Norway urges Israel not to annex parts of the West Bank

Labourers work at a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit in the Israeli-occupied West Bank April 7, 2019. (Reuters)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Norway urges Israel not to annex parts of the West Bank

  • "Any unilateral step would be detrimental to the (peace) process," Norway's FM said

OSLO: Norway, which chairs a group of international donors to the Palestinians, urged Israel on Tuesday not to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
Norway heads the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), which met on Tuesday to discuss Israel’s plan to extend its sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, occupied territory that Palestinians seek for a state.
“Any unilateral step would be detrimental to the (peace) process, and annexation would be in direct violation and contravention of international law,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide told Reuters after the meeting.
Norway helped to broker the 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accords, which provided for interim and limited Palestinian self-rule in the occupied territories, and initiated a now-moribund long-term peace process.
Soereide said she had spoken on Tuesday with her Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, to urge Israel to resume direct talks with the Palestinians and avoid unilateral moves.
“It would undermine the potential for a two-state solution,” she said.
The AHLC meeting also urged donors to fulfil their financial commitments to the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations’ Palestinian aid agency to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus.
West Bank health authorities reported 388 cases of coronavirus with two deaths as of Monday, while in Gaza, 61 cases and one death were registered.
Soereide praised cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians on the issue, as well as between the Palestinians and the United Nations, but cautioned that a lack of testing meant the numbers could be higher.


UAE restructures government, seeking more agility as it deals with coronavirus impact

Updated 05 July 2020

UAE restructures government, seeking more agility as it deals with coronavirus impact

  • The energy and infrastructure ministries were merged under a single portfolio to be headed by the current energy minister, Suhail Al Mazrouei
  • Changes include abolishing half of government service centers and converting them to digital platforms within two years

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates announced a broad government restructuring on Sunday, merging government entities and appointing new economy and industry ministers, and giving it a year to achieve new targets.
The head of Abu Dhabi's national oil company ADNOC, Sultan al-Jaber, was named as industry and advanced technology minister and Abdullah al-Marri was appointed economy minister, as part of the restructuring announced by UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum on his official Twitter account.
The energy and infrastructure ministries were merged under a single portfolio to be headed by the current energy minister, Suhail Al Mazrouei.

The changes are being made to help the country deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Sheikh Mohammed said last month when plans to restructure were first announced.
Changes include abolishing half of government service centers and converting them to digital platforms within two years and merging around half of federal agencies with each other or within ministries.

Sheikh Mohammed, also the ruler of Dubai and vice president of the UAE, said the changes would speed up decision making and make the government more responsive to change.