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UNSC fails to extend authorization for aid access to Syria

The current authorization for the cross-border mechanism, agreed at the last minute in January after lengthy negotiations, expires on Friday.

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United Nations, July 11 : The UN Security Council (UNSC) has failed on its third attempt this week to extend its authorization for the access of lifesaving food, medicine and shelter into Syria from Turkey.

Meeting via video-teleconference, the Council took up a draft resolution, presented by Belgium and Germany, that would have kept humanitarian aid flowing through the Bab al-Salam and Bab al-Hawa crossing points until January 10, 2021, reports Xinhua news agency.

Thirteen of the Council”s 15 members voted in favour, but the text failed to be adopted owing to the negative votes cast by Russia and China, two permanent council members with veto power.

The current authorization for the cross-border mechanism, agreed at the last minute in January after lengthy negotiations, expires on Friday.

Belgium and Germany, the council”s penholders on the humanitarian aspects of the Syrian conflict, had initially put forward a largely similar draft that would have extended the so-called cross-border mechanism, for a full year.

A competing draft resolution from Russia that would have authorized deliveries only through Bab al-Hawa until January 10, 2021, failed to be adopted on Thursday as it lacked the required number of votes.

The result was four in favour (China, Russia, South Africa, Vietnam) to seven against (Belgium, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, UK, US), with four abstentions (Indonesia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia).

Bab al-Salam is the humanitarian gateway to northern Aleppo while Bab al-Hawa serves Idlib.

Middle East

Palestinians protest against normalisation agreement between Israel, UAE

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Palestinians protest UAE-Israel deal

GAZA/RAMALLAH, Aug. 14 : Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the West Bank and Gaza on Friday against the United States’ sponsored normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Islamic Jihad Movement and other Palestinian factions organized the demonstration in Gaza city. Leaders of the factions, including the Hamas movement, joined the protest.

The crowds went out from al-Omari main mosque in Gaza city, waving flags and chanting slogans against the UAE. They marched the main street and gathered at Palestine square in the city’s downtown.

They carried banners writing “Palestine is not for sale” “No for normalization and no for those who lead normalization with the occupation” and “normalization is a knife in the back of the Palestinian people.”

Member of the Islamic Jihad Movement’s political bureau Khaled Al-Batsh renewed the Palestinian people’s condemnation and rejection of the agreement, calling on the UAE to withdraw its recognition of Israel immediately.

Hamas movement leader Mushir al-Masri addressed during the demonstration on behalf of the other factions’ leaders that the Palestinian people described the declaration of the agreement as “a black day for our people and cause.”

“The agreement is a total betrayal of the Palestinian cause and an unpardonable diplomatic action that no one forgives. It is a stab in the back of the Palestinians and gives free services to the occupation,” al-Masri said.

Protests also took place in some West Bank cities.

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Middle East

Turkey may suspend ties with UAE over Israel deal, Erdogan says

The deal makes UAE the third Arab country to establish full relations with Israel, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

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ISTANBUL : Turkey is considering suspending diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates and withdrawing its ambassador over the Gulf state’s accord to normalise ties with Israel, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

The Turkish foreign ministry said history would never forgive the UAE’s “hypocritical behaviour” in agreeing such a deal, which recasts the order of Middle East politics.

Under the U.S.-brokered, the first between Israel and a Gulf Arab, the Jewish state agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank. Palestinian leaders have denounced it as a “stab in the back” to their cause.

“The move against Palestine is not a step that can be stomached. Now, Palestine is either closing or withdrawing its embassy. The same thing is valid for us now,” Erdogan said, adding he gave orders to his foreign minister.

“I told him we may also take a step in the direction of suspending diplomatic ties with the Abu Dhabi leadership or pulling back our ambassador,” he told reporters after Friday prayers.

The Foreign Ministry had earlier said Palestinians were right to reject the deal in which the UAE betrayed their cause.

“History and the conscience of the region’s peoples will not forget and never forgive this hypocritical behaviour,” it said. “It is extremely worrying that the UAE should, with a unilateral action, try and do away with the (2002) Arab Peace Plan developed by the Arab League.”

Turkey has diplomatic and trade ties with Israel, but relations have been strained for years. In 2010 Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish activists trying to breach a blockade on the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

The deal makes UAE the third Arab country to establish full relations with Israel, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

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Middle East

United Nations Chief Antonio Guterres welcomes Israel-UAE agreement

The UAE on August 13 became the first Gulf country and the third in the Arab world to establish diplomatic relations with Israel as part of a deal to halt the controversial annexation of parts of the West Bank that Palestinians see as a part of their future state.

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations, Aug 14 : UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the US-brokered historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), under which Israel will suspend its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Thursday’s agreement is something the Secretary-General has consistently called for, Stephane Dujarric, UN chief’s spokesman, in a statement.

“The Secretary-General welcomes this agreement, hoping it will create an opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to re-engage in meaningful negotiations that will realize a two-state solution in line with relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements,” Xinhua news agency quoted Dujarric as saying.

Annexation would effectively close the door for a renewal of negotiations and destroy the prospect of a viable Palestinian state and the two-state solution, it noted.

Peace in the Middle East is more important than ever as the region confronts the grave threats of COVID-19 and radicalization.

The Secretary-General will continue to work with all sides to open further possibilities for dialogue, peace and stability, said the statement.

The agreement on Thursday took place via a phone call between Trump, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE.

As part of the agreement, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in Trump’s vision of peace and focus its efforts now on expanding its ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world.

The UAE and Israel will also immediately expand and accelerate cooperation regarding the treatment of and the development of a vaccine for coronavirus.

According to reports, this is the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country in 25 years.

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