Israel signs deal with Jordan to open airspace

Israel signs deal with Jordan to open airspace
El Al's airliner lifts off from the tarmac in the first-ever commercial flight from Israel to the UAE at Ben Gurion Airport. (File/AFP)
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Updated 08 October 2020

Israel signs deal with Jordan to open airspace

Israel signs deal with Jordan to open airspace
  • With commercial planes now able to fly through the Israel-Jordan corridor, flights from Bahrain and the UAE will be shorter
  • European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol, based in Brussels, helped make the aviation deal happen

JERUSALEM: Israel has signed an aviation agreement with Jordan that will allow flights from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to fly through Israeli airspace, it said on Thursday.
The deal had been discussed for years, but the neighbors were only able to finalize it after Israel and the two Gulf Arab states signed a historic agreement last month to normalize ties, Israel’s Transportation Ministry said.
Jordanian officials had no immediate comment.
With commercial planes now able to fly through the Israel-Jordan corridor, flight times for some routes between Asia and Europe and North America, including flights from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, will be shorter, the Israeli ministry said.
Its statement did not specify any other countries that could benefit from the new arrangement.
“The agreement will significantly cut flight times to Gulf countries, Asia and the Far East, leading to fuel savings and less pollution,” it said.
European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol, based in Brussels, helped make the aviation deal happen, the ministry said.
Boosting civil aviation was an important part of last month’s historic diplomatic accords signed in Washington at a ceremony hosted by US President Donald Trump.
In those agreements, Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates agreed it was critical to ensure regular and direct flights to promote relations.


President-elect Biden: Last thing Middle East needs is Iran with nuclear weapon

Updated 6 min 21 sec ago

President-elect Biden: Last thing Middle East needs is Iran with nuclear weapon

President-elect Biden: Last thing Middle East needs is Iran with nuclear weapon
  • Said Tehran would have to agree to new demands if return to deal was possible
  • Added Tehran must address its “malign” regional activities through proxies

LONDON: US President-elect Joe Biden said he is against Iran gaining a nuclear weapon, adding it is the “last thing” the Middle East region needs, in an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday.

Biden also said that his administration would seek to extend the duration of “restrictions on Iran’s production of fissile material that could be used to make a (nuclear) bomb” in any new negotiations on a nuclear deal.

He added that Tehran would have to agree to new demands if a return to a deal was possible and that it must address its “malign” regional activities through proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Incumbent President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal struck in 2018 and reimposed strong sanctions on Iran as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic republic.

Biden, who defeated Trump at the ballot box last month, said during campaigning that he did not support the lifting of sanctions but intended to offer Iran a “credible path back to diplomacy.”

However, in the NYT interview published on Wednesday, he admitted that getting Iran to agree to a modified deal would be “hard.”

“Look, there’s a lot of talk about precision missiles and all range of other things that are destabilizing the region,” Biden was quoted as saying.

“The best way to achieve getting some stability in the region” was to deal “with the nuclear program,” he added.

The president-elect warned that if Iran acquired a bomb, it would spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and that “the last . . . thing we need in that part of the world is a buildup of nuclear capability,” he added.

“In consultation with our allies and partners, we’re going to engage in negotiations and follow-on agreements to tighten and lengthen Iran’s nuclear constraints, as well as address the missile program,” he told the Times.

Biden was cited as saying that the US always had the option to snap back sanctions if needed, and that Iran knew that.

The JCPOA had given Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

* With AFP