Opposition boycotts talks to end Sudan crisis

Opposition boycotts talks to end Sudan crisis
Sudanese protesters commemorate the third anniversary of a deadly crackdown carried out by security forces on protesters during a sit-in outside the army headquarters, in Khartoum, Sudan, Friday, June 3, 2022. (AP/File)
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Updated 08 June 2022

Opposition boycotts talks to end Sudan crisis

Opposition boycotts talks to end Sudan crisis
  • Sudan had been transiting to democracy after nearly three decades of repression and international isolation under strongman Omar Bashir. A popular uprising pushed the military to remove Bashir in April 2019

CAIRO: Talks aiming at ending Sudan’s ongoing political deadlock began Wednesday, the UN said, although the country’s main pro-democracy alliance is boycotting them over a continued police crackdown on those protesting last October’s military coup.

The joint peace effort is brokered by the UN political mission in Sudan, the African Union, and the eight-nation east African regional group Intergovernmental Authority in Development. The effort aims to bring the generals and an array of political and protest groups to the negotiating table.

The military’s takeover has upended Sudan’s short-lived fragile democratic transition and plunged the East African nation into turmoil.

Sudan had been transiting to democracy after nearly three decades of repression and international isolation under strongman Omar Bashir. A popular uprising pushed the military to remove Bashir in April 2019.

Wednesday’s talks began with a technical meeting in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, involving the military and civilians.

It came after months of separate discussions with an array of groups, including the military and the pro-democracy movement.

The UN envoy for Sudan, Volker Perthes, said the process would discuss a “transitional program,” including the appointment of a civilian prime minister and arrangements for drafting a permeant constitution and elections at the end of the transition.

Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the leader of the coup who also heads the ruling sovereign council, welcomed the talks as a “historic opportunity to complete the transitional phase.”

In a speech to the nation late Tuesday, he urged all factions to take part in the talks, vowing that the military will implement their outcome.

“We are fully committed to work with everybody to end the transitional period as soon as possible with fair and transparent elections,” he said.

Ahead of the talks, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee visited Sudan earlier this week and met with military and civilian leaders in Khartoum to support the negotiating process. She urged all parties to join the talks to “achieve a civilian-led path toward democracy for Sudan.”

However, the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change — an alliance of political parties and protest groups — is boycotting the meeting.

The alliance says the talks should lead to “a civilian democratic authority” and criticized the participation of pro-military groups and Islamists who had been allied with Bashir’s government. It also seeks the release of coup-related detainees, and the ending of violence against protesters.

The talks come as the violent crackdown on anti-coup protests continued in Khartoum.

A five-year-old girl was killed Tuesday, when a police vehicle ran her over while chasing protesters.

That brought the total deaths among protesters since October to at least 101, according to a medical group tracking the casualties. The coup has triggered near-daily street protests, which authorities have met with a deadly crackdown.


Kuwaiti charity offers psychological aid to victims of war, crisis

Updated 9 sec ago

Kuwaiti charity offers psychological aid to victims of war, crisis

Kuwaiti charity offers psychological aid to victims of war, crisis
  • Team of 30 psychologists, specialists will provide support to refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey

KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti charity is offering psychological aid and emotional support for victims of wars and crises in the Middle East.

The International Islamic Charity Organization charity has established a team of 30 psychologists and specialists who will provide support in three refugee-hosting countries: Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, Kuwait News Agency reported on Monday.

Othman Al-Asfour, head of the lICO Tarahum team, said that the initiative affirms an integral part of social and psychological support in humanitarian aid.

Psychologist Dr. Shereefa Al-Khamees stressed that refugees were in urgent need of psychological aid as much as handouts and donations.

The psychological health of the affected is very delicate and requires thorough treatment and support, Al-Khamees added.

 


Jordan, Algeria launch new phase of cooperation

Jordan, Algeria launch new phase of cooperation
Updated 10 min 44 sec ago

Jordan, Algeria launch new phase of cooperation

Jordan, Algeria launch new phase of cooperation
  • Jordan’s King Abdullah, Algerian president witness signing of two agreements and three MoUs
  • Governments instructed to take steps to boost investment, commercial opportunities in both countries

ALGIERS: Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune have launched a new phase of bilateral relations.

The leaders held talks on Sunday in Algiers to discuss boosting Jordanian-Algerian cooperation in politics, economics, trade, investment, and defense, Jordan News Agency reported.

The meeting, which was attended by senior officials from both sides, also affirmed interest in maintaining coordination and consultation on Arab causes and other issues of mutual concern. 

King Abdullah reiterated the centrality of the Palestinian cause and the need to protect Palestinians’ legitimate rights. 

He called for a just and comprehensive peace plan based on the two-state solution which establishes an independent and sovereign Palestinian state along the June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital. 

He also reaffirmed the significance of maintaining the historical and legal status quo at Al Aqsa Mosque.

Following the meeting, the leaders witnessed the signing of an agreement on visa exemptions for diplomatic passport-holders, as well as a cooperation program between Jordan News Agency and the Algerian Press Service. 

Three memorandums of understanding on political consultations, cooperation between the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy and the Algeria Institute of Diplomacy and International Relations, and the mutual recognition of maritime qualification certificates for seafarers, education programs, and maritime training between the two countries were also signed.

King Abdullah and President Tebboune further instructed their governments to take the necessary steps to encourage investors and businesses to explore investment and commercial opportunities in both countries. 

They were also directed to move forward with agreements that would expand collaborations in health care, energy, medical tourism, hotels, transportation, aviation training, higher education, and cultural exchange between universities. 

Economists have praised the outcomes of King Abdullah’s state visit to Algeria.

Jordanian Senator Mazen Darwazah said that Jordanian investment in Algeria has gradually increased over the last two decades, with the drug industry spending nearly $1 billion.

Jordanian-Algerian Business Council Coordinator Khaled Al-Soub said that Algerian law allows Jordanian investors to expand their projects and acquire shares from foreign partners. 

Energy expert Hashem Akel said that Algeria was rich in petrol and natural resources and hoped that energy imports from the country would increase after Jordan receives preferential prices.

 


Italy pledges ‘full cooperation’ with Jordan during king’s visit

Italy pledges ‘full cooperation’ with Jordan during king’s visit
Updated 05 December 2022

Italy pledges ‘full cooperation’ with Jordan during king’s visit

Italy pledges ‘full cooperation’ with Jordan during king’s visit
  • ‘Many common points were found during the talks,’ source in PM’s office tells Arab News
  • Trade, cultural and defense cooperation were the core issues discussed

ROME: Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni pledged their country’s “full cooperation” with Jordan “in every field,” during a meeting with King Abdullah II.

The monarch and Queen Rania were received by Mattarella at Quirinale Palace during their visit to Rome.

A source in the Italian presidency told Arab News that Mattarella stressed to the king “the importance for his country of the longstanding friendship between Italy and Jordan.” 

Italy is one of Jordan’s main commercial partners. In the first five months of 2021, bilateral trade grew by 26.7 percent compared to the same period the previous year. During the same period, Jordanian exports to Italy grew by 82.7 percent.

During an official lunch at Chigi Palace, Meloni told the king: “We always can do more together in so many fields.”

A source in the prime minister’s office said trade, cultural and defense cooperation were the core issues discussed.

“The situation in Syria was also covered. Many common points were found during the talks,” the source told Arab News.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani and Defense Minister Guido Crosetto also attended the lunch.


UNRWA, Arab League urge protection of Palestinian education curriculum

UNRWA, Arab League urge protection of Palestinian education curriculum
Updated 05 December 2022

UNRWA, Arab League urge protection of Palestinian education curriculum

UNRWA, Arab League urge protection of Palestinian education curriculum
  • Israeli censorship a concern, says ALECSO representative

CAIRO: The Palestinian education system should be protected from attempts to censor material being taught at schools.

This was the concern raised by some officials at the 32nd joint meeting of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and the Council of Educational Affairs of the Arab League in Cairo, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The gathering took place at the Arab League’s headquarters in Egypt’s capital.

Dr. Tamer Anis, a representative of the Arab League Educational Cultural and Scientific Organization, drew attention to Israel’s attempts to censor the Palestinian curriculum. He urged support for the Palestinian Ministry of Education.

Arab News had reported this year about attempts by Israel to impose a “sanitized” curriculum on East Jerusalem’s schools that includes the deletion of all photos of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the word Palestine and the Palestinian flag. Holy Qur’anic verses were also deleted on claims that they help strengthen Palestinian, Arab and Islamic identities.

At Sunday’s meeting in Cairo, Saeed Abu Ali, the Arab League’s assistant secretary-general for Palestine and the occupied Arab territories, said the gathering comes in the wake of the UNRWA’s ongoing financial crisis, which has had a direct impact on the services provided to Palestinian refugees.

Abu Ali stressed the need for the next UNRWA budget to reflect the growing needs of Palestinian refugees. He added that the Arab League would continue to keep communication channels open between the two organizations

Rawda Al-Hajj, the representative of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said that ISESCO continues to support several education projects in Palestine.

The UNRWA’s Deputy Director of Education Moritz Bilagher reiterated that the Palestinian refugee crisis was not solely the responsibility of Arab countries, but rather a global issue for which the international community must take responsibility.

 


Israeli President arrives in UAE for Abu Dhabi Space Debate

Israeli President arrives in UAE for Abu Dhabi Space Debate
Updated 05 December 2022

Israeli President arrives in UAE for Abu Dhabi Space Debate

Israeli President arrives in UAE for Abu Dhabi Space Debate
  • Israeli president among 300 high-ranking personalities attending the event

DUBAI: Israeli president Isaac Herzog has arrived in the UAE Monday to attend the Abu Dhabi Space Debate, state news agency (WAM) reported.

Herzog was welcomed by the UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the Presidential Airport in Abu Dhabi.

The Israeli president will be among 300 high-ranking personalities and decision makers attending the first edition of the Abu Dhabi Space Debate, which opened on Monday.

The two-day event will discuss the space industry’s most pressing challenges and factors to drive the new space economy.