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Archive for Middle East

Newsline: Trump feeling pressure for embassy move to Jerusalem

While the president reiterated his desire to broker a peace deal, his visit produced no announcement on steps toward renewing negotiations. “There were very substantive discussions in Israel with both Netanyahu as well as Abbas”, Tillerson told reporters aboard Air Force One. Meanwhile, Trump’s Middle East trip showed his intention to reset Obama administration’s Middle East policy by beefing up support to Saudi Arabia and Israel, regional nemesis of Iran. And in words that resonated well in Israel – which chronically accuses the West Bank Authority for inciting violence and compensating families of those involved in terror attacks – Trump made perhaps his sharpest point of the trip. Not once since becoming president, including and most glaringly during his joint press conferences with Netanyahu and Abbas during their White House visits, has Trump uttered any variant of the phrase “two-state solution”, leading to questions about his vision for what a deal would look like. Such a pact would also enable Israel to place its defensive capabilities at the disposal of states in the region with which it will be at peace. Hamas has said that Trump’s labeling it as a terrorist organization demonstrates the American president can not be a fair broker for peace.

http://pppfocus.com/2017/05/28/trump-feeling-pressure-for-embassy-move-to-jerusalem/

Newsline: Turkey Summons US Ambassador Over Embassy Brawl

Turkey summoned the U.S. ambassador to Ankara on Monday to lodge a formal complaint with the U.S. for how it handled a brawl outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., last week. Protesters who were demonstrating against the visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were beaten by members of his security detail, though it’s still unclear how the fight started. Nearly a dozen people were injured, and the incident has threatened an already tense diplomatic relationship. Turkey’s complaint comes days after the U.S. summoned the country’s ambassador to Washington, and after several prominent U.S. lawmakers, including Arizona Senator John McCain, called on the U.S. to kick out the Turkish envoy. “We should throw the Turkish ambassador out of the country, we should identify those people that performed these unlawful acts of beating people up and they should be charged,” McCain said. Summoning the U.S. ambassador John Bass is a way for Turkey to lodge a formal complaint, but it also threatens to make an already-tense situation worse. A statement from the Turkish embassy in Washington called for a full investigation into the violence.

https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2017/05/turkey-summons-us-ambassador/527637/

Newsline: France says not planning to reopen embassy in Syria

France’s foreign ministry said on Monday that the reopening of its embassy in Syria was not on the table, signaling there may be no fundamental change to Paris’ approach to the Syrian conflict under new president Emmanuel Macron. Citing a political source close to Macron, pan-Arab daily newspaper al-Hayat had reported on Monday that Macron was reviewing France’s decision to close the embassy in 2012. “The reopening of our embassy in Damascus is not on the agenda,” Foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said in a daily briefing. Officials at the president’s office did not immediately respond for comment, although Macron ruled out reopening the embassy during a campaign trip to Beirut in January. Some European Union countries which withdrew their ambassadors from Syria as the conflict worsened in the country have indicated a willingness for more communication with Damascus given the ongoing fight against Islamic State militants even though France and Britain have staunchly opposed it. With the arrival of Macron, Paris’ policy on Syria has yet to be clearly defined.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-syria-idUSKBN18I1F2

Newsline: Calls to get Turkish ambassador ‘the hell out’ the US

Sen. John McCain said the US should toss the Turkish ambassador “the hell out” after a demonstration outside the envoy’s home in Washington turned violent and several protesters were beaten bloody. “We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America,” the Arizona Republican told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday. “This is the United States of America. This isn’t Turkey. This isn’t a third-world country. And this kind of thing cannot go unresponded to diplomatically.” The clash between the peaceful protesters and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s armed security guards took place after he appeared at the White House for his fist face-to-face meeting with President Trump. He said there should be repercussions against Turkey for allowing such a violent put-down of a peaceful demonstration and called for the attackers to be identified and criminally charged. The Turkish Embassy, in a statement on Wednesday, described the protest as “unpermitted” and “provocative.” Police in Washington broke up the melee, arrested two men and are pursuing charges against several others they are trying to identify with the help of the State Department and the Secret Service.

http://nypost.com/2017/05/18/mccain-turkish-ambassador-should-get-the-hell-out/

Newsline: Protest turns violent outside Turkish embassy in Washington

At least nine people were reported injured after fighting broke out in front of the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C. between supporters of the Turkish president and and a group of Armenian and Kurdish protesters. Shortly after a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House protestors and Erdogan’s guards clashed outside the residency of the Turkish ambassador. The fighting erupted between Erdogan supporters and Armenian demonstrators according to The Associated Press. Some Kurdish activists also reported that there were also Kurds among the protesters.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/world/17052017

Newsline: Israel dismisses US concern over Jerusalem embassy move

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has challenged US concerns over moving the American embassy to Jerusalem and said a move will help the peace process progress. During his election campaign, US President Donald Trump promised to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, whose status is one of the thorniest issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sunday’s statement from Netanyahu’s office came after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump is still assessing the impact of the potential move. “The transfer of the American Embassy to Jerusalem not only will not harm the peace process, but the opposite,” Netanyahu said in the statement. “It will advance it by correcting a historic injustice and by smashing the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.” The Palestinians and the Arab world fiercely oppose a move, and the international community has warned that it could spark fresh unrest. Palestinians argued moving the embassy would prejudge one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict, undermining America’s status as an effective mediator.

http://www.news24.com/World/News/israel-dismisses-us-concern-over-jerusalem-embassy-move-20170514

Newsline: US top diplomat says Trump weighs embassy move impact on Mideast peace

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says President Donald Trump is considering how moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would affect the Mideast peace process. Tillerson is giving the most detailed description yet of Trump’s criteria for making the decision. He tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump is listening carefully to both Israelis and Palestinians about whether moving the embassy would be helpful for peace talks or a distraction. As a candidate, Trump vowed to move the embassy. But since taking office he’s said he’s studying the issue before making a final decision. Israel considers Jerusalem its capital and has urged the U.S. for years to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem for the capital of a future independent state.

http://www.wbrz.com/news/tillerson-trump-weighs-embassy-move-impact-on-mideast-peace/