Algeria to host Libya peace talks

Algeria will host a meeting of rival Libyan parties including Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj and Brigadier General Khalifa Haftar as well as representatives of neighbouring countries next week, Al-Farj newspaper reported citing “informed sources”. The meeting, to be held on 4 January, was organised by Algerian officials in an effort to end the Libyan crisis because of its repercussions on its neighbours. The newspaper described the meeting as “qualitative” and “the first of its kind since Algeria launched a series of dialogue meetings for Libyan political parties in 2014”. The newspaper pointed out that if “this round of talks was successful the Libyan crisis which erupted after the fall of former Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime would come to an end.”

Oman confirms joining Saudi-led coalition

Oman, traditionally on friendly terms with Iran, confirmed today that it had joined a Saudi-led coalition of Muslim countries fighting terrorism, a move praised by other Gulf Arab states as closing ranks with them against Iran. Saudi and Gulf sources reported the development yesterday, saying Omani Minister for Defence Affairs Badr Bin Saud Al-Busaidi had informed Saudi Arabia in a letter that it would join the 40-strong grouping. Today, the Omani Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the move “comes within the common understanding of the Islamic countries and in particular the role and leadership of the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” The ministry added, without elaborating, that Oman would also join hands with “brothers and friends” for regional […]

Syrian regime: ‘Real chance’ for political settlement

Syria’s foreign minister said today there was a “real chance” to reach a political settlement of the Syrian conflict, after Damascus’ ally Russia announced a ceasefire deal that was to take effect at midnight. Walid Muallem also said Syria would attend planned peace talks in Kazakhstan “with an open mind”. “Everything is open for discussion, with the exception of national sovereignty, and the people’s right to choose its leadership,” he said in a live interview on state television. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a ceasefire between Syrian opposition groups and the government starting at midnight (22:00 GMT), and said the parties were also prepared to start peace talks. No date has been announced for the talks in Astana, the Kazakh […]

Israel closes another entrance to West Bank village

Israeli forces closed the main entrance of the village of Shuqba northwest of Ramallah city in the central occupied West Bank yesterday morning, after closing the other entrance to the village more than week ago. The closure came as Israeli forces continued to impose a strict siege on villages west of Ramallah including Shuqba, Qibya, Shabtin, Umm Safa, Abud, Deir Abu Mashal and Rantis, after an Israeli settler was lightly wounded when his vehicle was fired at in the area on 18 December. On Tuesday, many Palestinians reported being searched and interrogated by Israeli soldiers while attempting to move in the area while road closures forced citizens to take longer and unsafe roads. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they […]

Israel is ambushing the Trump administration

Despite all of the assurances that were made by the US President-elect Donald Trump to Israel throughout his presidential campaign, the Israelis are keen, as always, to ambush and control the new administration before its term starts. Among the factors that captured Israeli attention are Trump’s remarks that he would never impose anything on Israeli. Israeli focus was pointed directly towards two points: The first is that there will be no limitations on the question of settlement expansion, which had at least been held hostage under the Obama Administration. Israel seeks to annex the entirety of the West Bank. This initiative is due to the efforts of Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotoveley, and the Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, […]

Israel is ambushing the Trump administration

Despite all of the assurances that were made by the US President-elect Donald Trump to Israel throughout his presidential campaign, the Israelis are keen, as always, to ambush and control the new administration before its term starts. Among the factors that captured Israeli attention are Trump’s remarks that he would never impose anything on Israeli. Israeli focus was pointed directly towards two points: The first is that there will be no limitations on the question of settlement expansion, which had at least been held hostage under the Obama Administration. Israel seeks to annex the entirety of the West Bank. This initiative is due to the efforts of Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotoveley, and the Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, […]

Germany releases Tunisian suspect in Berlin truck attack

Germany today released a Tunisian man detained on suspicion of involvement in the truck attack at a Berlin Christmas market last week, and Italian police searched houses in and around Rome where the main suspect may have spent time. Investigators across Europe are trying to determine whether Anis Amri, a failed asylum seeker from Tunisia who was shot dead by police in Milan on Friday after killing 12 people in Berlin in the name of Daesh, had any accomplices. A spokeswoman for Germany’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office said the Tunisian man had been detained yesterday on suspicion Amri may have sent him a voice message and picture shortly before the attack. “Further investigation has shown that the arrested person was not […]

Germany releases Tunisian suspect in Berlin truck attack

Germany today released a Tunisian man detained on suspicion of involvement in the truck attack at a Berlin Christmas market last week, and Italian police searched houses in and around Rome where the main suspect may have spent time. Investigators across Europe are trying to determine whether Anis Amri, a failed asylum seeker from Tunisia who was shot dead by police in Milan on Friday after killing 12 people in Berlin in the name of Daesh, had any accomplices. A spokeswoman for Germany’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office said the Tunisian man had been detained yesterday on suspicion Amri may have sent him a voice message and picture shortly before the attack. “Further investigation has shown that the arrested person was not […]

Germany releases Tunisian suspect in Berlin truck attack

Germany today released a Tunisian man detained on suspicion of involvement in the truck attack at a Berlin Christmas market last week, and Italian police searched houses in and around Rome where the main suspect may have spent time. Investigators across Europe are trying to determine whether Anis Amri, a failed asylum seeker from Tunisia who was shot dead by police in Milan on Friday after killing 12 people in Berlin in the name of Daesh, had any accomplices. A spokeswoman for Germany’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office said the Tunisian man had been detained yesterday on suspicion Amri may have sent him a voice message and picture shortly before the attack. “Further investigation has shown that the arrested person was not […]

Ukrainian MP calls for moving embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Jewish Ukrainian MP Alexander Feldman called for moving his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, expressing anger with his country’s decision to vote in favour of a UN resolution which condemned illegal Israeli settlements, Israeli media reported yesterday. Writing on Facebook, Feldman said he was upset that his country voted against Israeli settlements and he became more upset when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a planned visit by his Ukrainian counterpart to Israel. “For many years my colleagues and I have been working on the development of relations between our countries and we have achieved a lot,” he said, mentioning visa-free entry between the two countries as well as lower airfares, the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post reported. “Of […]