Algerians stranded for 3 weeks in Paris airport

Algerians stranded for 3 weeks in Paris airport
The group, which includes British citizens, has been sleeping rough in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and surviving off donations from volunteers. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 19 March 2021

Algerians stranded for 3 weeks in Paris airport

Algerians stranded for 3 weeks in Paris airport
  • 2 young girls, 75-year-old woman among group of 26 stranded travelers
  • Algiers closed borders after detecting UK variant of COVID-19

LONDON: Twenty-six Algerians returning home from the UK have been trapped in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for three weeks because of COVID-19 measures.

The 26 people, including two young girls and a 75-year-old woman, have appealed to Algeria’s president to help them get home.

Their flights to Algeria were canceled after the UK variant of COVID-19 was detected in the North African country on Feb. 25.

The group, which includes British citizens, has been sleeping rough in the airport and surviving off donations from volunteers.

Air Algeria had been providing the group members with food, but stopped after they refused its offer of returning them to the UK.

One member is being cared for in hospital, while the rest receive a doctor’s visit every day. They have access to showers in a zone of the airport where there is a hotel, but they are charged €20 ($24) to use them.

“Everyone has important personal reasons to go to Algeria. My wife is there and has had COVID-19. I gave up my flat and job. Otherwise we’d go back to the UK,” said one man who wished to remain anonymous.

“It is miserable here. How long can you keep sleeping on the floor before you crack? Two weeks, three weeks, four?”

Algeria has implemented very strict border controls throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Most air and sea connections have been canceled, leaving thousands of Algerians stranded.

The Algerian Embassy in France said its consul had met the group at the airport on March 2 “to tell them it was necessary for them to go back to their place of residence until the borders reopened.”

They were told that Algiers had decided to close the borders on Feb. 28 and that no exception would be made, it said.

The French airports authority has said it is doing its best to help the group. “It is a precarious situation, but we have no say over what happens to them,” a spokesperson said. “It is down to the Algerian authorities and Air Algeria.”


Russia to announce resumption of charter flights to Egypt

Russia to announce resumption of charter flights to Egypt
Updated 20 April 2021

Russia to announce resumption of charter flights to Egypt

Russia to announce resumption of charter flights to Egypt
  • Flights from Russia to the Egyptian Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada would resume in March

MOSCOW: Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it would soon announce the resumption of charter flights to Egypt, the Interfax news agency reported.
The head of Egypt’s civil aviation authority told Reuters in February that direct flights from Russia to the Egyptian Red Sea resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada would resume in March after being suspended for more than five years.


Israel, UK discuss ‘Iranian threat’ in Mideast region

Israel, UK discuss ‘Iranian threat’ in Mideast region
Updated 20 April 2021

Israel, UK discuss ‘Iranian threat’ in Mideast region

Israel, UK discuss ‘Iranian threat’ in Mideast region

DUBAI: Israel’s Foreign Minister discussed on Tuesday the threat Iran poses on the region with UK Minister Michael Gove.

Gabi Ashkenazi discussed other regional issues, bilateral ties and “the need for a travel corridor,” with the British Cabinet Office minister.

Gove is visiting Israel to study a COVID “green pass” smartphone app that could soon be the model for vaccine passports in the UK.

 

The British minister, who is in charge of a study into how coronavirus certification might work in the UK, has been a supporter of the Israeli scheme for weeks.

The visit involves meetings with Israel’s health minister, Yuli Edelstein and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Egypt to purchase 20 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine

Egypt to purchase 20 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine
Updated 20 April 2021

Egypt to purchase 20 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine

Egypt to purchase 20 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine

CAIRO: Egypt has agreed to purchase 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by China's Sinopharm and expects to receive a batch of 500,000 shots this month, its health ministry said on Tuesday.
The agreement boosts vaccination efforts in Egypt, which has a population of 100 million and has so far received a total of just over 1.5 million doses of Sinopharm and of the AstraZeneca shot.
Earlier this month, Egypt announced it was preparing to produce up to 80 million doses of the vaccine produced by China's Sinovac. 


Human Rights conference in Yemen: Houthis continue to commit war crimes

Human Rights conference in Yemen: Houthis continue to commit war crimes
Updated 20 April 2021

Human Rights conference in Yemen: Houthis continue to commit war crimes

Human Rights conference in Yemen: Houthis continue to commit war crimes
  • Al-Jawf’s rights and information committee said the militia continue to plant booby-traps and mines on roads made for the public

DUBAI: The participants in Marib’s first conference for Human Rights urged the inclusion of Houthi militia as a terrorist organization due to their war crimes, state news agency Saba New reported.

Marib’s governor Abd Rabbo Moftah said the city hosts 3 million people, with over two million displaced and distributed in 145 settlements and camps, from various other governorates.

Another official highlighted Houthi’s war crimes and targeting of camps, which has killed and injured several civilians including women and children, report added.

Meanwhile, Al-Jawf’s rights and information committee said the militia continue to plant booby-traps and mines on roads made for the public, Saba New reported.


Arab League chief calls for strategic partnership with UN to end region’s wars

Arab League chief calls for strategic partnership with UN to end region’s wars
Updated 20 April 2021

Arab League chief calls for strategic partnership with UN to end region’s wars

Arab League chief calls for strategic partnership with UN to end region’s wars
  • Security Council met to consider ways in which cooperation with organizations in Middle east might be enhanced to maintain global peace and security
  • Members reminded that groups closest to conflict zones are best positioned to understand disputes and help to prevent or resolve them

League of Arab States Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Monday called on the Security Council and other UN bodies to establish a strategic working partnership with the league and its member states.
The aim, he said, would be to lay the foundations for “security, stability and sustainable development in the Arab region, based on a genuine understanding of the problems facing the region, and on the primary responsibility of the UN in maintaining international peace and security.”
His call came during a high-level Security Council meeting on Monday that highlighted the importance of UN cooperation with regional and subregional organizations as part of efforts to maintain global peace and security, and considered how this might be enhanced.
The meeting was convened by Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the president of Vietnam, which holds the presidency of the Security Council this month, to discuss ways of fostering confidence building and dialogue in conflict prevention and resolution.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the presidency noted that the council’s primary responsibility under its charter is to safeguard international peace and security. It added that “regional and subregional organizations are well positioned to understand the root causes of armed conflicts owing to their knowledge of the region, which can be a benefit for their efforts to influence the prevention or resolution of these conflicts. (They are also) well positioned in promoting confidence, trust and dialogue among concerned parties within their respective regions.” It also pointed out that regional organizations play a vital role in post-conflict reconstruction and sustainable development.
The statement reaffirmed a commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes. It called on council members to utilize the potential of regional and subregional organizations by “encouraging countries in the region to resolve differences peacefully through dialogue, reconciliation, consultation, negotiation, good offices, mediation and judicial settlement of disputes (and) by the promotion of confidence-building measures and political dialogue through full engagement with concerned parties.”
Since taking office in 2016, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has made such cooperation a key priority. Since 1945, he told council members, cooperation has grown significantly to now encompass “preventive diplomacy, mediation, counterterrorism, preventing violent extremism, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, promoting human rights, advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda, combating climate change and, since last year, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He highlighted the establishment of a civilian-led transitional government in Sudan, in which women and young people play vital roles, as an example of effective cooperation — between the UN and the African Union (AU) and Ethiopia — to facilitate negotiations between rival parties. This type of collaboration led to signing of the Juba Peace Agreement in October 2020, he added.
Guterres also underscored the importance of the cooperation between the UN, the AU, the League of Arab States and the EU (the Libya Quartet) to support the “Libyan-led, Libyan-owned dialogue process and transition.” Working together in this way continues to support the implementation of the ceasefire and the promotion of national reconciliation, he added.
Meanwhile, Aboul Gheit said that the COVID-19 pandemic represents an additional problem for an Arab region already burdened by “wars, armed conflicts, refugees, internally displaced persons and other structural challenges affecting the security and stability of many of its countries.”
He urged council members to maximize international solidarity in the efforts to deal with the repercussions of the pandemic and all its human, economic and social costs. It is essential, he said, to end the fighting that is tearing apart the societal fabric of countries in conflict.
Highlighting the war in Syria and the “unprecedented external and regional interventions in this important Arab country,” Aboul Gheit warned that “the chances of extricating Syria from this terrifying spiral of conflict will continue to erode with the passage of time, and that the cost of rebuilding what the war has destroyed will increase day by day, and that the risks of unrest spreading to neighboring countries will remain unless a radical and integrated political settlement is reached.”
Aboul Gheit also spoke about Yemen, where the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crisis continues to unfold “due to the intransigence of the Houthi group and its rejection of all settlement attempts made over the past years, the latest of which is the Saudi initiative supported by the Arab world, and as a result of regional interventions that made Yemen a platform to threaten the security of its neighbors in the Gulf (and) energy and sea routes in the region.”
He also called for “more joint efforts to accompany the Libyan brothers in this march (toward national elections in December), through our coordinated work with the UN mission and also through the Quartet.”