereign state we don’t feel we have obligation to consult anybody, says Emirati minister

JERUSALEM: World leaders on Friday voiced hope that a historic deal between the UAE and Israel could kick-start moribund Middle East peace talks, even as the Palestinians and some of their allies denounced the move to normalize ties as a betrayal of their cause.

Announced by US President Donald Trump on Thursday, it is only the third such accord Israel has struck with an Arab country, and raised the prospect of similar deals with other states.

The deal sees Israel pledge to suspend its planned annexation of Palestinian lands, a concession welcomed by European and some pro-Western Arab governments as a boost for hopes of peace.

Bahrain and Oman welcomed the deal, and Egypt, which signed 1979 peace treaty with Israel, praised a deal that would scrap annexation.

Thanking them, Netanyahu said the “peace treaty” with the UAE was “expanding the circle of peace.”

Jordan, which borders the West Bank and Israel, said the outcome of the agreement would depend on Israel's actions, including its stance on a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

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Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi said: "The impact of the deal on peace efforts is linked to the actions Israel will take".

"I appreciate the efforts of the architects of this agreement for the prosperity and stability of our region," Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi tweeted.

He added he hoped the deal to halt Israel's annexation of Palestinian land, would help bring "peace" to the Middle East.Omar Saif Ghobash, UAE assistant minister for culture and public diplomacy, said the deal was designed to “shake up” the Middle East impasse and serve his country’s interests.

“We didn’t consult with anybody, we didn’t inform anybody, and as a sovereign state we don’t feel that we have the obligation to do that,” Ghobash said.

“It’s to be expected that not everybody will ... applaud or comment,” he added.

The EU said normalization would benefit both Israel and the UAE, but foreign policy spokeswoman Nabila Massrali stressed the bloc’s commitment to a two-state solution.

“We are, of course, ready to work on the resumption of the negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” she said.France welcomed the deal, stressing the suspension of Israel's plans to annex swathes of the occupied West Bank.

"The decision... by the Israeli authorities to suspend the annexation of Palestinian territories is a positive step, which must become a definitive measure," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: "I hail the courageous decision by the United Arab Emirates and its desire to contribute the establishment of a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians."

"China is happy to see measures that are helping to ease tensions between countries in the Middle East and promoting regional peace and stability," said foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.

"We hope relevant parties will take concrete actions to bring the Palestinian issue back to the track of dialogue and negotiation on an equal footing at an early date," Zhao said, reiterating Beijing's support for an independent Palestinian state.

Germany welcomed the "historic" deal, with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas saying normalization of ties between the two countries was "an important contribution to peace in the region."

UN chief Antonio Guterres said he hoped the deal would help realise a two-state solution.

"The secretary general (hopes) it will create an opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to re-engage in meaningful negotiations that will realize a two-state solution in line with relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements," his spokesman said.

 


Lebanon's Mikati says hoped for faster pace towards government

Lebanon's Mikati says hoped for faster pace towards government
Updated 12 min 4 sec ago

Lebanon's Mikati says hoped for faster pace towards government

Lebanon's Mikati says hoped for faster pace towards government
  • Government formation ‘is a bit slot’, said Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati on Monday

BEIRUT: Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati said on Monday he had hoped for a quicker pace towards the formation of a new government and that his efforts would not be open-ended.
"I had hoped for a pace that was faster than this in the government (formation). It is a bit slow," Mikati said after a meeting with President Michel Aoun.
Mikati was designated last month after Saad al-Hariri abandoned his efforts to form a new government, saying he could not agree with Aoun.


Libya gets 2 million Sinopharm doses with more expected

Libya gets 2 million Sinopharm doses with more expected
Updated 33 min 14 sec ago

Libya gets 2 million Sinopharm doses with more expected

Libya gets 2 million Sinopharm doses with more expected
  • "We call on all our fellow citizens to be vaccinated," said Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah
  • Since the pandemic began, Libya has recorded 256,328 cases and 3,579 deaths from Covid-19

TRIPOLI: Libya called Monday on people to come forward to be vaccinated after it received two million doses of the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm, with more on the way.
“We call on all our fellow citizens to be vaccinated,” Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah told reporters at Mitiga airport near Tripoli after the shipment arrived.
Adding to its security and political problems, the North African country of around seven million people has been hard hit by the pandemic.
Dbeibah, who heads a transitional government ahead of elections set for December, added that another 1.5 million doses of vaccine were expected “in the coming weeks.”
Since the pandemic began, Libya has recorded 256,328 cases and 3,579 deaths from Covid-19.
Recently, it has seen an increase in daily cases of several thousand, partly because of increased testing.
Last Tuesday, a two-week overnight curfew aimed at halting the rise in new infections came into force in central and west Libya.
It does not apply in eastern and southern Libya, which are de facto controlled by military strongman Khalifa Haftar, despite the political and military situation improving.


Iran records highest number of daily COVID cases in pandemic

Iran records highest number of daily COVID cases in pandemic
Updated 02 August 2021

Iran records highest number of daily COVID cases in pandemic

Iran records highest number of daily COVID cases in pandemic
  • State TV said health workers registered 37,189 new COVID-19 cases since Sunday
  • There were 411 deaths, bringing the country's total death toll to 91,407, the Middle East’s highest

TEHRAN: Iran on Monday reported more than 37,000 new coronavirus infections, the country’s single-day record so far in the pandemic, state media reported.
State TV said health workers registered 37,189 new COVID-19 cases since Sunday — surpassing the previous daily record of 34,951 infections reported on Tuesday. Also, there were 411 deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll in the pandemic to 91,407 — the highest in the Middle East.
The new surge has been fueled by the contagious delta variant, and Iranian authorities say less than 40 percent of the population follows measures such as wearing face masks and social distancing. Iranian health officials have regularly warned that hospitals in the capital, Tehran, and other major cities are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
On Sunday, Health Minister Saeed Namaki in a letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asked a two-week shutdown of the country, something the minister said the military would help enforce. However, Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, has not yet responded to the request.
Authorities have avoided imposing heavy-handed rules on a population badly equipped to bear them. Iran, which has suffered the worst virus outbreak in the region, is reeling from a series of crises: tough US sanctions, global isolation, a heat wave, the worst blackouts in recent memory and ongoing protests over water shortages in the southwest.
Less than 4 percent of Iranians have been fully vaccinated. Many front-line medical workers have been vaccinated with Iran’s locally produced shots or the Chinese state-backed Sinopharm vaccine that report say may be less effective than other inoculations.
Iran’s government announced that its homemade vaccine provides 85 percent protection from the coronavirus, without disclosing data or details. Iran also imports Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, as well as the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot through the United Nations-backed COVAX program.


UAE reports 1,537 new COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths in last 24 hours

UAE reports 1,537 new COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths in last 24 hours
Updated 37 min 58 sec ago

UAE reports 1,537 new COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths in last 24 hours

UAE reports 1,537 new COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths in last 24 hours
  • The UAE has one of the world’s highest immunization rates

DUBAI: UAE health officials on Monday confirmed 1,537 additional COVID-19 infections and five fatalities overnight, as the country continues its nationwide vaccination campaign.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) said the country’s caseload now stands at 683,914, with 1,956 deaths since the coronavirus pandemic started. The ministry added that 1,492 individuals had fully recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 661,156.
The UAE has one of the world’s highest immunization rates, with 79.04 percent of the population having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while 70.69 percent have been fully vaccinated.
A total of 16,810,996 have been provided this far, for a vaccine distribution rate of 169.97 doses per 100 people.
The health ministry also on Monday approved the emergency use of the Sinopharm vaccine for 3 to 17 age group, as part of the UAE's efforts to combat COVID-19.

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London summons Iranian envoy after Oman tanker attack

London summons Iranian envoy after Oman tanker attack
Updated 02 August 2021

London summons Iranian envoy after Oman tanker attack

London summons Iranian envoy after Oman tanker attack
  • Iran foreign ministry: No hesitation in protecting security and national interests

LONDON/DUBAI: Britain summoned Iran's ambassador on Monday after London and the United States both blamed an attack on an Israeli-managed tanker in Oman last week on Tehran.
"Minister (James) Cleverly reiterated that Iran must immediately cease actions that risk international peace and security, and reinforced that vessels must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law," the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Earlier, Iran said it will respond promptly to any threat against its security, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday, as the United States, Israel and Britain blamed Tehran for an attack on an Israeli-managed tanker off the coast of Oman.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has no hesitation in protecting its security and national interests and will respond promptly and strongly to any possible adventure,” state television quoted Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying.
It said Khatibzadeh “strongly regretted the baseless accusations made by the British Foreign Secretary against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which were repeated by the US Secretary of State in the same context and contained contradictory, false and provocative accusations.”