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Bahrain rejects US push to normalise relations with Israel | UAE News

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Bahrain’s king has told visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the Gulf state is committed to the creation of a Palestinian state, according to state media, in an implicit rejection of Washington’s push for Arab countries to swiftly normalise ties with Israel.    

The top US diplomat was in Manama on Wednesday as part of a Middle East tour aimed at forging more links between Israel and the Arab world on the back of a US-brokered deal with the United Arab Emirates earlier this month. 

The agreement – which makes the UAE the third Arab country to agree to establish relations with Israel after Egypt and Jordan – was slammed by the Palestinians.

Before Bahrain, Pompeo was in Sudan where Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Tuesday his transitional government has “no mandate” to take the step of establishing relations with Israel.

And on Wednesday, Bahrain echoed the sentiments of its ally and regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia that accord with Israel would not materialise without the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. 

According to the official Bahrain News Agency, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa told Pompeo his country remains committed to the Arab Peace Initiative – which calls for Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Palestinian territories occupied after 1967, in exchange for peace and the full normalisation of relations.

“The king stressed the importance of intensifying efforts to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict according to the two-state solution … to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the agency reported.

Pompeo said in a Twitter post that he discussed with Bahrain’s royal rulers only the “importance of building regional peace and stability” and “countering Iran’s malign influence”.

Manama, whose contacts with Israel date back to the 1990s, was the first Gulf country to welcome the UAE rapprochement and was considered by some observers a frontrunner to follow in its footsteps.    

Like most Gulf countries, Bahrain shares with Israel a common enemy in Iran, which Manama accuses of instigating protests by the nation’s Shia Muslim community against the ruling Sunni Al Khalifa dynasty. 

But the UAE’s controversial step has been met with criticism from some parts of the Arab world, with the Palestinian leadership condemning it as a “stab in the back” – and even US allies in the region have been cautious in their response.           

Pompeo in the UAE

Saudi Arabia, while not condemning the UAE-Israel deal, has refused to normalise ties until Israel signs an internationally recognised peace accord with the Palestinians.    

Other Gulf states including Oman, Qatar and Kuwait also face barriers to warming ties with Israel, said Cinzia Bianco, a research fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.    

She said in these countries “popular opposition towards normalisation is still quite high”, despite colder sentiment towards the Palestinian cause among some quarters of the youth, especially in Saudi Arabia.

After Bahrain, Pompeo headed to the UAE, the last stop of his tour.

Met UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan to congratulate them on the Abraham Accords and discuss building regional peace and stability, including supporting a ceasefire in Libya and Gulf unity,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, he spoke by phone with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is seen as the driving force behind the agreement with Israel, which still awaits negotiations on a number of details before it is officially signed.

The two discussed the deal “and the prospects for strengthening it in a way that serves the foundations of peace and stability in the region”, the official Emirati news agency WAM said.    

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied reports that the UAE deal hinges on the sale of US F-35 stealth fighter jets to the Emirates, saying he opposes a move that could reduce Israel’s strategic edge in the region.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge

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Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

STATEMENT
Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.

ChangeYouCanTrust

CountryBeforeSelf

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Is Johnson Byabashaija courting Enid Kukunda for protection?

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The very amiable Commissioner General of Prisons Canon Johnson Byabashaija was recently sighted with President Y K Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s second wife Enid Kukunda as the two had a very secretive meeting in one of the city hangouts.

According to our informers, the two seem to be in a deep conversation that they wouldn’t allow a housefly pass around. However, sources further reveal that Byabashaija could have courted the second lady for protection given that he has amassed a lot of wealth and could be a subject of investigations.

Our sources reveal that Byabashaija who carries himself as Mr.I know it all hasn’t met Madam Enid alone but a host of others with connections to the centre of power in the country.

We will bring you more detail

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Bobi Wine released on Bail

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Presidential candidate and kyadondo East legislator Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu has been realeased on bail by the Iganga magistrates court where he appeared to defend himself against accusations of flouting COVID-19 campaign SOPs. A defiant Kyagulanyi took the opportunity to blast the incumbent Yoweri Museveni, whom he accuses of using state power to quell dissident.

This follows a tense week that has seen thousands injured and several dead following Hon. Kyagulanyi’s arrest earlier this week. Demonstrations and riots erupted in many parts of the country and heavy police and army deployment was seen all over the country.

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