Pompeo says US has started work to set up consulate in Western Sahara

Pompeo says US has started work to set up consulate in Western Sahara
The US State Department said on Thursday it began the process to set up a US consulate in Western Sahara. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 24 December 2020

Pompeo says US has started work to set up consulate in Western Sahara

Pompeo says US has started work to set up consulate in Western Sahara
  • Washington agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara
  • The recognition was part of a deal in which Morocco became the fourth Arab country to normalize ties with Israel

WASHINGTON: The US State Department said on Thursday it began the process to set up a US consulate in Western Sahara, after President Donald Trump’s administration this month recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the region.
In a departure from longstanding US policy, Washington agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara, a desert region where a decades-old territorial dispute has pitted Morocco against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, a breakaway movement that seeks to establish an independent state.
The recognition was part of a US-brokered deal in which Morocco became the fourth Arab country after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan to normalize ties with Israel in the past four months.
“Effective immediately, we are inaugurating a virtual presence post for Western Sahara, with a focus on promoting economic and social development, to be followed soon by a fully functioning consulate,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
“This virtual presence post will be managed by the US Embassy in Rabat,” Pompeo said, adding that Washington would be continuing to support  political negotiations  to  resolve  the issues between Morocco and the Polisario within the framework of Morocco’s autonomy plan. 
Washington’s support for Moroccan sovereignty over the desert territory represents the biggest policy concession the United States has made so far in its quest to win Arab recognition of Israel.
The series of normalization deals have been driven in part by US-led efforts to present a united front against Iran and roll back Tehran’s regional influence.
President-elect Joe Biden, due to succeed Trump on Jan. 20, will face a decision whether to accept the US deal on the Western Sahara, which no other Western nation has done. Western nations and the UN have long called for a referendum to resolve the dispute.


Saudi Arabia: International community must take measures to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons

Saudi Arabia: International community must take measures to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons
Updated 15 min 48 sec ago

Saudi Arabia: International community must take measures to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons

Saudi Arabia: International community must take measures to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons

Jordan begins investigation on those who attempted to destabilize the county

Jordan begins investigation on those who attempted to destabilize the county
Updated 20 min 32 sec ago

Jordan begins investigation on those who attempted to destabilize the county

Jordan begins investigation on those who attempted to destabilize the county

CAIRO: Jordan’s state public prosecutor has proceeded with an investigation of all those involved in an alleged plot to destabilize the country. 

Local state media, Al-Mamlaka TV, reported the news on Wednesday citing an unnamed source.

Jordanian officials announced on April 3 the arrest of citizens Al-Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, Bassem Awad Allah, a former head of the Jordanian Royal Court, for security reasons. 

At least 16 detentions have been made in relation to the case. 

Authorities at the time said those were being held as part of “joint comprehensive investigation undertaken by security forces,” according to state-run Petra news agency.  

Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi said previously that investigations found links between Bassem Awadallah and external parties, and the so-called foreign opposition. 


Turkey hails ‘new era’ with Egypt after tensions

Turkey hails ‘new era’ with Egypt after tensions
Updated 14 April 2021

Turkey hails ‘new era’ with Egypt after tensions

Turkey hails ‘new era’ with Egypt after tensions
  • Turkish officials said last month Ankara had established the first diplomatic contacts with Cairo since 2013
  • Cavusoglu told Turkish reporters that the appointment of ambassadors “will come up on the agenda”

ANKARA: Turkey’s foreign minister hailed the start of “a new era” with Egypt as Ankara pushes ahead with normalizing relations with Cairo, local media reported on Wednesday.
Turkey and Egypt broke off relations after the 2013 overthrow of ex-Islamist president Muhammad Mursi, who was supported by Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
That year Turkey and Egypt expelled each others’ ambassadors and froze their relations.
Turkish officials said last month Ankara had established the first diplomatic contacts with Cairo since 2013 as part of wider efforts to fix ties with other Middle Eastern rivals.
“A new era is beginning,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by NTV broadcaster.
He said there would be a meeting between the two countries’ deputy foreign ministers and diplomats but a date had not yet been set.
Cavusoglu told Turkish reporters that the appointment of ambassadors “will come up on the agenda” during those talks.
When asked, the minister also indicated there would be meetings between himself and his Egyptian counterpart.
“Why not. There can be reciprocal visits and meetings, too,” Cavusoglu said.
Last month, members of Egypt’s Istanbul-based opposition media said Turkish officials had asked them to “tone down” criticism of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
The request appeared to be an attempt by Turkey to curry favor with Egypt in a bid to mend relations.
An Egyptian broadcaster known for his outspoken criticism of Cairo on an Istanbul-based channel, said on Saturday he was going on “unlimited leave.”
Moataz Matar, 46, made the announcement during his popular daily show “With Moataz,” which he has presented for several years on the liberal El-Sharq channel.
Matar said he was not forced by Turkey or the channel to leave but added he did not want to “embarrass” anyone.
“I will come back when I am able to tell the truth on El-Sharq again as I always have,” he added.
After the Arab Spring, Istanbul became a capital of Arab media critical of their governments back home, especially for Egyptian media linked to Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.


Twenty killed in road accident in Egypt

Twenty killed in road accident in Egypt
Updated 2 min 18 sec ago

Twenty killed in road accident in Egypt

Twenty killed in road accident in Egypt
  • The bus from Cairo collided with a truck loaded with cement in the province of Assiut
  • Reckless driving and the poor condition of roads are responsible for many crashes in Egypt

CAIRO: Twenty people were killed and three injured in an accident involving a bus and a truck on a desert highway in Upper Egypt late on Tuesday, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

The bus from Cairo collided with a truck loaded with cement, which was stopping due to a malfunction, in the province of Assiut, about 370 km south of the capital, the provincial governor's office said in a statement.

The bus was burned out within minutes, and the bodies and the injured were removed from it with difficulty, it added.

Thirty-six ambulances rushed to the scene, the health ministry said.

Reckless driving and the poor condition of roads are responsible for many crashes in Egypt. Dozens have been killed in a recent spate of rail and road crashes.

Eighteen people were killed in March when a truck collided with a minibus in Giza province, about 80 km south of Cairo. At least 20 people were killed and nearly 200 people wounded injured when two trains collided near Tahta, about 440 km south of Cairo.


UAE partners with Japan’s iSpace to send rover to the lunar planet in 2022

UAE partners with Japan’s iSpace to send rover to the lunar planet in 2022
Updated 14 April 2021

UAE partners with Japan’s iSpace to send rover to the lunar planet in 2022

UAE partners with Japan’s iSpace to send rover to the lunar planet in 2022

DUBAI: The UAE is collaborating with Japanese space company iSpace to help the Gulf nation land a rover to the moon next year.

Under the agreement, iSpace said it would also provide the Emirates Lunar Mission with wired communication and power during the cruise phase and wireless communication on the moon, the company said on Wednesday.

Visit the Japanese edition of Arab News for more details of the partnership.