Qatar, UAE ministers attend virtual meeting on maritime corridor in Gaza

Qatar, UAE ministers attend virtual meeting on maritime corridor in Gaza
Humanitarian aid for Gaza is loaded onto a platform next to a Spanish NGO Open Arms rescue vessel at the port of Larnaca on Mar. 9, 2024. (Reuters)
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Updated 14 March 2024
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Qatar, UAE ministers attend virtual meeting on maritime corridor in Gaza

Qatar, UAE ministers attend virtual meeting on maritime corridor in Gaza
  • Discussions focus on addressing logistical hurdles in transporting humanitarian aid

LONDON: Qatar and the UAE participated in a virtual ministerial meeting on Thursday on advancing a maritime corridor to deliver humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

The meeting, which was hosted by Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos, included Qatar’s Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulaziz bin Saleh Al-Khulaifi, and the UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic, and UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza Sigrid Kaag also took part.

Discussions focused on addressing logistical hurdles in transporting humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, which is currently facing severe restrictions due to Israel’s blockade.

Israel’s action has isolated an estimated 300,000 Palestinians in northern Gaza, where the World Food Programme has reported catastrophic levels of hunger.

A joint statement issued by the governments involved underscored a consensus that there was no substitute for land routes through Egypt, Jordan, and other crossings into Gaza for broad aid delivery. It also welcomed the opening of Ashdod Port to humanitarian aid as an important addition to the maritime corridor.

Plans were set for senior officials to convene in Cyprus in the following week for comprehensive briefings on the maritime corridor’s operations. These will include discussions on the potential establishment of a joint fund to boost operations, and the coordination of both material and financial contributions for its maintenance.

The ministers said that the maritime corridor should be part of ongoing efforts to increase the flow of aid and commercial goods to Gaza via all available means, including expanded land routes and continuous airlift operations, in collaboration with Kaag, who is tasked with facilitating, monitoring, and verifying the flow of aid to the Gaza Strip under UN Security Council Resolution 2,720.

Agnes Callamard, secretary-general at Amnesty International, said on Wednesday that efforts to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip by constructing a seaport or through airdrops were a sign of international weakness.

She said: “A huge concern is that the proposed investment into building a port and transporting humanitarian assistance via sea appears to indicate that the international community ... are expecting the situation to last. Why are you making an investment that is going to take two months?”
 


Palestinian Authority at risk of collapse, Norway says

Palestinian Authority at risk of collapse, Norway says
Updated 17 June 2024
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Palestinian Authority at risk of collapse, Norway says

Palestinian Authority at risk of collapse, Norway says
  • Norway chairs the international donor group to the Palestinians and is a backer of the Palestinian Authority

OSLO: The Palestinian Authority could collapse in the coming months, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said on Monday, citing a lack of funding, continuing violence and the fact that half a million Palestinians are not allowed to work in Israel.
“The Palestinian Authority, with whom we work closely, are warning us that they might be collapsing this summer,” Barth Eide said.
Norway chairs the international donor group to the Palestinians and is a backer of the PA.


Jordan braces for scorching heatwave as temperatures soar

Jordan braces for scorching heatwave as temperatures soar
Updated 17 June 2024
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Jordan braces for scorching heatwave as temperatures soar

Jordan braces for scorching heatwave as temperatures soar
  • The Gulf of Aqaba reached highs of 45 celsius
  • Temperatures in Jordan are set to rise slightly, with the heatwave persisting

AMMAN: The Jordan Meteorological Department forecast extreme heat for Monday, with most regions of the country — particularly the desert areas, Jordan Valley, Dead Sea and Aqaba — experiencing intense temperatures.

The Gulf of Aqaba reached highs of 45 celsius, the Southern Jordan Valley 44 celsius, Dead Sea 43 celsius, while the Desert Regions and the Northern Jordan Valley reached highs of 41 celsius. 

Cloud cover at medium and high altitudes is expected in the south and east of the Kingdom, state news agency Petra reported, with moderate northwesterly winds occasionally becoming brisk.

The JMD cautioned people against prolonged sun exposure, which could lead to dehydration, especially for vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with health conditions. It also highlighted the risk of forest fires and the dangers of leaving children or flammable items, like perfumes and sanitizers, inside vehicles.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, temperatures in Jordan are set to rise slightly, with the heatwave persisting. Most areas will remain hot, the JMD said, and desert regions will face sweltering conditions. Northeasterly winds will prevail, shifting to moderate northwesterly by evening.

The heatwave will continue into Wednesday, with another slight increase in temperatures. Conditions will be blistering and dry across the highlands, the JMD warned, with extreme heat persisting elsewhere. Northeasterly winds will turn to moderate northwesterly later in the day.

Thursday will bring a modest reprieve as temperatures dip slightly. However, the weather will remain hot across most areas, with the desert, Jordan Valley, Dead Sea, and Aqaba continuing to sizzle. Moderate northwesterly winds will occasionally become brisk.


Iran calls for joint action by Islamic nations to stop Gaza war

Iran calls for joint action by Islamic nations to stop Gaza war
Updated 17 June 2024
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Iran calls for joint action by Islamic nations to stop Gaza war

Iran calls for joint action by Islamic nations to stop Gaza war
  • Israel’s military offensive on Gaza has killed at least 37,337 people so far

TEHRAN: Iran’s Acting Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani has called for joint action on the part of Islamic countries to pressure Israel into ending its brutal military activities in Gaza, which have devastated most of the enclave and killed thousands of Palestinians there.

Israel’s military offensive on Gaza has killed at least 37,337 people, mostly civilian women and children, since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza.

Humanitarian supplies for millions of Palestinians displaced by the conflict have been squeezed despite the Israeli military declaring it would “pause” fighting daily around a southern route to facilitate aid flows.

The Iranian official also spoke with his Afghan counterpart Amir Khan Muttaqi via telephone on Sunday, with the two discussing bilateral relations as well as the situation in war-ravaged Gaza.

Kani reiterated Iran’s readiness to help Kabul resolve its challenges and achieve growth, Iran’s news agency IRNA reported.


Kuwaiti citizen detained for alleged involvement in extremist group

Kuwaiti citizen detained for alleged involvement in extremist group
Updated 17 June 2024
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Kuwaiti citizen detained for alleged involvement in extremist group

Kuwaiti citizen detained for alleged involvement in extremist group

KUWAIT CITY: The Public Prosecution in Kuwait has ordered the detention of a citizen on charges of joining a group aimed at illegally undermining the country’s basic systems, state news agency KUNA reported on Sunday.

The individual is also accused of receiving training in making explosives and preparing poisons for illicit purposes, as well as planning to leave the country to fight with the group, though he was unable to do so.

The Public Prosecution interrogated the accused and presented him with the charges, according to a statement released on its official account on X. Investigation procedures are ongoing.


Yemen’s Houthis announce new maritime operations in support of Gaza

Yemen’s Houthis announce new maritime operations in support of Gaza
Updated 17 June 2024
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Yemen’s Houthis announce new maritime operations in support of Gaza

Yemen’s Houthis announce new maritime operations in support of Gaza
  • The Houthis declared that attacks on Israel-linked shipping will persist until Israel ends its war on Gaza and lifts the siege on Palestinian territories

SANAA: The Houthi militia’s army spokesman, Yahya Saree, announced on Sunday that an American destroyer and two Israel-linked ships were targeted in recent operations in the Red and Arabian seas.

Saree said that the US destroyer was hit by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea, while the two ships — Captain Paris and Happy Condor — were targeted in the Arabian Sea using naval missiles and drones, respectively.

He stated that these ships were targeted because they were en route to ports in Israeli-occupied territories.

Saree reaffirmed Yemen’s stance, declaring that attacks on Israel-linked shipping will persist until Israel ends its war on Gaza and lifts the siege on Palestinian territories.

He also emphasized that the Yemeni army would continue to defend its territory against US-UK “aggression,” referring to joint airstrikes by the two Western nations, which the latter claim were launched to protect international shipping.

The Houthis have rejected these claims, asserting that their military operations in international waters, ongoing since mid-November, only target Israeli ships or vessels heading to Israeli-occupied ports.