Lebanese president calls for unity in response to Saudi-US joint statement

Lebanese President Michel Aoun says he is committed to national unity and that the country is at a crossroads with regard to its long-running political and economic crisis. (Reuters)
Lebanese President Michel Aoun says he is committed to national unity and that the country is at a crossroads with regard to its long-running political and economic crisis. (Reuters)
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Updated 16 July 2022

Lebanese president calls for unity in response to Saudi-US joint statement

Lebanese president calls for unity in response to Saudi-US joint statement
  • Political crisis must not be allowed to damage country’s future, Michel Aoun says
  • Saudi Arabia, US affirm support for Lebanon in Jeddah Communique

BEIRUT: Lebanese President Michel Aoun says he is committed to national unity and that the country is at a crossroads with regard to its long-running political and economic crisis.

The leader said on Saturday that he “insists on abiding by the concept of national unity in his approach to forming a new government” and that “the government crisis has dragged on more than it should in light of the worrying economic and living conditions in the country.”

He also warned against “letting the deepening crisis impact the future of the country, which now stands at a crossroads.”

Aoun’s comments came after the release of a joint Saudi-US statement on the Lebanese situation.

He added that: “Consultations are ongoing to come up with a quick solution that leads to forming a new government.”

The joint statement, dubbed the Jeddah Communique, was issued after Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met US President Joe Biden in Jeddah on Friday and Saturday.

“The two sides affirmed their continued support for Lebanon’s sovereignty, security and stability, and their support for the Lebanese armed forces that protect its borders and resist the threats of violent extremist and terrorist groups,” it said.

“They also noted the importance of forming a Lebanese government and implementing comprehensive structural political and economic reforms to ensure that Lebanon overcomes its political and economic crisis and that it does not become a launch pad for terrorists, drug smuggling, or other criminal activities that threaten the stability and security of the region.”

The statement added that the two sides “emphasized the importance of the control of the government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory, including with reference to fulfilling the provisions of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the Taif Accord, and for it to exercise full sovereignty, so there will be no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon or authority other than that of the government of Lebanon.”

Lebanese MP Razi Al-Hajj described the Jeddah Communique as a vital message, in both its timing and content.

“It accurately describes the reality of the country. Lebanon is still the focus of international attention,” he said

“Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah’s recent speech was not in the context of preserving Lebanon and its interests, but rather to remind us of the existence of a major player in the region, Iran,” Al-Hajj added.

“Lebanese sovereignty is the legitimacy that determines the state’s choices such as peace or war, and foreign relations.”

In its comments on the joint statement, the National Liberal Party said: “The Americans and the Saudis are more concerned about Lebanon’s strategic interests than the Lebanese officials.”

Rally for Sovereignty, a group of political activists, described the silence of political parties and sovereign and reformist forces in Lebanon as deplorable, as was the lack of support for the Saudi crown prince’s vision to transform the Middle East into a new Europe.

The group said also it hoped Biden “would interpret what was stated in the communique through US policies in the region, especially in terms of nuclear negotiations with Iran, so that any possible agreement includes the disarmament of Iranian proxies in the region, especially Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“The communique clearly mentioned the implementation of the Taif Agreement and the UN Security Council resolutions that guarantee Lebanon’s sovereignty, security and stability, all of which are decisions that the US contributed to formulating and approving, and it is thus morally and politically responsible for their implementation.”

Rally for Sovereignty also urged Lebanon’s government, and political and partisan forces “to carry out an Arab and international diplomatic campaign to compel Syria to duly acknowledge Lebanon’s ownership of the Shebaa Farms, which Israel occupied from the Syrian army … (and) to inform international bodies of this and remove it from Resolution 242 and attach it to Resolution 425 to compel Israel to withdraw from it.”

This was crucial, “especially since Hezbollah’s wars, which have brought destruction and impoverishment to Lebanon, failed to liberate these farms and turned them into a pretext for occupying the Lebanese interior,” it added.


Kuwaiti charity offers psychological aid to victims of war, crisis

Kuwaiti charity offers psychological aid to victims of war, crisis
Updated 56 min 10 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 05 December 2022

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.