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Monday, 08 March 2021 06:26

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Afrasianet - The government of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime has agreed with the Jordanian government on a series of steps to enhance economic cooperation and increase the level of trade exchange, in a new development to normalise relations.

The Facebook page of the presidency of the Council of Ministers in Syria stated that the minister of economy and foreign trade, Mohammad Samer Al-Khalil, met on Thursday with the Jordanian minister of industry and trade, Tariq Al-Hamwi, in Damascus.

The Facebook page pointed out that the two ministers agreed to enhance mutual cooperation in the field of commodity trade, agriculture, transport and water resources.

Jordan News Agency Petra reported on Thursday that the two ministers, Al-Khalil and Al-Hamwi, will follow up on the files of the relevant technical teams, including commodity trade, agriculture, transport and water resources, and will work to overcome obstacles: “Facing the upgrade of the level of bilateral relations.”

The two sides referred to the: “Common keenness to develop and strengthen bilateral relations, and to discuss the future of Jordanian-Syrian economic relations and ways of developing them.”

This advanced normalisation visit is the first of its kind by a prominent Jordanian official to Syria, since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011.

Since late 2018, trade relations between Al-Assad’s regime and Jordan have improved after the regime regained control of the Nasib border crossing, after it had been closed for three years as a result of the opposition’s control over the border area.

In December 2019, the Finance Ministry of Al-Assad’s government announced the cancellation of fees imposed on Jordanian trucks entering Syria, to be limited to transit fees estimated at ten per cent.

There have been several recent Arab attempts to normalise relations with Al-Assad’s regime after its control over large areas of Syrian territories with Russian-Iranian support and the displacement of millions of Syrians.

March 7, 2020







The meeting in Brussels was attended by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom

Afrasianet - High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of EU Commission Josep Borrell spoke to the press following his meeting on Libya with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

The meeting in Brussels was attended by Heiko Maas [Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany], Luigi Di Maio [Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy], Jean-Yves Le Drian [Minister of Foreign Affairs of France], and Dominic Raab [Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom].

Borrell said Libya is a priority for the European Union and stressed that they will be actively engaged with all relevant actors in their efforts to stop the hostilities and achieve the resumption of a political dialogue. “We know that the situation is worsening day by day and the only solution in Libya, once again we have to repeat it, has to be a political negotiation among the parts. There is no military solution.”

Borrell stated that with his colleagues, they agreed that the overriding urgency is to stop the fighting in and around Tripoli and asked for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

“Any escalation and also any outside interference will only make the conflict more protracted, bring more misery to ordinary people in Libya, exacerbate divisions in the country, increase the risk of its partition, spread instability across the region and aggravate the threat of terrorism.”

Asked if Turkey’s decision to deploy troops in Libya was discussed during today’s meeting, Borrell said the following; “We asked for a cease-fire and we asked also to stop the escalation and the external interferences which have been increasing in the last days. It is obvious that this makes a reference to the Turkish decision to intervene with their troops in Libya which is something that we reject and that increases our worries about the situation in Libya. I have not said that very explicitly but it is clear, to someone who wants to understand, that when I am talking about these increased external interferences I am making a reference to the interference of Turkey.”

7 Jan 2020







Afrasianet - Hazim El-Naser - We oppose and reject the US-Israeli peace plan, or the so-called “deal of the century”, for many political, economic, social and religious reasons. It is rejected due to new signs that it will impede progress on the water issue between Palestinians and Israelis, as well as between the Israelis and their neighbouring countries.

The plan does not give the water issue the required weight, neither the attention necessary to indicate a goodwill effort towards the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Digging in-depth into the financial resources allocated in the so-called “deal of the century”, one finds that the total allocation for water for Palestine, including Gaza, Sinai and the joint projects with Jordan, does not exceed 3.1 billion dollars over a period of two to ten years.

It is worth noting that this amount is equivalent to what Jordan spent on the Jordanian water sector to meet its growing water needs, as well as to meet the needs of the influx of Syrian refugees to Jordan (then 1.5 million refugees) during the period of 2013 to 2017. Jordan spent this amount, despite a difficult financial system and without entering into deals with anyone else.

It is clear that the architects of this “deal” know well the importance of water for the establishment of the Palestinian state, and that without a long-term water plan that is sound and sustainable the desired state will lack necessary elements. This is likely why the plan moved away from the water issue, denying the previous agreements signed with the Palestinians, and continuing to control areas rich in surface water and groundwater, while continuing the building of settlements. This is evident in the areas of Jerusalem and Nablus, which are rich in surface and groundwater water.

Additionally, Israel will continue to occupy the remaining territories adjacent to the Jordan River and the northern Dead Sea area, which Palestinians do not maintain any control over, nor do they have sovereign rights on the occupied land mentioned above.

This time, through the “deal of the century”, Israel did not attempt to take control over the water and resources of border areas, as their strategy has changed given the presence of a surplus of gas. We have lived through periods when the tributaries and sources of the Jordan River were the main engine of aggression in 1967, and before that, the war of 1948, as well as the last war of attrition in 1973. Israel ended all of its wars with truce lines which allowed them to control the water resources of the Jordan River, the West Bank, the occupied Golan and the Sea of Galilee. Furthermore, Israel maintains control of the West Bank Mountain Aquifers and its water-rich underground reservoirs, whose water has been withdrawn by Israel in unfair and unsustainable ways, without the Palestinians having the right to their sovereign water.

Returning to the so-called “deal of the century”, the new Israeli strategy is focused on water networks and transmission lines from within Israel, towards the West Bank, Sinai, Gaza and Jordan. It ignores the Oslo 1993-1995 agreements and the 2017-2018 agreements signed to supply water to the West Bank and Gaza as part of the Red-Dead Sea Project Agreement. While Israel rejected the agreement, it insisted on introducing it in the “deal”, to indicate to the United States and Europe that it is working towards regional cooperation. However, implementation and commitment are another matter, especially if there is to be some benefit to others. Their strategy has changed in the absence of new water resources to control in the West Bank.

The new strategy is described as selling water to anyone who needs it, with payment. Israel has sea water to tap, as well as the best desalination technology, and has abundant cheap energy, by which I mean “Mediterranean gas”.

While the new strategy is economically and politically profitable, it is also problematic, given the controlling and occupying Palestinians and Arab water resources, and the related consequences of international community confrontation and legal problems.  

Control of the northern part of the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley of the Palestinians has a hidden reason for its inclusion in the “deal”, which is related to the future of the Israeli potash industry in the Dead Sea, an industry which generates billions for the Israeli economy through the sale of potash salts and Dead Sea products.

In light of Israeli unwillingness to proceed with the Red-Dead project with Jordan and the Palestinians, Dead Sea environmental degradation will continue to the point where the Dead Sea may almost completely dry up. The Israeli water and borders planners know that the shores of the Dead Sea are receding and shrinking towards the north, “i.e. towards the borders of the West Bank on the Dead Sea”. Furthermore, Jordan has insisted over the past years that the state of Palestine borders the Dead Sea basin and has rights. Therefore, the Palestinians have been introduced as an active partner in the Red Dead Sea Project, a fact that the “deal” completely ignored.

To illustrate this point in numbers, the length of the western shore of the Dead Sea today is about 54km, of which only 18km is within Israel’s 1948 borders and the remaining 36km is located within the borders of the 1967 West Bank borders. If the waters of the Dead Sea continue to recede to the north, in the absence of the implementation of the Red-Dead Project, it is expected that over the next 25 years there will be no Dead Sea shore within Israel’s 1948 borders. As a result, the billions of US dollars of economic benefits which are generated as a result of the exploitation of the Dead Sea waters will surely disappear. This is why Israel insists, among other apparent reasons, on annexing the Palestinian areas of the Jordan Valley along the northern shores of the Dead Sea.

Water is a fundamental human right and a bridge to cooperation between nations, and it is not permissible to use it as a weapon to oppress and intimidate people, nor to pass political deals that are dead on arrival.

Within this context, it’s necessary to remind the international community, donors and international organisations, which have continuously repeated the need to regulate the fair use of water and its rights within riparian countries through many charters and conventions. These agreements started with the resolutions of the Association of International Law at its meeting in Helsinki in 1966, to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UN Watercourses Convention) in 1997 (effective and in force since in 2014), which emphasised the principle of the participation of the states in watercourses and that the use should be fair and reasonable among all riparians.

The writer is chairman of the Middle East Water Forum. He was Jordan’s minister of water and irrigation, minister of agriculture and a former member of the Jordanian Parliament. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times

Feb 15,2020








From left: Prime Minister Omar Razzaz, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and House Speaker Atef Tarawneh during a Lower House session (Petra photos)

Amman- Afrasianet- Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh on Sunday announced that he is inviting heads of Arab parliaments to an urgent meeting next Saturday to discuss the US' recent deal.

The announcement came at the conclusion of a Lower House session headed by Tarawneh and attended by Prime Minister Omar Razzaz held to discuss the deal, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Tarawneh stressed that, according to the House’s directives, he would urge the parliaments of Islamic, regional and international countries to pressure their governments to take decisions against the US plan.

He also instructed the House’s secretariat to synthesise MPs’ recommendations in this regard in preparation for sending them to the government.

Tarawneh stressed that Jordan rejects the US peace plan and considers the US biased towards the occupation state.

He noted that any proposal that does not stipulate the establishment of the State of Palestine on the June 4, 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, guaranteeing the rights of return and compensation for refugees, is "unviable".

Jordan’s rejection of the plan is based on the positions of His Majesty King Abdullah, the Custodian of Jerusalem's holy sites, who maintains that resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the full and undiminished restoration of Palestinian rights is the key to security and stability in the region.

For his part, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said during the session that the Palestinian cause is the subject of a national consensus led by His Majesty, based on unchanging constants, towards achieving a lasting peace that secures the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and protects national interests.

He affirmed the Jordanian constant which holds that there is no solution without the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the June 4, 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The basis for resolution, he added, must be the two-state solution and the fulfilment of Palestinian rights in accordance with international legitimacy resolutions, approved references and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Feb 02,2020








Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh speaks during the 30th emergency session of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, which convened representatives of 20 Arab countries in Amman (Petra photo)

Amman - Afrasianet - The Palestinian cause is facing its most trying times, especially as the occupation is protected by a biased US, which has announced an unjust settlement to the conflict, Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh said on Saturday.

Speaking during the 30th emergency session of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (APU), the speaker said that in light of this situation, those concerned must move from "mere words to action".

During the session, which convened representatives of 20 Arab countries in Amman with the aim of supporting Palestinians in their just cause, Tarawneh, who is also APU president, called for forming an “Arab rejection front” that eliminates division and embraces unity.

Tarawneh, in the Amman-held session, also referred to His Majesty King Abdullah's solid stance with the three noes: "No alternative homeland, no settlement and no meddling with the Hashemite Custodianship of Jerusalem", which represent a proactive rejection to the so-called “deal of the century”, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

There is no future for any solution that is rejected by Palestinians; and no solution is viable without an independent Palestinian state on its national soil on the pre-1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, the speaker stressed.

Tarawneh also reiterated the importance of adhering to relevant international resolutions that call for refugees’ rights to return and compensation, halting settlements and maintaining the Hashemite custodianship over Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites.

For his part, Chairman of the Palestinian National Council Salim Zanoun said that solutions mentioned under the US deal are “destructive and rejected”, due to the fact that they neglect the right of return, grant Jerusalem in its entirety as a capital for Israel and support the establishment of a Jewish state.

Zanoun also noted that the plan allows the Israelis to immediately embark on implementing their agenda, while the Palestinians are forced to wait for three years before starting to implement the relevant parts of the deal, Petra added.

The final statements of the session refused any unjust settlement that Palestinians do not accept or that does not guarantee their historical right to a state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the pre-1967 lines.

Attendees of the session considered the “deal of the century” a unilateral agreement that does not work towards a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue, stressing that the envisioned peace can only be achieved through direct, serious and equal negotiations according to the two-state solution.

They also highlighted that the Hashemite custodianship over Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem is an internationally recognised right, and tampering with Al Aqsa Mosque and efforts to divide it temporally and spatially are an attack on this custodianship.

The APU also expressed appreciation to the Kingdom for hosting the summit and praised His Majesty's stances, which constitute a base line for the Arab collective position in rejection of any unjust solution to the Palestinian cause, Petra added.

Attendees also agreed to send a letter to King Abdullah, thanking him for his efforts in defence of the Palestinian cause.

Approving a proposal by Iraqi Speaker of the Council of Representatives Mohamed Halbousi, the union agreed on forming a trilateral committee of the speakers of the Kuwaiti, Iraqi and Algerian parliaments to visit Palestine and meet with President Mahmoud Abbas and other leaders to support Palestinian resilience and follow up on implementing APU decisions.

Also on Saturday, Jordan participated in the 3rd annual Conference of the League of Parliamentarians for Al Quds in Kuala Lumpur, where head of the Kingdom's delegation MP Yahya Saud said that US President Donald Trump's "alleged plan for peace" neglects all international legitimacy resolutions, according to Petra.

Saud added that the US bias towards the Israeli occupation “damages Washington’s values”, which have always called for democracy and defended human rights.

Feb 08,2020







Afrasianet - Ahmad Y. Majdoubeh - Almost everything I read in our part of the world about the Trump administration's so-called "Deal of the Century," since its announcement on January 28, is either dismissive of it or derisive.

So much is wrong with it on so many counts.

First of all, it was put together without due consultation or coordination with the second major party to the conflict, the Palestinians.

The Trump administration did everything in close coordination and cooperation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu government, and adopted, it would seem, the latter's position verbatim.

In this sense, dubbing it as a “deal” is very fitting, because it is a deal between the Trump administration and its bosom friend the Netanyahu government.

The Palestinians were ignored and almost entirely excluded from the very beginning.

This is why they rejected it the minute it was announced.

What adds insult to injury is the fact that those who put it together are all Zionist extremists for whom the Palestinians are at best either irrelevant or a nuisance.

Secondly, it is a “vision” and not a peace plan. For a long time, all concerned with the Palestinian issue have been expecting the Trump administration, like other American administrations before it, to come up with a concrete plan, either negotiated or coordinated with all parties to the conflict.

Instead, it has announced a “vision” that guarantees Israel everything the Netanyahu government has ever dreamt of, and “promises” the Palestinians much less than even the bare minimum, “IF” they fulfill so many impossible conditions.

Everything is given to the Israelis unconditionally, and so many conditions are placed on anything and everything that the Palestinians may hope to get.

Which means the Palestinians will, in effect, find themselves chasing a mirage, worse than what was promised in the Oslo accords.

Grab everything and keep the Palestinians negotiating futilely has been an established policy by several Israeli governments.

Third, the prompt rejection of the “deal” came not only from the Palestinians, but also the Arabs and many in the international community, in America, and in Israel.

The promptness of the rejection by so many testifies to how bad the “deal” is, and to the fact that it was born dead.

The theatrics of the announcement are bad, but so are the contents of the verbose document, which are full of falsehoods and venom.

Fourth, and this is perhaps the most disturbing, the “vision” is devised with the intention of changing nothing on the ground.

For decades, it has been an Israeli practice to create realities on the ground that makes any peace settlement with the Palestinians and Arabs almost impossible.

Since the advent of the Netanyahu government in particular, Israel has not been interested in peace. As a matter of fact, it has been actively seeking to subvert the Oslo agreement.

Worse, they have been annexing Palestinian territories, building illegal settlements on them, constructing roads and highways which eat them up, setting up checkpoints, erecting walls for the purpose of leaving no land for a Palestinian state to be set up on, etc,.

The Trump administration’s “deal” is designed with the aim of forcing a rejection from the Palestinians so as to enable Israel to continue to annex, confiscate and expand in territory which does not belong to it; and thus subvert peace, under the pretext that the Palestinians have not accepted the deal.

This is bad; this is sinister.

The “deal” harms the Palestinians; in fact, it crushes their dreams and aspirations of a viable state and a secure homeland.

But does it benefit Israel?

In the short term, maybe. In the long run, no.

Cheating the Palestinians of a legitimate state and a homeland is unjust.

Injustice can never bring about peace and security. All the “deal”, which is imposed out of sheer malice and brute power, is doing is prolonging the conflict and putting the Israelis on the one hand, and the Palestinians and the Arabs on the other on an ultimate collision course.

The collision may not happen tomorrow or the day after, but eventually it will occur.

The Trump administration and the Netanyahu government will go down in history as having cheated both the Israelis and the Palestinians of peaceful coexistence and a secure future.

The regrettable thing about the “deal” is that it is in the interest of no one: Palestinian, Arab or Israeli.

Feb 06,2020






Afrasianet - Michael Jansen - As soon as the Syrian government announced that the north-south highway was open last weekend, my courageous friend Jamil drove from Damascus to Aleppo and back. "The road was fine and very quick," he told me on the phone on his return to the capital. The Hama-Idlib-Aleppo sector of the highway, the M5, is known as the "international road" because it begins on the Jordanian border and runs to the Turkish border. The highway was closed by conflict for eight years, forcing travellers to take a detour in the desert over rough roads. This route was 90 kilometres longer than the M5 and consumed six hours rather than four and a half, as well as more petrol.

The return of the M5 should lower costs of shipments of goods between Aleppo and Hama, Homs and Damascus at a time the Syrian economy is in crisis due to nearly nine years of warfare and US and European sanctions. Jamil's journey shows that travel has been eased for civilians who save time as well as rationed petrol.

The capture of the M5 by the Syrian army is one of the most celebrated prizes in Damascus' campaign to regain territory lost to takfiris and rebels since unrest erupted in 2011. The 450-kilometre M5 links Syria's main cities, Deraa, Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo, and was the main artery for both commercial and personal travel before the war. The government began to lose control of the highway when diverse rebel and takfiri groups seized different sectors.

Before the war, the highway carried on a daily basis $25-million-worth of commercial traffic to and from Aleppo and Homs, the country's chief industrial hubs. Syria's cotton, grain, pharmaceuticals and export goods travelled along this route, which passes through the rich pistachio-growing region north of Hama and the now devastated towns of Khan Shaikhoun, visited by this correspondent in early September, Maarat Al Numan and Saraqeb, where the M5 meets the M4, the main highway from Aleppo to the port of Latakia on the coast. The western sector of the M4 is the next objective of the Syrian army and its Russian ally as it is the main route for raw material imports and exports.

After government forces recaptured takfiri-held Eastern Ghouta and areas in Deraa province in 2018, the army prepared for the long-awaited campaign in Idlib, the final bastion of anti-government takfiri and Turkish-sponsored militias. However, under Turkish and Russian pressure, this was postponed due to the presence of three million civilians, half of them displaced from elsewhere, amongst thousands of anti-government fighters.

Idlib province and adjacent slices of Hama, Aleppo and Latakia provinces were declared a "de-confliction zone". A ceasefire was meant to be imposed and the M5 and M4 highways were to open and be put under the protection of Russia and Turkey. A 15-20 kilometre buffer zone was to be established around the "deconfliction" area, from which takfiris and heavy arms were to be excluded. Turkey was permitted to plant 12 "observation posts" in the "de-confliction zone" to monitor the ceasefire. Ankara was also tasked with separating takfiris from "rebels" (although there was no real difference) and disarming and isolating the takfiris. Turkish and Russian military police were supposed to patrol the area.

There was no ceasefire because the leading takfiri group, Al Qaeda-affiliated Ha'yat Tahrir Al Sham, and its allies refused to halt anti-government operations. Since they have been branded "terrorists" by the UN, they have been formally excluded from the ceasefire and continued to mount attacks on Syrian soldiers and civilians.
Since Idlib never became a "de-confliction zone", the Syrian army launched its delayed offensive in 2019, seizing Khan Shaikhoun in late August, pausing to see what would happen, and then in December resuming its advance along the M5 to Aleppo. During the M5 campaign, the Syrian army had the full support of Russian air power and the backing of Iran-deployed Shia militiamen.

It is significant that the Russian military, as well as the Syrian Transport Ministry, simultaneously announced the M5 victory, making it clear that Moscow was prepared to defend the M5 highway and, perhaps, the M4, if and when the Syrian army manages to capture the western sectors of this strategic asset.

Last December, the Syrian army took control of the eastern sector of the M4 which links Aleppo in the north-west to Qamishli in the north-east. The Syrian army's advance along this route appears to have been agreed between Russia, Turkey, the US and the Syrian Kurds. Since taking up positions, the army has not only regained Syrian territory, but has also acted as a buffer force between Turkish and Kurdish fighters.

Following Donald Trump's decision to withdraw US troops deployed with the Kurds, the Turkish army and client militiamen seized from the Kurds a 120-kilometre stretch of territory south of the Turkish-Syrian border. This created a casus belli for the Kurds who were determined to recapture territory lost, or granted by Trump, to Turkey.

Although the US declared a troop withdrawal from Syria, up to 600 US soldiers remain in the northeast, allegedly, to protect the oil fields. The US troops, however, have also interfered with Russian military police patrolling the M4 near Qamishli, risking clashes and creating instability in an already unstable region of Syria.

Feb 26,2020









Algeria - follow-up: Afrasianet - The Algerian Foreign Minister, Sabri Bogadom, has called on the League of Arab States to end the freeze on Syria's membership and to re-represent it again at its meetings and activities.

Bogadom said that the absence of Syria has caused great harm to the League and the Arabs, calling on the Arab countries to push towards the re-membership of Syria, and called on all Arab countries to work for Damascus to return to the League of Arab States.

In a press statement carried by the newspaper "Al-Khobar" during his meeting with his Mauritanian counterpart, Ismail Ould Cheikh, Minister Bougadoum considered that the absence of Syria has great harm to the League and the Arabs, explaining that Algeria's position is clear and decisive in terms of the need for Syria to return to the university.

Tunisia failed to persuade the Arabs to return Syria to the Arab League during the past year, while hosting the Arab Summit in March 2019.

Algeria is preparing to host the next Arab summit in its 32nd session after submitting an application to the Arab League, 15 years after the last summit in 2005.

Since joining the Arab League in August 1962, a month after its independence, Algeria has embraced 3 Arab summits, including one emergency.

In 2011, the League of Arab States suspended Syria's membership, after the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in March of the same year, and the seat remained vacant in all meetings, except for the summit meeting in March 2013, when the seat was occupied by the then head of the coalition Moaz al-Khatib.









Afrasianet - Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have adopted a joint document that includes several points to settle the situation in Syria's Idlib, including a ceasefire and the creation of a safe corridor.

The document, dubbed "the Additional Protocol to the Memorandum on Establishing Stability in the Idlib Area to Reduce Escalation and dated September 17, 2018" and was read by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlev Cawushoglu: "Russia and Turkey confirm their commitment to the independence and unity of the Syrian Arab Republic Its territorial integrity, noting their determination to combat all forms of terrorism and eliminate all terrorist organizations recognized by the United Nations Security Council, and agreeing nevertheless that the threat to civilians and civilian infrastructure cannot be justified by any pretexts.

Russia and Turkey stressed in the document that "there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict, which can be settled only as a result of a political process led and implemented by the Syrians themselves, with the support of the United Nations, in accordance with Resolution 2254 of the Security Council."

The two sides stressed "the importance of preventing the further deterioration of the humanitarian situation, ensuring the protection of civilians and providing humanitarian assistance to all Syrians in need, without proposing any preconditions and without any discrimination, and preventing the continued displacement and contributing to the voluntary and safe return of refugees and displaced persons to their places of residence in Syria."

According to the document, Russia and Turkey agreed on several points:

1. Halting all hostilities on the demarcation line in the Idlib area, to reduce the escalation, as of 01:00 from March 6, 2020.

2. Create a safe corridor 6 km north and 6 km south from the "M4" road, so that the precise standards for the safe lane work will be coordinated through the communication channels between the defense ministries of the Russian Federation and the Turkish Republic within 7 days.

3. The start of the Russian-Turkish joint patrols on March 15, 2020 along the "M4" road, from the town of Tarnbah, two kilometers from the city of Saraqib, to the town of Ain Al-Hour.

Lavrov indicated that the document has been in effect since Thursday, and it was signed by Russian Defense Ministers, Sergey Shoygo, and Turkish, Khulusi Akar.









Okail: Modern slavery is one of the continent’s worst challenges. The international convention on slavery should be activated.

Basha: It is a must to urge the countries to ratify the Forced Labor Protocol.

Afrasianet - On the anniversary of the International Day for the Abolition of slavery, the African Affairs Department of Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human rights, appeals to the international community to exert more efforts to combat all forms of modern slavery. The department further calls for raising awareness on the issues related to human trafficking, forced labor and sexual exploitation, especially since the largest proportion of those who are exploited, are emerging from the African continent.

In this regard, Maat foundation denounces the increasing rates of African victims more than 9 million persons; representing 23% of the 40 million people in the world. Furthermore, Maat expresses its concern over spreading the phenomenon of slavery outrageously in Eretria, Burundi, and Central Africa.

Ayman Okail, the president of Maat, declared that non- inclusion of modern slavery in the legal framework of the African countries, is the reason for persistence and proliferation of slavery in the Continent. Okail emphasized on the importance of executing the article 6 of the “international covenant on slavery” concerning the incorporation of penal legislation into its laws. He also stressed the need to apply articles 2, 5 and 8 of the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and institutions and Practices similar to Slavery.

Abdelrahman Basha, the researcher in the African Affairs department, said that the international day for the abolition of slavery is a very good opportunity to raise the public awareness on dangers of discrimination which based on slavery and all forms of exploitation. He also stressed on the essential confrontation of the widespread of forced labor and urged those countries that have not yet ratified to join "the Forced Labor Protocol".

Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human rights pays a special attention to African countries. As a member of the General Assembly of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union, and the Coordinator of the North Africa Region of the Group of Major NGOs in Africa of the United Nations High-level Political Forum.





  • New economic normalisation between Assad regime and Jordan

  • Four countries reject the deployment of Turkish troops in Libya

  • ‘The deal of the century’ and its hidden secrets

  • Tarawneh, Safadi advocate Palestinian rights, reiterate rejection of US deal

  • Tarawneh calls on Arab states to take action on Palestine

  • Not in the interest of anyone

  • Capture of M5 one of the most celebrated prizes in Damascus' campaign to regain territory

  • “Her absence caused harm to the Arabs.” Algeria calls for the return of Syria to the Arab League

  • Text of Putin's and Erdogan's settlement plan in Idlib

  • Maat: Outmoded practices should be stopped.

Afrasianet - Israeli aircraft bombed a Hamas site in the northern Gaza Strip, after a missile was fired from the Gaza Strip towards the "Gaza envelope" settlements.

The Israeli army said in a statement that it had targeted a "site for manufacturing weapons" affiliated with "Hamas", blaming the movement for what is happening in Gaza, while the agency "Ma'an" reported that the raid targeted the previous site of Palestinian intelligence, "the ship's site" west of Gaza City with five missiles , And fire broke out inside it.









Afrasianet - The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution requiring the US administration to refrain from imposing restrictions on foreign diplomats with the world body operating on US soil.

On Wednesday, the General Assembly unanimously approved the resolution submitted by Cyprus on behalf of Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica and Ivory Coast, and calls on the United States, as the host country of the organization's headquarters, to grant visas quickly to representatives of all member states of the organization, so that those who have been chosen to work In the permanent representations of their countries to the United Nations and its General Secretariat, they shall begin to perform their duties as quickly as possible.

The resolution urged the United States to cancel all remaining restrictions on the movements of representatives of "some countries" working in United Nations organizations, expressing the General Assembly's deep concern about Washington's refusal to issue visas to diplomats from some member states.

The resolution emphasized that the United Nations "takes" seriously "US travel restrictions and complaints submitted by two missions that insist that the United States authorities are impeding their work, and called on the Secretary-General of the Organization, Antonio Guterres, to deal actively with all matters relating to relations between the world organization and the host country.

The decision warned that, if these problems are not resolved in the "reasonable and specific" period, then the United Nations will consider the possibility of taking the measures stipulated under Section 21 of the "headquarters agreement", which is related to settling differences between them and the United States by resorting to arbitration. .

The decision did not mention the names of the two missions that filed complaints with the US restrictions, but it is clear that there is talk of Russia and Iran.

Russia has repeatedly protested the United States from preventing visas to 18 of its diplomats during the last session of the General Assembly last September, including members of the Moscow delegations to the meetings of the First and Sixth Committees on disarmament and legal affairs.

As for Iran, its diplomats since last summer are subject to restrictions on their movements in American soil, and they are largely obligated to stay in the area surrounding the United Nations headquarters in New York or the headquarters of their country’s mission or the residence of its ambassador.






Afrasianet - The US House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump for “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress.” The Republican-majority Senate will now take up the president’s trial.

The outcome of Wednesday’s vote came as little surprise, with the Democrat-controlled House voting along party lines in what their GOP opponents perceive as a partisan attack on a sitting US leader.

Trump thus becomes the third-ever US president to be impeached by the House, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Both were acquitted in the Senate, and remained in office till the end of their terms. This is shaping up to be the scenario for Trump as well, as the Senate is under Republican control. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has already said that he intends to simply hold a vote to dismiss the charges, rather than dignify them with a debate.

Ahead of the vote, Trump tweeted a quote from Mark Meadows (R-NC), who said that “this is all about convicting a president based on innuendo, not on the facts. Even the Ukrainian president said there was no pressure!” He then proceeded to fly to Michigan, where he addressed a campaign rally as the vote in the House got underway.

On Tuesday, the president sent a scorching six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying the vote was “invalid,” and that the Democrats were “violating your oaths of office,”“breaking your allegiance to the Constitution,” and “declaring open war on American democracy.”






Afrasianet - Gunmen fatally shot the mayor of Libya’s third-largest city, Misrata, late on Sunday, ambushing his car inside the city, security officials said.

The North African oil producer has been in chaos since the 2011 uprising that unseated Muammar Gaddafi, but Misrata, Libya’s biggest port, had been relative peaceful until now.

Gunmen chased the car of Mayor Mohamed Eshtewi after he left Misrata airport following his arrival on a plane from Turkey, a security official said, adding it was unclear who was behind it.

In October, a bomb exploded at the city’s court, killing about four people and wounding 40 others in an attack claimed by ISIS.

Misrata, almost 200 km east of Tripoli, is the gateway for food and other imports into Libya and the country’s only tax-free zone. It is one of the few places still frequented by foreign business people fearing poor security elsewhere.









Afrasianet - A rocket was launched from the northern Gaza Strip early Sunday morning, according to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

The rocket “exploded mid-air,” according to the IDF announcement posted on Twitter.

No one was injured in the alleged attack, the Israeli military said, without immediately providing any further details.

The alleged projectile was reportedly headed to the Ahskelon coastal region in southern Israel, the Times of Israel reported.

No rocket alert signal was activated as the explosion happened “relatively early” in its flight, Israeli media reported citing officials.

The incident comes amid escalating tensions in the region, with Israel beefing up its military presence in the West Bank.

At least three Israelis were killed and one other injured in a stabbing attack by a 20-year-old Palestinian in the West Bank settlement of Halamish Friday night.

Israel upped its security alert level and dispatched thousands of additional troops to the area following the deadly knife assault, local media reported citing an IDF official.

Late Friday, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas, announced that the PA was freezing all contacts with Israel over the Jerusalem holy site dispute and the violence over the past days.

Clashes have been raging for several days following Tel Aviv’s decision to install metal detectors at the Temple Mount (referred to by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif ) in the Old City in Jerusalem. The site is sacred to both Jews and Muslims, with Abbas having called for the removal of unilaterally installed barriers for people to be able to “pray with dignity.”










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