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Lebanon, Israel keen to preserve stability 

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BEIRUT: The chief of the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Stefano Del Col said on Monday that Lebanon and Israel are keen on working with the UNIFIL to guarantee stability along the Blue Line.
“Both sides vowed not to take escalatory measures on the borders,” Del Col was quoted as saying by the National News Agency (NNA).
Del Col’s remarks came during his meeting with Lebanese caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to discuss the latest developments on the southern borders with Israel.
Del Col said he encouraged both sides to respect their commitments to the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 by avoiding all kinds of violations.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces pursued on Monday their activities of fixing wall blocks adjacent to the technical fence facing Al-Mahafer region of Adeisseh outskirts, NNA reported.

 

Crime

IS-claimed suicide attack kills 15 in N. Syria

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QAMISHLI: A suicide attack claimed by the Islamic State group killed 15 people including a US serviceman today in the northern Syrian city of Manbij near the Turkish border.
Nine civilians and five US-backed fighters were among the dead in the attack on a restaurant in the flashpoint city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Rubble littered the outside of the eatery in the city center, footage from a Kurdish news agency showed, and its facade was blackened by the blast.
The Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of sources in Syria, said it was the first such suicide attack in the city against the US-led coalition fighting IS in 10 months. The bombing came as Kurds who control a large swathe of northern Syria rejected a Turkish plan to set up a “security zone” on the Syrian side of the border.

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Politics

Pompeo’s ME tour fails to achieve its goals

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Mike Pompeo arrives in Islamabad

CAIRO: The Middle East tour of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was not successful as it has not fully achieved its goals, experts said.

Pompeo on Monday cut short his Middle East tour over a family funeral. “Secretary Pompeo will return to the United States after his meetings in Muscat, Oman,” State  Department Deputy Spokesman Robert Palladino said in an emailed statement. “This curtailment  of travel is required so that the Pompeo family may attend a family funeral.” The U.S. top diplomat’s tour covered Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq,  Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Qatar.

Palladino said Pompeo will look to visit Kuwait at an agreeable time in the near future. “The main goal of the visit is to establish an Arab alliance… there are other minor goals, of course,” Noha Bakir, professor of political sciences with the American University in Cairo, told  Xinhua. Based on that main objective, the countries of the tour were carefully chosen, she said, adding the most important pillar for building that alliance was to bring Qatar back to the Arab alliance.

While in Qatar, Pompeo called for ending the continuing crisis between Qatar and mainly its  Gulf neighbors. “We are all more powerful when we are working together and disputes are limited. When we have a common challenge, disputes between countries with shared objectives are never helpful,”  Pompeo told reporters in Doha.

“There is no consensus among the Arabs to resolve the Qatari crisis. The priorities of the Arab countries on Iran are also completely different,” Bakir said. Delivering a major speech at the American University in Cairo on Thursday, Pompeo said countries of the Middle East will never enjoy security, achieve economic stability, or advance dreams of their peoples if Iran’s regime persists on its current course.

While Pompeo focused on forming an alliance to defy Iran’s influence, the Egyptian Foreign Minister  Sameh Shoukry focused on combating terrorism in all its forms, she said, stressing that Pompeo did not touch upon the Palestinian cause, which is the main priority for Egypt. She explained that Pompeo’s visit wasn’t successful as aspired by the U.S. side, adding that his tour
was met with Arab dissatisfaction in general.

Meanwhile, professor of political sciences with Cairo University, Tariq Fahmy, said Pompeo’s visit has not brought successful results “because the U.S. side wanted only to focus on the political vacuum in Syria and the Arab  region, as well as Qatari crisis.” “The agendas of Arab countries forced Pompeo to get far from his own agenda during his tour,” Fahmy told  Xinhua. “Pompeo came to market the U.S. administration policies as the power that rescues the Arab  region, while the Arabs delivered a message that they can handle their own problems.”

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Politics

PM assures resolution of Sindh issues

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said that they were fully cognizant of the issues faced by the people of Sindh and assured that the federal government would play its role for the resolution of their problems.

He was talking to Sindh Governor Imran Ismail who called on him here in the PM Office, PM office media wing in a press release said.
The Governor took the Prime Minister into confidence over the political situation in the province and briefed him about the situation arising out after the JIT report.  They also discussed issues faced by the people in the province.

 

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