Ukraine refuses Iran’s compensation for downed plane victims

Ukraine refuses Iran’s compensation for downed plane victims
Rescue teams gather at the scene after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on Jan. 8, 2020. (File/AFP)
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Updated 05 June 2021

Ukraine refuses Iran’s compensation for downed plane victims

Ukraine refuses Iran’s compensation for downed plane victims
  • Ukrainian official said the circumstances which led to the accident must be fully clarified first
  • He also said the compensation should be agreed upon by states whose citizens died in the accident

DUBAI: Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said they refused Iran’s proposal to pay $150,000 as compensation for each victim of the PS752 plane victims, local media reported.
Oleg Nikolenko said compensation to families is an important step to justice, but first the full truth behind the circumstances of the plabe crash are needed.
“Only then can we talk about the compensation. The specific amount should be set with the agreement of all the governments of the states whose citizens died in the plane crash, and [should] not [be] a unilateral decision,” one of the country’s biggest TV news channels TSN quoted him.
On Friday, Iran’s Ambassador to Ukraine Manouchehr Moradi tweeted statements after the third round of talks between Tehran and Kiev.
“The Iranian delegation is ready to pay compensation to the Ukrainian families of the victims of this accident in the amount of $150,000 per person - according to the decision of the government - and asked the Ukrainian delegation to inform the survivors of the deceased Ukrainians,” he said in a tweet.
A day earlier, the International Coordination and Response Group for the victims of Flight PS752, made of ministers which represent Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s actions and omissions amount to breaches of international law. Our claim states that our respective countries, nationals and residents on board flight PS752 were seriously and irreversibly harmed by the tragedy and Iran must fulfill its legal responsibility to make full reparations to the group of states,” the statement read.
The officials also stated their demands in the statement.
“We have made a series of demands that include, but are not limited to, an acknowledgement of wrongdoing and a full accounting of the events that led to the downing, a public apology”
“And equitable compensation for material and moral damages suffered by the victims and their families regardless of nationality and in an amount consistent with its obligations under international law,” the statement read.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight with ground-to-air missiles on Jan. 8, 2020 shortly after it took off from Tehran. The passenger plane had 176 people on board, all of whom died.
The Iranian government later declared that the shooting down was a “disastrous mistake” by forces who were on high alert during a regional confrontation with the United States.
Iran was on edge about possible attacks after it fired missiles at Iraqi bases housing US forces in retaliation for the killing days before of its most powerful military commander, Qassem Soleimani, in a US missile strike at Baghdad airport.


New Israel government faces early test with far-right march

New Israel government faces early test with far-right march
Updated 1 min 55 sec ago

New Israel government faces early test with far-right march

New Israel government faces early test with far-right march
  • Jewish ultranationalists prepared to march into annexed east Jerusalem
  • Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned it as a provocation

JERUSALEM: Israel’s fledgling new government faced an early test Tuesday as Jewish ultranationalists prepared to march into annexed east Jerusalem, stoking tensions the UN has warned threaten a fragile Gaza cease-fire.
Rallies by far-right Jewish groups in Arab neighborhoods have raised tensions in recent months, prompting a police intervention in the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound that triggered the deadliest flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence since 2014.
The so-called March of the Flags, which celebrates the anniversary of Israel’s 1967 occupation of the city’s eastern sector, was originally scheduled for last Thursday but was delayed due to Israeli police opposition to the route and warnings from Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
The former government of veteran premier Benjamin Netanyahu put off the march until Tuesday, a decision confirmed late Monday by the incoming government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
“The right to demonstrate is a right in all democracies,” said Internal Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev.
“The police is ready and we will do everything in our power to preserve the delicate thread of coexistence.”
Organizers consulted police on the best route for the march that begins at 1430 GMT to avoid friction with Arab residents, the government said.
But Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned it as a provocation.
“We warn of the dangerous repercussions that may result from the occupying power’s intention to allow extremist Israeli settlers to carry out the Flag March in occupied Jerusalem tomorrow,” Shtayyeh tweeted in English.
He said it was “a provocation and aggression against our people, Jerusalem and its sanctities that must end.”
The new Israeli premier is himself a Jewish nationalist but the coalition he leads also includes centrist and left-wing parties and, for the first time in the country’s history, an Arab party.
The support of the four lawmakers of the Islamic conservative Raam party was vital to the wafer-thin majority that the government won in a historic confidence vote that unseated Netanyahu on Sunday.
UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland urged all sides to behave responsibly to avoid damage to a hard-won May 21 cease-fire that ended 11 days of heavy fighting in and around Gaza.
“Tensions are rising again in Jerusalem at a very fragile & sensitive security & political time, when UN & Egypt are actively engaged in solidifying the cease-fire,” Wennesland said.
“Urge all relevant parties to act responsibly & avoid any provocations that could lead to another round of confrontation.”
The US embassy called on its staff to avoid entering the walled Old City in the heart of east Jerusalem because of the march and “possible counter-demonstrations.”
Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem since the Six-Day War of 1967 is not recognized by most of the international community which says the city’s final status should be a matter of negotiation between the two sides.
The Palestinians claim the city’s eastern sector as the capital of their future state.
The iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the heart of the Old City is Islam’s third holiest site and a national symbol for all Palestinians regardless of religion.
It is also considered by Jews to be Judaism’s holiest site but by longstanding convention Jews are not allowed to pray inside the compound and visits by Israeli Jewish politicians often trigger disturbances.
When the march was originally announced for last week, senior Hamas official Khalil Hayya warned it could spark a return to violence like that of May 10-21.
“We warn the occupation (Israel) against letting the march approach east Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque compound,” Hayya said.
“We hope the message is clear so that Thursday doesn’t become (a new) May 10.”
Last month’s conflict started after Hamas issued a deadline for Israel to remove its security forces from flashpoint areas of east Jerusalem, and then fired a salvo of rockets at Israel when the ultimatum went unheeded.
Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip between May 10 to 21 killed 260 Palestinians including some fighters, the Gaza authorities said.
In Israel, 13 people were killed, including a soldier, by rockets fired from Gaza, the Israeli police and army said.


UAE imposes new COVID-19 travel measures for passengers arriving from countries including India and Pakistan

UAE imposes new COVID-19 travel measures for passengers arriving from countries including India and Pakistan
Updated 15 June 2021

UAE imposes new COVID-19 travel measures for passengers arriving from countries including India and Pakistan

UAE imposes new COVID-19 travel measures for passengers arriving from countries including India and Pakistan
  • Passengers must wear tracking devices for a minimum of 10 days in a new circular from the General Civil Aviation Authority
  • Those who arrived in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al-Khaimah, have already been given the devices

DUBAI: The UAE has imposed new coronavirus measures for charter flights arriving from countries including India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Nepal and Uganda.
Passengers must wear tracking devices for a minimum of 10 days in a new circular from the General Civil Aviation Authority.
Those who arrived in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al-Khaimah, have already been given the devices, travel agencies and charter flight operators confirmed, local daily Khaleej Times reported.
Abu Dhabi has also been requiring arriving passengers to wear the devices during their 14-day home quarantine, since September of 2020.
Arrivals must also take a PCR test after landing in the country followed by two other PCR tests on the fourth and eighth day of their isolation period.
In Dubai, travelers have to isolate for 10 days and undergo a PCR test, Raheesh Babu, group COO of Musafir.com, an internet travel agency, said.
Crew members operating from the listed countries are also required to abide by the new regulations.
Passengers must also quarantine in a hotel during the transit period, and are only allowed movement when transferring between the hotel and the airport, without being in contact with people in the UAE community, the circular said.


Shoukry visits Qatar to convey message from El-Sisi

Shoukry visits Qatar to convey message from El-Sisi
Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah (R) meeting with Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Doha on June 14, 2021. (AFP)
Updated 15 June 2021

Shoukry visits Qatar to convey message from El-Sisi

Shoukry visits Qatar to convey message from El-Sisi
  • Shoukry will attend the first meeting of the Palestine Committee

CAIRO: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrived in Doha on Monday to convey a message from President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on the positive developments in Egyptian-Qatari relations following the signing of the “Al-Ula reconciliation agreement” on Jan. 5.
It also expressed Egypt’s aspiration to take further measures to advance the priority areas of bilateral cooperation to achieve the interests of the two countries and their people.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said in a statement that Shoukry will take part during his visit to Doha in the consultative meeting of Arab foreign ministers, which will be held at the invitation of Qatar — the president of the current session of the Council of the Arab League — to resume coordination and consultation on the current situation in the region, and ways to strengthen joint action mechanisms regarding the growing challenges facing Arab countries.

HIGHLIGHT

Shoukry will also participate in the ministerial level extraordinary meeting of the Arab League Council to discuss developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam issue, which will be held at the request of Egypt and Sudan following the consultative meeting of Arab foreign ministers.

Shoukry will also participate in the ministerial level extraordinary meeting of the Arab League Council to discuss developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam issue, which will be held at the request of Egypt and Sudan following the consultative meeting of Arab foreign ministers.
He will also attend the first meeting of the Palestine Committee.
A meeting is also scheduled with Shoukry and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.


Palestinians warn new Israel government ‘will not differ from predecessors’

Palestinians warn new Israel government ‘will not differ from predecessors’
Palestinian fishermen stage a demonstration at the Gaza seaport against the Israeli authorities’ reduction of the fishing area to six nautical miles. (File/AFP)
Updated 15 June 2021

Palestinians warn new Israel government ‘will not differ from predecessors’

Palestinians warn new Israel government ‘will not differ from predecessors’
  • The occupation is governed by a security and military system that does not stop practicing terrorism and aggression

GAZA CITY: Palestine should not expect a radical change in Israeli policy, especially toward Gaza, following the end of Benjamin Netanyahu’s premiership, Palestinian political figures have warned.
However, opinions still differ on the formation of the new Israeli government headed by Natfali Bennett.
Palestinian factions agreed that the new government will not differ from its predecessors.
Osama Hamdi, 33, hailed the departure of Netanyahu as “a great achievement.”
He told Arab News: “The fall of any tyrant, no matter who comes next, should be considered positive, regardless of who will follow in power, even though all Israelis are not doing anything in our favor.”
But Hamdi warned that the new government does not have a strong base in the Knesset and within Israeli society.
Israel’s parliament narrowly approved the new Bennett-led coalition government on Sunday, ending Netanyahu’s historic 12-year rule.
The divisive former prime minister — the longest to ever hold office in Israel — will now serve as opposition leader.
Under a coalition agreement, Bennett will hold office for the first two years of the term, and then Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid, the architect of the coalition, will become prime minister.
Mohammed Sultan, 45, said that Netanyahu is a “strong figure” who can reach solutions with Palestinians, but in light of the weak new government, no real breakthrough can be achieved regarding Israel’s relationship with the Gaza Strip.
“Throughout history, strong leaders in Israel have taken bold steps — whether in war or peace — like Rabin, Sharon and Netanyahu. Now there is a government in which there is no real leader, so nothing can be achieved with it,” Sultan said.
Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control of the area in 2007. The coastal strip has witnessed four wars and a rounds of fighting since then. Hamas does not expect any change in its relationship with Israel following the inauguration of the new government, especially in light of ongoing tensions with Jerusalem, which led to a military confrontation last month.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official, said on Twitter: “We do not count on any change in the occupation governments.
“They are united on the policy of killing and confiscation of Palestinian rights, but the fall of Netanyahu is one of the successive consequences of the victory of the resistance.”
Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Salmi said in a press statement: “The occupation is governed by a security and military system that does not stop practicing
terrorism and aggression.
“Therefore, we must always be ready to defend our people, our land and confront this entity.”
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said: “The formation of a new occupation government headed by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid alternately will not change anything on the ground.
“The new prime minister agrees, in essence, with Netanyahu’s program and policies, which are based on aggression, settlements and Judaization.”
Mustafa Ibrahim, a writer specializing in Israeli affairs, also warned that there would be no real change in Israel’s relationship with the Gaza Strip.
“This government is not a change for the Palestinians,” he told Arab News.
“It is an extension of the Netanyahu government as a result of the contradictions in it. It cannot take fateful decisions, but it will be more concerned with internal Israeli issues.
“The new government will abide by the red lines set by the previous government, that easing the blockade imposed on Gaza is linked to the release of the Israelis in Gaza, and agreement on this requires a strong government and a strong Israeli leader, which is not present in the new government.”
However, Ibrahim said that foreign pressure, especially from the US, “may make a difference in Israel’s relationship with Gaza and could keep the flame of confrontation dormant for a period of time.”


Lebanese trade unions launch general strike to demand new government

Lebanese trade unions launch general strike to demand new government
Vehicles are stuck in a traffic jam in Beirut, Lebanon. (File/Reuters)
Updated 15 June 2021

Lebanese trade unions launch general strike to demand new government

Lebanese trade unions launch general strike to demand new government
  • Food industries, bakeries, transport workers and taxi drivers announce support for the move

BEIRUT: Public prosecutors in Lebanon have been instructed to crack down on the monopoly on foodstuffs and oil derivatives as political, security and diplomatic concerns grow over explosive daily protests.

The spontaneous protests are also demanding access to medicine, fuel, hospitalization and electricity.
The Crisis Observatory at the American University of Beirut warned that “the risk of Lebanon falling into the rank of failed states has become a reality after it fell 36 places over five years.” Its rank in 2021 was among the 34 most failed states out of 179 states.
The Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, Judge Ghassan Oueidat, on Monday called on public prosecutors in Lebanon to “strictly pursue the monopoly of foodstuffs and oil derivatives, after there has been a lot of refraining from selling these subsidized materials, or selling them at prices that exceed the set price.”
Judge Oueidat said that what is happening “are crimes stipulated by law and must be prosecuted, and shops, warehouses and stations belonging to the suspects must be sealed with red wax.”
The judicial procedure came as trade unions and civil bodies prepare for a general strike that begins on Thursday to push for the formation of a government.
On Monday, unions of food industries, bakeries, transport workers and taxi drivers announced that they would respond to Thursday’s strike.
Bechara Al-Asmar, head of the General Labor Union, told Arab News: “Our move will be escalatory. I don’t know if the strike will last more than a day; we will see what happens Thursday.”
On the possibility of controlling the street in light of the current mood, Al-Asmar said: “Today, the prices of dairy and cheese have increased by 40 percent without anyone being held accountable.”
He added: “The argument for raising prices was electricity rationing and the difficulty of obtaining diesel to run private generators.
“In this case, we must raise our voices. We cannot remain silent about this chaos that is taking place in the absence of any executive reference in the country.
“There is a positive response from unions and civil society to Thursday’s move through carrying out central sit-ins so as not to easily breach them and turn them into riots or chaos.
“I know that there are caveats, but we must raise our voices,” Al-Asmar said.
The union chief added: “If they form a government before Thursday, we will stop our movements.”

FASTFACT

The Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, Judge Ghassan Oueidat, called on public prosecutors in Lebanon to ‘strictly pursue the monopoly of foodstuffs and oil derivatives, after there has been a lot of refraining from selling these subsidized materials, or selling them at prices that exceed the set price.’

In the Observatory report — obtained by Arab News on Monday — the caretaker government came under criticism for dealing in “an amateur way in negotiations with international bodies and donor funds.”
The observatory feared that “the government’s handling of multiple crises has become a threat to the lives of citizens.”
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is mediating between Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and his political opponent, the head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), Gebran Bassil, to find solutions for the formation of a government.
The mediation, which has been going on for two weeks, has not yet succeeded.
Last Saturday, a meeting of the Supreme Islamic Shariah Council, on behalf of the Sunni community, expressed strong support for Hariri, declaring him the first and last candidate to head the government.
Berri and Hezbollah support the designation of Hariri as prime minister, according to their declared position.
In a statement on Monday, the Amal Movement, headed by Berri, indirectly criticized the presidential team, which insists on naming Christian ministers and having the blocking third in the government.
The statement spoke of “some people persisting in violating the constitutional rules by trying to create new norms that affect the foundations of national balances and the foundations established by the Taif Agreement.”
The Lady of the Mountain Gathering, which is a political group opposed to the policies of Hezbollah and its allies, said that Hezbollah “does not want a government. Otherwise it would have imposed a government on Lebanon. It is carrying out Iranian orders.” Meanwhile, the head of the finance and budget committee, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, reported that the World Bank had “expressed willingness to reconsider allocating $1 billion of its loans in accordance with the urgent needs of Lebanon. They can be used in the context of addressing subsidy lifting or rationalization, i.e. the social safety net will have an executive path that ranges between three and six months, in accordance with the response of the Lebanese government.”
The MP’s remarks came after a review session of unimplemented loans with the World Bank.The dollar exchange rate on the black market stabilized at the beginning of the week at a new record level, in light of the citizens’ distrust of the political and monetary authority.
The US dollar was traded at about LBP15,000, while the rush for fuel continued.
Queues of cars waited in front of gas stations in Beirut and most areas because importers reassured “that the quantities supplied as of Monday will be sufficient for the next two weeks, and they are rationed to limit smuggling to Syria and to prolong subsidy.”
The observatory report cited a growing set of indicators in Lebanon. They included “the security threat and political violence, the division of elites and political groups, the economic decline, the loss of state legitimacy, the increase in foreign interference, the deterioration of the human rights situation and the rule of law, and displacement, especially after the explosion of the port of Beirut.”
The observatory warned that “the political class deals with all living issues from the perspective of its narrow accounts and interests.”
It said the caretaker government’s reluctance to take proactive measures had exacerbated the collapse. “The government’s policy has no policy anymore.”
The observatory noted that “the ministers of the caretaker government do not seem interested in addressing the Lebanese and explaining anything related to their food, health or living security.”
It added that certain employees of the Banque du Liban (BDL) and other institutions “are the ones who determine all policies, without the slightest accountability or coordination.”
The observatory said that “the caretaker government deals with the situation in an amateur way in negotiations with international bodies and donor funds, so the signing of the agreement with the World Bank (WB) to finance the social safety net program is delayed by seven months after the approval of the WB’s board of directors on the loan, while the Lebanese poor are in dire need of immediate support.
“This government also seems incapable of dealing with issues of monopoly and smuggling, and the resulting bleeding in times of scarcity,” it said.