Egypt continues to push for political solution in Libya

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. (Reuters)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 16 April 2021

Egypt continues to push for political solution in Libya

Egypt continues to push for political solution in Libya
  • Egypt’s foreign affairs minister Sameh Shoukry reiterates support for UN special envoy’s efforts

CAIRO: Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry reiterated his country’s support in reaching a comprehensive political settlement to the Libyan crisis in a meeting with UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Libya Jan Kubis.

Shoukry said such a settlement should preserve the unity of Libya, ensure the exit of all mercenaries and foreign fighters from it, and preserve the capabilities of its people and its national institutions.

Egypt’s foreign minister stressed the importance of the UN-sponsored Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, which seeks to pave the way for legislative and presidential elections in Libya scheduled for December.

Shoukry also reaffirmed his country’s support for the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission, which includes five representatives from each of the rival sides in the conflict. He is optimistic the commission can unify security and military institutions within Libya.

Ahmed Hafez, a spokesperson for Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Shoukry is also backing the continuous efforts made by Kubis in his mission to reach a political solution that would serve the Libyan people and achieve their aspirations for a stable and prosperous nation.

The UN envoy briefed Shoukry on the results of his recent contacts with the parties involved in the Libyan crisis. The envoy expressed his appreciation for Egypt's efforts aimed at supporting its national neighbors and his aspiration for continued coordination with Cairo.


Biden speaks to Netanyahu, Abbas after Israel flattens AP news office in Gaza

Biden speaks to Netanyahu, Abbas after Israel flattens AP news office in Gaza
Updated 40 min 36 sec ago

Biden speaks to Netanyahu, Abbas after Israel flattens AP news office in Gaza

Biden speaks to Netanyahu, Abbas after Israel flattens AP news office in Gaza
  • Abbas received an "important" phone call on Saturday from Biden
  • Netanyahu thanked Biden for the “unreserved support of the US for our right to defend ourselves”

DUBAI: President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have spoken about the situation with Gaza.
According to a statement from Netanyahu’s office, the Israeli leader updated Biden on the developments and actions that Israel has taken and intends to take. It says Netanyahu also thanked Biden for the “unreserved support of the United States for our right to defend ourselves.”
It says Netanyahu emphasized in the conversation that Israel is doing everything to avoid harming the uninvolved. The statement added “the proof of this is that in the towers where there are terrorist targets attacked by the IDF, they are evacuated from the uninvolved.”
The Biden-Netanyahu call came just hours after an Israeli airstrike on Saturday targeted and destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received an “important” phone call on Saturday from Biden, Abbas's spokesman said, the first call between the two leaders since Biden took office in January.

Biden told Abbas the United States "is making efforts with the concerned parties to reach the goal" of reducing violence in the region, a summary of the call published by WAFA said.
He also said the United States opposes the eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah, the summary said, a case that helped ignite tension in the holy city and spark fighting between Israel and Gaza militants.


Morocco to send 40 tons of aid to Palestinians

Morocco to send 40 tons of aid to Palestinians
Updated 15 May 2021

Morocco to send 40 tons of aid to Palestinians

Morocco to send 40 tons of aid to Palestinians
  • Morocco denounced “the violent acts perpetrated in occupied Palestinian territories”
  • The country reiterated support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

RABAT: Morocco’s King Mohammed VI on Friday ordered 40 tons of aid for Palestinians to be shipped to the West Bank and Gaza following recent violence.
The aid includes food, medicine and blankets and will be carried by military aircrafts, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Morocco also denounced “the violent acts perpetrated in occupied Palestinian territories,” and reiterated support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Morocco resumed ties with Israel in December as part of a deal brokered by the United States that also includes Washington’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.


Iran’s foreign minister cancels Austrian visit over Israeli flag

Iran’s foreign minister cancels Austrian visit over Israeli flag
Updated 15 May 2021

Iran’s foreign minister cancels Austrian visit over Israeli flag

Iran’s foreign minister cancels Austrian visit over Israeli flag
  • Mohammad Javad Zarif was supposed to meet Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg but had called off the trip

ZURICH: Iran’s foreign minister canceled a visit with his Austrian counterpart to show displeasure that Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s government had flown the Israeli flag in Vienna in a show of solidarity, the Austrian foreign ministry said on Saturday.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was supposed to meet Alexander Schallenberg but had called off the trip, a spokeswoman for Schallenberg said, confirming a report in newspaper Die Presse.
“We regret this and take note of it, but for us it is as clear as day that when Hamas fires more than 2,000 rockets at civilian targets in Israel then we will not remain silent,” the spokeswoman said.
Hamas is the Islamist group that runs Gaza. Israel has pummeled Gaza with air strikes and Palestinian militants have launched rocket barrages at Israel in the worst escalation of violence in years.
In Tehran, foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told the semi-official news agency ISNA: “Mr Zarif did not consider the trip beneficial in these circumstances, and therefore the travel arrangements were not finalized.”
The dispute comes during talks in Vienna to try to revive a 2015 accord with western powers in which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions. Former US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, prompting Iran to begin violating its terms.
Kurz, who is firmly pro-Israel, had called flying the Israeli flag over the federal chancellery on Friday a mark of solidarity amid the violent clashes. But Abbas Araqchi, who heads the Iranian delegation at the Vienna talks, criticized the move.
“Vienna is the seat of (nuclear watchdog) IAEA & UN, and (Austria) so far been a great host for negotiations,” Araqchi wrote on Twitter. “Shocking & painful to see flag of the occupying regime, that brutally killed tens of innocent civilians, inc many children in just few days, over govt offices in Vienna. We stand with Palestine.”


10 members of family killed as Israel bombs Gaza house

10 members of family killed as Israel bombs Gaza house
Updated 26 min 9 sec ago

10 members of family killed as Israel bombs Gaza house

10 members of family killed as Israel bombs Gaza house
  • The eight children and two women were killed when a house in Shati refugee camp collapsed following an Israeli attack
  • Several Israeli missiles targeted the house of Alaa Abu Hatab

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip: Ten members of an extended family were killed in an Israeli airstrike early on Saturday on the western Gaza Strip, medics and witnesses said.

The eight children and two women were killed when a three-storey house in Shati refugee camp collapsed following an Israeli attack.

Several Israeli missiles targeted the house of Alaa Abu Hatab, 35, in the densely populated beach camp and adjacent buildings, killing four of his five children and his wife, in addition to his sister and four of her children.

A five-month-old infant survived the bombing, while Abu Hatab’s daughter was severely injured and is in intensive care.

Muhammad Al-Hadidi, brother-in-law of Abu Hatab, said that his wife was visiting her brother’s house with his five children. The children insisted they spend the night at their uncle’s house to play with their cousins.

“At night, I heard the sound of the bombing, and I did not know that it was for the building that my wife and children were in. I received a call that told me that the Abu Hatab’s house was targeted,” Al-Hadidi told Arab News 

“I went quickly to the place to find all my children with my wife, under the rubble,” he said while crying.

Speaking outside Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Al-Hadidi said that he wanted “the unjust world to see these crimes.

“They were safe in their homes, they did not carry weapons, they did not fire rockets,” he said of his children, who were killed “wearing their clothes for Eid.”

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that the death toll had reached 139, including 39 children and 22 women. More than 1,000 have been wounded.

Muhammad Al-Sayed, 30, the owner of a barber store beneath the bombed building, said: “The scene was terrible during the night.”

“I have been working in the same place for 14 years. The scene was too painful for me. When I came to see it at night, I could not prepare myself to see the bodies being pulled out from the debris. Our lives have become cheap,” he told Arab News.

The Israeli shelling continued in several areas of the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

Heba Al-Attar, 45, a resident, told Arab News: “All I think these days is when I am killed and our house is destroyed, how my three children will live without me if they survive this onslaught.”

She added: “I feel scared every day, I can’t sleep at night, I steal some sleep in the morning, life is tough here in Gaza.”

However, Hiba hopes that international attempts to achieve peace will succeed. 

“Now it is necessary to return to the cease-fire again. We want to preserve what is left of us, and what remains of our homes and our children,” she said.

The Israeli army continued to bomb high-rise buildings in the Gaza Strip. It flattened Al-Jala’a Tower in the center of the city with several missiles.

The tower housed several offices of local, Arab and international media, including The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera TV.

An Israeli officer gave the owner of the tower an hour to evacuate it. The owner pleaded with the officer to give them 10 more minutes so that some journalists could go and retrieve their equipment from the building, but the Israeli officer refused.

With the destruction of the tower in Gaza City, the number of towers that have been destroyed by Israel reached four, three of which contained offices of various media institutions.


Egypt sends ambulances to pick up wounded from Gaza

Egypt sends ambulances to pick up wounded from Gaza
Updated 15 May 2021

Egypt sends ambulances to pick up wounded from Gaza

Egypt sends ambulances to pick up wounded from Gaza
  • The ambulances entered Gaza at the Rafah crossing, which is otherwise closed for five days over the Eid Al-Fitr holiday

CAIRO: Egypt sent 10 ambulances into Gaza on Saturday to pick up casualties of Israeli bombardments for treatment in Egyptian hospitals, medical and security sources said.
The ambulances entered Gaza at the Rafah crossing, which is otherwise closed for five days over the Eid Al-Fitr holiday and the weekend and is due to reopen on Monday.
A further five ambulances have been deployed to enter Gaza later and three Egyptian hospitals have been readied to provide treatment, the sources and local health officials said.