Israeli foreign minister to visit Morocco next week

Israeli foreign minister to visit Morocco next week
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is to visit Morocco next week, the two countries said Friday. (File/AFP)
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Updated 06 August 2021

Israeli foreign minister to visit Morocco next week

Israeli foreign minister to visit Morocco next week
  • A source at Morocco’s foreign ministry told AFP that Lapid would visit on August 11-12 and meet with his counterpart
  • Lapid’s visit comes after the first direct commercial flights between Israel and Morocco were launched in July

RABAT: Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is to visit Morocco next week, the two countries said Friday, in the first trip to the kingdom by Israel’s top diplomat since they normalized ties.
A source at Morocco’s foreign ministry told AFP that Lapid would visit on August 11-12 and meet with his counterpart, without providing further details.
An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman confirmed the dates.
Morocco was one of four Arab states to agree last year to normalize ties with Israel, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
The move came as the administration of former US president Donald Trump recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, a disputed and divided former Spanish colony.
Morocco is home to North Africa’s largest Jewish community, which numbers around 3,000. Some 700,000 Jews of Moroccan origin live in Israel.
Lapid’s visit comes after the first direct commercial flights between Israel and Morocco were launched in July.
Lapid had announced he would make a “historic” visit to Morocco soon after the launch of commercial flights.
In December last year, a direct flight carrying Israeli officials traveled from Tel Aviv to Rabat, where they signed several bilateral deals, including on air links.
Rabat had a liaison office in Tel Aviv but relations came to a halt during the 2000-2005 second Palestinian intifada, or uprising.
The normalization deals between Arab states and Israel have been branded a “betrayal” by the Palestinians, who believe the process should only follow a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Palestinian cause has mobilized elements of Moroccan civil society, and Islamists and some extreme left political parties oppose the normalization.


Lebanon Information Minister to resign

Lebanon Information Minister to resign
Updated 4 sec ago

Lebanon Information Minister to resign

Lebanon Information Minister to resign
BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi said he would resign on Friday to “give Lebanon a chance.”
“I will resign this afternoon,” Kordahi told AFP. “I do not want to cling to this position, if it can be useful, I want to give Lebanon a chance.”
An official at the presidency confirmed to AFP that President Michel Aoun had received a call from Kordahi confirming he would submit his resignation.

France’s Macron meets UAE’s ‘MBZ’ at start of Gulf tour

France’s Macron meets UAE’s ‘MBZ’ at start of Gulf tour
Updated 3 min 27 sec ago

France’s Macron meets UAE’s ‘MBZ’ at start of Gulf tour

France’s Macron meets UAE’s ‘MBZ’ at start of Gulf tour
  • Macron arrived in the early hours of Friday for a brief Gulf tour where he will also visit Qatar

DUBAI: French President Emmanuel Macron met Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed on Friday at the start of a two-day Gulf tour with some lucrative deals set to be signed including several for Rafale fighter jets.
Macron was greeted at the leadership pavilion at Dubai’s Expo site for talks with Sheikh Mohammed, known as “MBZ,” after which they are expected to announce a series of contracts and agreements.
“I don’t want to reveal the Christmas present” before the meeting, UAE presidential adviser Anwar Gargash told journalists in the build-up to the talks in Dubai.
Macron arrived in the early hours of Friday for a brief Gulf tour where he will also visit Qatar, host of next year’s World Cup, before traveling to Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
The UAE, which celebrated its 50th anniversary on Thursday, is expected to order dozens of Rafale jets to replace its Mirage 2000 aircraft acquired in the late 1990s.
The Emirates is the fifth biggest customer for the French defense industry with 4.7 billion euros from 2011-2020, according to a parliamentary report.
Macron is accompanied by a large delegation in Dubai including Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Defense Minister Florence Parly.


Saudi Arabia calls on Syria to comply with chemical weapons watchdog

Saudi Arabia calls on Syria to comply with chemical weapons watchdog
Updated 03 December 2021

Saudi Arabia calls on Syria to comply with chemical weapons watchdog

Saudi Arabia calls on Syria to comply with chemical weapons watchdog

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has urged Syrian authorities to cooperate with the chemical weapons watchdog and implement all decisions related to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The Kingdom’s position on the matter was reiterated by the Saudi permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ziyad Al-Attiyah.

He said: “The use of chemical weapons and toxic chemicals as weapons anywhere by any person and under any circumstances is reprehensible and completely contradicts the provisions of the convention and the legal rules and standards of the international community.”

His comments came during the 26th session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention on Thursday in The Hague, in the Netherlands.

Al-Attiyah also highlighted the importance his country attached to implementing its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, believing in its objectives, and based on its consistent policy to strengthen cooperation to ban weapons of mass destruction and prevent their spread.

He pointed out that Saudi Arabia was keen to help free the Middle East of all WMDs, a move that would increase international peace and security.

Al-Attiyah thanked the organization’s director general, Fernando Arias, for his efforts toward the cause, adding that the Kingdom would be supporting his reappointment for a second term.


Civilians among 10 dead in north Iraq attack blamed on Daesh: officials

Civilians among 10 dead in north Iraq attack blamed on Daesh: officials
Updated 03 December 2021

Civilians among 10 dead in north Iraq attack blamed on Daesh: officials

Civilians among 10 dead in north Iraq attack blamed on Daesh: officials
  • The jihadists attacked the village of Khidir Jija, south of Irbil

IRBIL: At least three civilians and seven Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters have been killed in northern Iraq in an attack blamed on the Daesh jihadist group, the forces said Friday.
The jihadists attacked the village of Khidir Jija, south of Irbil, killing three civilians, a statement said. The peshmerga, Kurdistan’s armed forces, launched an operation in response, and seven fighters died when “an explosive device planted by Daesh elements” blew up.


Iran nuclear talks to break on Friday with formal meeting – officials

Iran nuclear talks to break on Friday with formal meeting – officials
Updated 31 min 58 sec ago

Iran nuclear talks to break on Friday with formal meeting – officials

Iran nuclear talks to break on Friday with formal meeting – officials
  • The US and Iran both sounded pessimistic about the chances of reinstating the deal,

DUBAI/VIENNA: The seventh round of indirect talks between Iran and the United States on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which began this week, will end on Friday with a formal meeting of the remaining parties to the deal, European and Iranian officials said.

The meeting of Iran, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China is in a format known as the Joint Commission which has bookended previous rounds of talks. The Iranian official said the meeting would be held around noon (1100 GMT). The aim is to resume the talks next week, the European diplomat said.

“The Europeans want to return to their capitals for consultations ... We are ready to stay in Vienna for further talks,” an Iranian official close to the talks said.

On the fourth day of indirect US-Iran talks on bringing both nations fully back into the deal, the United States and Iran both sounded pessimistic about the chances of reinstating the deal, which former US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.