Tag Archives: Arab League

Kerry meets Palestinian negotiator about talks

After Palestinian leaders demanded further guarantees before restarting talks with Israel, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed his ideas with the chief Palestinian negotiator in Amman on Friday.

A stormy, high-level meeting of senior Palestinian leaders called to discuss U.S Kerry’s latest peace proposal ended with a decision early Friday to demand that Israel agree on the general border of a future Palestinian state, officials said.

The demand casts a cloud of uncertainty over months of U.S. mediation efforts because Israel rejects preconditions.

Hoping to push Israelis and Palestinians toward talks, President Barack Obama asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work with Kerry “to resume negotiations with Palestinians as soon as possible,” according to a statement released by the White House late Thursday.

The Palestinians demand is that the starting point for border talks must be the cease-fire line that held from 1949 until the 1967 war, when Israel captured the West Bank. Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

Palestinians claim those territories for their future state, with modifications reached through agreed land swaps that could allow major Jewish settlement blocs built in the West Bank becoming part of Israel proper, in exchange for territories in Israel.

Previous Israeli governments twice negotiated on the basis of the 1967 lines, but no peace accord was reached.

Palestinian official Wasel Abu Yussef said Erekat would ask for more clarifications from Kerry on what Israel expects from negotiations.

Abu Yussef said Palestinians did not want to reject Kerry’s efforts to restart negotiations outright.

The Palestinians did not bring up their often-repeated demand that Israel stop building in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem before talks could resume. One official said that if Israel accepts the 1967 lines as a basis, that would make most of the settlements illegitimate.

While Kerry has not publicized details of his plan, the Arab League’s decision Wednesday to endorse his proposal raised speculation that the Palestinians would agree. Abbas traditionally has sought the blessing of his Arab brethren before making any major diplomatic initiative.

U.S. officials played down hopes that negotiations would begin soon.

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Palestinian leaders discussing Kerry proposal

The Palestinian leadership in the West Bank is discussing U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest efforts to relaunch peace talks with Israel.

Kerry has not publicized his plan to restart the talks, but a decision by the Arab League to support his proposals has raised speculation that the Palestinians will agree.

An announcement was expected later Thursday.

Kerry has been shuttling for months in search of a formula to allow resumption of talks after a nearly five-year break. Kerry, who is in neighboring Jordan, had a lengthy meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this week.

Abbas was briefing top officials from the Palestine Liberation Organization Thursday on the latest proposals, the PLO said.

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Palestinian leaders discuss Kerry's proposal to relaunch peace talks with Israel

The Palestinian leadership in the West Bank is discussing U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest efforts to relaunch peace talks with Israel.

Kerry has not publicized his plan to restart the talks, but a decision by the Arab League to support his proposals has raised speculation that the Palestinians will agree.

An announcement was expected later Thursday.

Kerry has been shuttling for months in search of a formula to allow resumption of talks after a nearly five-year break. Kerry, who is in neighboring Jordan, had a lengthy meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this week.

Abbas was briefing top officials from the Palestine Liberation Organization Thursday on the latest proposals, the PLO said.

…read more

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Kerry pushes Israel to consider Arab League peace plan | JPost | Israel News

By Dave Robbins

After meeting with Arab League officials and Abbas in Amman, US Secretary of State urges Israel to “look hard” at Arab peace initiative; Israeli officials say plan is fine as basis of discussion, not a dictate. Read More: Kerry pushes Israel to consider Arab League peace plan | JPost | Israel News.

The post Kerry pushes Israel to consider Arab League peace plan | JPost | Israel News appeared first on Endtime Ministries | End Of The Age | Irvin Baxter.

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Source: Endtime Ministries

Kerry to meet with Abbas in Jordan for peace push | JPost | Israel News

By Dave Robbins

US secretary of state to brief Jordanian and Arab League officials in Amman on the peace efforts; State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says Kerry wouldn’t return to region if he didn’t see possibility of progress. Read More: Kerry to meet with Abbas in Jordan for peace push | JPost | Israel News.

The post Kerry to meet with Abbas in Jordan for peace push | JPost | Israel News appeared first on Endtime Ministries | End Of The Age | Irvin Baxter.

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Source: Endtime Ministries

Syria envoy: Syria not cooperating

The joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria on Friday gave the Security Council a grim assessment of the Syrian civil war, saying that Damascus is completely uncooperative in negotiations.

“With the Syrians, I got nowhere,” Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters after the closed-door briefing.

Since last year, Brahimi has been promoting a peace plan that would call for a transitional government in which Syrian President Bashar Assad would step aside. Damascus has shown no appetite for discussing Assad’s resignation.

Brahimi also chided the Security Council for its ongoing deadlock over the war. Western and Arab nations blame the conflict on Assad’s government. Russia insists on assigning equal blame to the Syrian rebel opposition, and has used it veto, along with China, to block draft council resolutions.

“On the Security Council, with the Americans and the Russians, we made some progress but it is too little,” Brahimi said.

“If they really believe that they are in charge of looking after peace and security, there is no time for them to lose to really take this question more seriously than they have until now,” he said.

Brahimi denied rumors he was resigning, capping a week of widespread reports in the Arab world that he was quitting in frustration, or dumping his affiliation with the Arab League, which has officially recognized the Syrian opposition forces as the legitimate government.

Brahimi assumed the U.N.-Arab League envoy role last year after former U.N. chief Kofi Annan quit in frustration.

“I haven’t resigned,” Brahimi said. “Every day I wake up, I think I should resign. But I haven’t so far. One day, perhaps, one day I will resign, and I assure you, you will find out.”

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/hN_IUBbcit0/

Syria blasts international envoy ahead of briefing

Syrian state media are accusing the U.N.’s envoy of being a “false witness” as he prepares to brief the international body on the country’s two-year old conflict.

Al-Thawra daily said Saturday that Lakhdar Brahimi has taken sides in the conflict and his briefing “will not alleviate the suffering of Syrians.”

The U.N. and Arab League envoy for Syria is scheduled to address the Security Council on Thursday.

Brahimi has not been able to make progress in his mission to push forward a peace plan for Syria first presented in June at an international conference in Geneva.

He angered the Syrian government by saying in December that the four-decade rule of the Assad family had gone on “too long.”

Syria accused him of interfering in its internal affairs.

From: http://feeds.foxnews.com/~r/foxnews/world/~3/y-C1CbmKXoE/

Decade-old Mideast peace plan re-emerges

A dormant, decade-old Mideast peace plan has suddenly emerged as a possible key to breaking years of deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians.

A top Palestinian official said Sunday that the visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed interest in reviving the so-called Arab Peace Initiative, a 2002 plan in which the Arab world offered comprehensive peace with Israel in exchange for a full pullout from all territories it captured in the 1967 Mideast war. Arab officials confirmed the Arab League was set to discuss the matter on Monday.

The initiative was revolutionary when it was introduced by Saudi Arabia‘s then crown prince, King Abdullah, and later endorsed by the 22-member Arab League at a summit in Beirut. However, the plan was overshadowed by fierce Israeli-Palestinian fighting at the time and greeted with skepticism by Israel. The Arab League re-endorsed the plan in 2007, and technically, the offer remains in effect.

Key obstacles remain. Israel has not softened its objections to the plan, and the Palestinians turned down a request from Kerry for changes in it.

In the 1967 war, Israel took control of the West Bank, east Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, Sinai and Golan Heights. Israeli returned the Sinai to Egypt in 1982 in the framework of a peace treaty and pulled out of Gaza unilaterally in 2005. Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, and peace talks with Syria over the territory have repeatedly failed.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been deadlocked since late 2008, in large part over the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The Palestinians refuse to talk while Israel settles its population on the occupied territories where they want to establish their state. They have demanded that Israel accept the 1967 lines as the basis for a future Palestine. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejects a return to the 1967 lines and calls for talks with no preconditions.

The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation has also endorsed the 2002 Arab peace initiative.

The plan, if adopted, considers the Arab-Israeli conflict “ended,” offers “normal relations” with Israel and calls for providing “security for all the states of the region.”

Israel has rejected a return to the 1967 lines for both security and spiritual reasons. Israeli leaders have long argued that the 1967 frontiers are indefensible. In addition, a return to those boundaries would mean a withdrawal …read more

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Russia criticizes Arab League move on Syria

Russia says the Arab League‘s recognition of the Syrian opposition as the only representative of the country effectively kills efforts to negotiate a peaceful end to the civil war there.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that Russia “deeply regrets” the move and is concerned about its consequences.

The Arab League let the main Syrian opposition coalition take over the country’s seat for the first time at a summit Tuesday in Qatar.

Lavrov says the move amounts to a rejection of an international peace plan approved in Geneva in June, which was supported by the Arab League at the time.

He also argued that the move throws the status of U.N. and Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, in limbo.

Russia has steadfastly backed Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s regime.

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Arab League summit showcases Qatar's swagger

Qatar‘s emir looked over an assembly of Arab leaders Tuesday as both cordial host and impatient taskmaster. His welcoming remarks to kings, sheiks and presidents across the Arab world quickly shifted to Qatar‘s priorities: Rallying greater support for Syrian rebels and helping Palestinians with efforts such as a newly proposed $1 billion fund to protect Jerusalem’s Arab heritage.

No one seemed surprised at the paternal tone or the latest big-money initiative. In a matter of just a few years, hyper-wealthy Qatar has increasingly staked out a leadership role once held by Egypt and helped redefine how Arab states measure influence and ambition.

Little more than a spot to sink oil and gas wells a generation ago, Qatar is now a key player in nearly every Middle Eastern shakeout since the Arab Spring, using checkbook diplomacy in settings as diverse as Syria‘s civil war, Italian artisan workshops struggling with the euro financial crisis, and the soccer pitches in France as owners of the Paris Saint-Germain team.

As hosts of an Arab League summit this week, Qatar gets another chance to showcase its swagger.

With power, however, come tensions. Qatar has been portrayed as an arrogant wunderkind in places such as Iraq and Lebanon where some factions object to its rising stature, and Qatar‘s growing independent streak in policy-making has raised concerns among its Gulf Arab partners. It also faces questions — as do other Gulf nations and Western allies — over support for some Arab Spring uprisings while remaining loyal to the embattled monarchy in neighboring Bahrain.

“The adage that money buys influence could very well be the motto of Qatar,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a professor of regional politics at Emirates University outside Abu Dhabi. “But it goes beyond that. Qatar also has learned the value of being flexible and, at the same time, thinking big.”

It’s hard these days to find a point on the Mideast map without some link back to Qatar.

In recent years, Qatar mediated disputes among Lebanese factions and prodded Sudan‘s government into peace talks with rebels in the Darfur region. Qatar‘s rulers even broke ranks with Gulf partners and allowed an Israeli trade office — almost a de facto diplomatic post — before it was closed in early 2009 in protest of Israeli attacks on Gaza. And Doha has been atop the Arab media pecking order as headquarters of the pan-Arab network Al-Jazeera, which was founded with …read more
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Syrian opposition takes seat at Arab summit

Syrian opposition representatives have taken Syria‘s seat at an Arab League summit held in Qatar in a significant diplomatic boost for the forces fighting President Bashar Assad‘s regime.

A four-man delegation led by Mouaz al-Khatib, former president of the Syrian National Coalition, took the seats assigned for Syria on Tuesday at the invitation of the Emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

The decision for the opposition to take Syria‘s seat was made at the recommendation of Arab foreign ministers earlier this week in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Syria‘s membership in the Arab League was suspended in 2011 in punishment for its crackdown on the opposition.

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UN reducing international staff in Damascus

The United Nations says it is temporarily reducing its international staff in Damascus following mortar fire that damaged a hotel and a U.N. vehicle.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Monday that the U.N. is temporarily relocating some Damascus-based staff of the office of joint U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to Beirut and to the office’s main office in Cairo.

He said all national staff from Brahimi’s office have been asked to work from home until further notice.

Nesirky said the shelling Sunday and Monday in proximity to the hotel and on the grounds caused some damage to the building and cars.

“These measures are being undertaken solely for security reasons,” he said.

Nesirky said U.N. agencies will continue delivering humanitarian aid to millions of Syrians in need.

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Protesters end siege of Libyan prime minister's office

About 200 militiamen and protesters demanding the resignation of Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zidan have ended their day-long siege of his office.

Osama Kabar, who is deputy leader of the previously little known group calling itself the Supreme Council of Libya Revolutionaries, said on Monday that the protest in the Libyan capital Tripoli ended after the prime minister sneaked out of the building through the back door late on Sunday.

An official from Zidan’s office says he left Monday to Qatar to attend an Arab League summit. He spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

The group lay siege to the PM‘s offices on Sunday after Zidan threatened to battle militias, even if outside help was needed. Zidan later retracted his remarks.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Protesters end siege of Libyan PM's office

About 200 militiamen and protesters demanding the resignation of Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zidan have ended their day-long siege of his office.

Osama Kabar, who is deputy leader of the previously little known group calling itself the Supreme Council of Libya Revolutionaries, said on Monday that the protest in the Libyan capital Tripoli ended after the prime minister sneaked out of the building through the back door late on Sunday.

An official from Zidan’s office says he left Monday to Qatar to attend an Arab League summit. He spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

The group lay siege to the PM‘s offices on Sunday after Zidan threatened to battle militias, even if outside help was needed. Zidan later retracted his remarks.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Official: US to bring Arab states into peace push

A Palestinian official says the U.S. is seeking to bring Arab countries into efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in the coming weeks.

Yasser Abed-Rabbo, a top official in the Palestine Liberation Organization, says that “U.S. efforts will increase in coming weeks and will include other Arab parties, such as Jordan and Egypt.”

Abed-Rabbo told a local radio in the West Bank on Monday that an Arab League delegation will visit Washington as part of these efforts.

Israel has said it’s ready for immediate talks, while the Palestinians say Israel must first freeze settlement building on lands it captured in 1967, which Palestinians want for their future state.

During his visit to Mideast last week, President Barack Obama sided with the Israeli view.

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Arab League gives Syrian seat to opposition

In a symbolic blow to embattled Syrian President Bashah Assad, senior Arab diplomats say the Arab League has decided to transfer Syria‘s seat to opposition forces.

The decision is unlikely to mean much in practical terms to Assad’s regime, which has already been abandoned by many Arab states that are siding with rebel forces. But it reflects pressure by key rebel backers — Qatar and Saudi Arabia — for a show of Arab solidarity against Assad at a two-day Arab League Summit beginning Tuesday in Doha.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr Kamel said Sunday that Syrian opposition can now send an envoy to the summit.

Earlier, Qatar‘s prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, urged the new head of the Syrian opposition’s interim government, Ghassan Hitto, to attend.

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Qatar offers venue for Syrian rebel envoy

Qatar‘s prime minister is urging the new head of the Syrian opposition’s interim government to attend an Arab League summit in the Gulf nation later this week.

The offer would give the U.S.-educated Ghassan Hitto a powerful forum to press for greater Arab support in the battle to overthrow President Bashar Assad. But it could cause friction with countries such as Iraq, which has questioned whether the summit should completely rebuff the Assad regime.

Qatar is a main backer of the Syrian National Coalition and has called for more arming of the rebels. Syria‘s civil war is expected to dominate the two-day summit beginning Tuesday.

Qatar‘s Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani said Sunday that Hitto would be welcomed. It was not immediately clear, however, whether he would attend.

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Obama Must Convince Israel He Is Trustworthy

By Susan Stamper Brown

Obama Negotiating Strategy Israel SC Obama Must Convince Israel He is Trustworthy

When Air Force One touches down in Israel for meetings this week, President Barack Obama has his hands full. Iran is about a year away from developing a nuclear weapon, and Obama must convince Israel he is trustworthy before he can suggest to anyone that taking a preemptive strike against Iran is a lousy idea.

Obama has a terrible track record when it comes to Israel. In fact, a recent survey done by algemeiner.com shows most Israelis don’t like him. Of those surveyed, just 10 percent held a favorable opinion of Obama, 17 percent held highly unfavorable regard, 19 percent unfavorable, and 32 percent said they respect him (but don’t necessary like him. )

But, who could blame them? Obama is the first American president in history to demonstrate indifference toward them with both words and deeds. Israelis didn’t just wake up one morning and decide they don’t like our president. Actions have consequences. Israelis listened when Obama made disparaging remarks about their prime minister to the French president. They were offended when, according to The White House Watch, Obama rudely walked out of a meeting and left Prime Minister Netanyahu “to his own devices” to eat alone. They’ve watched when Obama repeatedly fanned the flame of animosity between Israelis and Palestinians by swelling settlement issues. Most recently, they were taken aback by Obama’s choice of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who many label as anti-Semitic.

When it comes to settlement issues, one would like to feel empathy for the pitiful predicament the Palestinian people find themselves in nowadays; but it is vital to separate feelings from facts. After all, Israel is a miniscule speck on the map about the same size as Houston, Texas, hemmed in by those who refuse to acknowledge her statehood and habitually threaten her.

There is not, nor has there ever been, a country of Palestine. Technically speaking, both the West Bank and Gaza Strip lack the criteria recognized by the international community defining a state. No matter how vociferously they shout, or how sorry we feel for them, it is wrong to give the Palestinian people something that is not theirs to begin with.

Also, Israel is not the warmongering state some make her out to be. As I’ve written before, prior to the infamous 1967 Six Day War, Israel made every effort to avoid conflict by attempting negotiations with its hostile neighbors only to be met with threats, taunts, and harassment.

In 1963, the Arab League organized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), whose charter called for Israel’s destruction. The PLO’s guerrillas attacked Israeli citizens 35 times in 1965, 41 in 1966, and 37 in the first quarter of 1967, infiltrating Israel from Jordan, the Gaza Strip, and Lebanon.

Shedding light on the motivation for the attacks, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser explained, “The danger of Israel lies in the very existence of Israel,” promising Arabs would enter Palestine “with its soil saturated in blood.” From 3000 feet above Galilee atop the Golan Heights, Syria joined the attacks by shelling Israeli farms …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

Syrian opposition elects interim prime minister

Syria‘s opposition coalition early Tuesday elected a little-known American-educated IT manager and Islamic activist to head an interim government to administer areas seized by rebel forces from President Bashar Assad‘s troops.

Ghassan Hitto received 35 votes out of 48 ballots cast by the opposition Syrian National Coalition‘s 63 active members during a meeting in Istanbul. The results were read aloud by coalition member Hisham Marwa to applause from a few dozen of his colleagues who had waited until after 1 a.m. to hear the results

“I miss my wife and children and I look forward to seeing them soon,” said Hitto, who has lived in the United States for decades and recently moved from Texas to Turkey to help coordinate aid to rebel-held areas.

When asked what his interim government‘s first priority would be, Hitto said he planned to give a speech later Tuesday outlining his plans.

Coalition members hope the new government will unite the rebels fighting Assad’s forces on the ground and provide services to Syrians living in rebel-held areas, many of which have been battered by the country’s civil war and suffer acute shortages of food, electricity and medical services.

But the new government faces huge challenges, starting with its ability to gain recognition from rebel factions on the ground.

As rebels have progressed in northern and eastern Syria, a patchwork of rebel groups and local councils have sought to fill the void left by the government‘s withdrawal by organizing security patrols, reopening bakeries and running courts and prisons. It is unclear if these groups, many of which have taken charge of their own towns, will accept an outside authority, especially if it is headed by someone who has spent decades abroad.

“How can a civilian come and tell these fighters on the ground, `Drop your weapons. It’s my turn to rule’?” asked Adib Shishakly, the coalition’s representative to a group of Gulf nations known as the Gulf Cooperation Council, before the results were announced.

Hitto’s election follows two failed attempts to form interim governments due to opposition infighting. Coalition members also say they received insufficient international support to allow them to project their authority to groups inside Syria. The new government could have the same problem.

“You have to find a way to cooperate with these groups and you can only rule by providing services, which requires funding,” Shishakly said.

The council’s creation of an interim government renders even more remote the chances of ending the war through negotiations with Assad’s government — the preferred solution of the U.S. and other world powers.

The U.S. has been cool to the idea of a rebel government to rival Assad’s and supports a peace plan put forward by the U.N. and the Arab League that calls for the formation of a transitional government that represents both the regime and the opposition.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday reiterated his call for a political solution “while there is still time to prevent Syria‘s complete destruction.”

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also said the Obama administration wants to leave the …read more
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