Tag Archives: Turkey

Kerry urges Abbas to restart peace talks

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Kerry urges Abbas to restart peace talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry has met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as part of a fresh US bid to restart negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

Kerry is on a 10-day tour, which will also take him to Asia, and met Abbas in Ramallah on Sunday after holding talks earlier in the day with Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul.

While in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, Kerry will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other senior Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Abbas told visiting Kerry that the release of prisoners held by Israel was a “top priority” for resuming failed peace talks.

“President Abbas stressed that the release of the prisoners is a priority that creates an appropriate climate for the possibility of moving the peace process forward,” his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said.

Abbas told Kerry that releasing the 4,500 or so prisoners held in Israeli jails, a deeply sensitive issue on the Palestinian street, was a “top priority for creating the right atmosphere for the resumption of negotiations”.

Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnstone in Ramallah reported that the priority for the US was for “both sides to return to talks without any preconditions”.

But, she said, “the Israelis are saying that they want the Palestinians to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, and the Palestinians want Israel to stop its settlement construction”.

Most Palestinians reject the idea of recognising Israel as a “Jewish-only” state because many still demand the right of return for refugees who decades ago were forced from their homes in what is now Israel.

Israel-Turkey relations

During earlier talks with Davutoglu in Istanbul, Kerry urged Turkey and Israel to fully normalise relations, after Israel’s US-brokered apology for a deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza aid flotilla organised by a Turkish charity.

“We would like to see this relationship that is important to stability in Middle East, critical to the peace process itself, we would like to see it back on track in its full,” Kerry said in a joint news conference with Davutoglu.

He said, however, that it was not for the United States “to be setting conditions or terms” for the reconciliation.

Israel apologised to Ankara on March 22 for the deaths of nine Turkish activists in a botched raid by Israeli commandos on a Gaza-bound aid ship, in a breakthrough engineered by US President Barack Obama during a visit to Jerusalem.

The apology ended a nearly three-year rift between Israel and Turkey – two key US allies in the region – and the two countries are due to begin talks on compensation on Friday.

But they have yet to exchange ambassadors and fully restore diplomatic ties.

“It is imperative that the compensation component be fulfilled, that the ambassadors be returned,” Kerry said. “I’m confident there will be goodwill on both sides.”

‘Oases of stability’

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accepted the Israeli apology “in the name of the Turkish people” but said the country’s future relationship with Israel including the return of ambassadors would depend on Israel.

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, reporting from Istanbul, said that Davutoglu had already spoken to Khaled Meshaal, the leader of the Palestinian group Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Mahmoud Abbas.

“We don’t know what they discussed, but its an indication that Turkey is taking some sort of interest in the Middle East peace process,” said Smith.

He added that Kerry “wants Turkey to normalise its relationship with Israel because it sees Israel, Turkey and Jordan as three oases of stability in a very turbulent region.”

The US top diplomat also commended Turkey’s efforts to provide for the tens of thousands of refugees who have entered the country during Syria’s two-year conflict.

He called Turkey “incredibly generous” for keeping its border open and doing “everything possible” to respond to the increasing humanitarian crisis in the neighbouring country.

“The US and Turkey will continue cooperating to reach the shared goal of a peaceful transition in Syria,” he said, repeating the US position that President Bashar al-Assad must leave power.

“Thousands of Syrians have lost their lives,” Davutoglu said. “The international community needs to act on this. The failure to do so would be interpreted by Assad as a weakness.

“The US position is important and so is Turkey’s.

 

Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies

 

Give voice to refugees

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Palestinian refugees: time to return NOW

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrMLboOk6Ek

 

Pictures from Khao I Dang refugee camp, Thailand 1980-82.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeGk5BT-l6g

Warning : viewers must be above 18years old

Memories of the Khoa I Dang Refugee Camp 1986 to 1988

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2vLcGV3n-Y

Cambodia Refugee Camp – Site2 (part1)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYiJ4oLJyDE

Umpium Refugee Camp in fire 23 02 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GxiMZTgtAA

on fire in Umpiem Camp (MCA News)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My-QqPyl9rQ

Dadaab Refugee Camp – Kenya (Africa)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlHWHLG_pds

A song at Nu Po Camp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDFXW_6UAmY

 

Displaced Karen Refugees in Jungle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGJyO0V34qM

23Kachin IDP/Refugee Camps – March-April-2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFhCbFFE3WE

 

Zaatari Refugee Camp Jordan – 31 Oct 2012.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8BJO7vgIxI

 

Angelina Jolie in a refugee camp in Syria (09-13-2012)

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnKqbgl1-mU

 

Angelina Jolie Visits Syrian Refugees in Turkey

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QneALVeUfMQ

Syria: over 5,000 deaths forecast for September

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Syria: over 5,000 deaths forecast for September

The death toll from fighting in Syria’s civil war has escalated sharply, as expectations grow that a foreign military intervention would be necessary to try and contain the bloodshed.

Conflict in Syria where more than 5,000 people were forecast to die this month alone. Photo: AFP

By , and Richard Spencer

7:51PM BST 27 Sep 2012

Activist groups that track death tolls said that more than 5,000 people were forecast to die this month alone, substantially above the 4,000 that died in August. By contrast, the worst month in the Iraq conflict – after the initial invasion – accounted for 3,028 lives, in July 2006.

The United Nations refugee agency meanwhile predicted that up to 700,000 Syrian refugees could flee abroad by the end of the year, nearly quadrupling its previous forecast.

Lord Owen, the former Foreign Secretary who oversaw peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia, warned on Thursday that the scale and nature of conflict would eventually demand a united response from Russia and the West.

“This is a full scale civil war and my experience is that only an enforceable ceasefire will end it,” he said. “Time is not on our side given the ghastliness of the fighting, the number of massacres and horrors of sectarian divisions becoming permanent facts on the ground.”

Free Syrian Army fighter scans for targets from a building in Aleppo, Syria

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, Lord Owen today calls on Nato to use its formal ties with Russia to start talks on enforcing a no-fly zone in joint arangement that would not target the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president escalated the “blame game” with the West, accusing the US and others of sowing chaos in Syria.

“The most important thing is that our partners cannot stop themselves,” he said. “They have already created a situation of chaos in many territories and are now continuing the same policy in other countries – including Syria.”

Michael Clarke, the head of the Royal United Services Institute thank tank, predicted Syria’s neighbours would be sucked into choosing sides in what is likely to be a drawn-out battle.

“As this becomes a fully-fledged sectarian war in the next couple of months the whole fabric of the Levant will be torn apart and what you will have is a Saudi Arabia vs Iranian proxy war involving elements in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan,” he said.

“The West is going to find it harder and harder to resist calls to intervene to contain the problem rather than stop the killing.”

David Cameron condemned the Russian and Chinese government for blocking UN-backed action to stop the conflict in a speech to the UN on Wednesday.

Douglas Alexander MP, the shadow foreign secretary, said: “The sheer scale of the suffering being endured in Syria demands that the

international community renews its efforts to achieve unity and action.”

Arab states have endeavoured to end the conflict but are publicly divided over regional military intervention, with comments at the UN exposing sharp divisions between major Muslim nations.

Mohammad Morsi, Egypt’s new president opposed calls from the Emir of Qatar for a military intervention by Arab League states, while a meeting he had called of the Middle East “quartet” – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran – was cancelled after the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, decided not to travel to New York.

Prince Turki al-Faisal. a former Saudi Arabian ambassador to America, told CNN that “Nato and some combination” of other states would eventually be forced to intervene to quell fighting. “That requires military force,” he said. “For somebody to deny this at this time is, I think, deluding themselves.

Wednesday was the most lethal day of the Syrian civil war yet, according to activist support groups inside and outside the country as the killing reached 343, according to one count.

Scores of bodies were discovered in the southern Damascus suburb of Dhiyabiyah, men of all ages who had apparently been shot in cold blood.

While Syrian opposition groups put the overall death toll in the 18-month war above 30,000, Amnesty International puts the toll at 21,000-plus.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9572101/Syria-over-5000-deaths-forecast-for-September.html

 

U.S., France boost Syria support, less than rebels hoped

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U.S., France boost Syria support, less than rebels hoped

Washington offers additional $45 million in aid

* France to boost contacts with Syrian opposition

By Andrew Quinn and Amena Bakr

NEW YORK, Sept 28 (Reuters) – The United States and France announced increased support for opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday, but there was no sign that the direct military aid the rebels want to create safe havens for civilians is on the way.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a meeting of foreign ministers in New York that the United States would provide an additional $45 million in non-lethal and humanitarian aid to the Syrian opposition.

Of this, $30 million would be for humanitarian assistance and $15 million for non-lethal help, such as radios and training. The new pledges pushed total U.S. humanitarian aid for Syria to more than $130 million, and non-lethal aid to opposition groups to almost $45 million.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the same meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria – an informal group of countries supporting Assad’s ouster – that Paris was increasing its contacts with Syria’s armed rebels.

“The process is complex but the Syrian people have been waiting for 18 months for the opposition to succeed to move forward,” Fabius said. “It is within this perspective that France has increased its contacts with representatives of the armed opposition.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague backed an increase in practical support to Syria’s political opposition, especially to those who needed to provide services in rebel areas.

The 18-month-old uprising against Assad has descended into a civil war. More than 30,000 people have been killed, according to opposition activists, and there are fears the conflict could destabilize the wider Middle East.

But despite Friday’s announcements, foreign assistance to the Syrian rebels has fallen well short of the foreign-protected safe havens the opposition wants and offers little hope of relief to the worsening plight of civilians.

France started channeling aid to rebel-held parts of Syria in August so that these safe havens could administer themselves and help stanch a flow of refugees trying to escape deadly air strikes by Assad’s forces.

However, credible protection for “liberated” areas would require no-fly zones patrolled by foreign aircraft and there appears little chance of this happening.

Such an intervention would require a mandate from the U.N. Security Council – something resolutely opposed by veto-wielding members Russia and China.

The council’s deadlock appears unbreakable at the moment, Western diplomats say.

The deadlock led frustrated Western powers, Turkey and Gulf Arab states to establish the informal Friends of Syria group, but Western powers have said they will not supply weapons to the lightly armed Syrian rebels, who have few answers to attacks by Assad’s combat planes and helicopter gunships.

CLINTON BLAMES IRAN

Clinton blamed Iran for propping up Assad, saying Tehran would do all it could to support him. “Let’s be very frank here – the regime’s most important lifeline is Iran,” she said.

“Last week a senior Iranian official publicly acknowledged that members of the Iranian (Islamic) Revolutionary Guard Corps are operating inside Syria,” Clinton said.

“There is no longer any doubt that Tehran will do whatever it takes to protect its proxy and crony in Damascus. Iran will do everything it can to evade international sanctions.”

She was referring to international steps to force Iran to abandon its nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at producing atomic bombs. Tehran says the program is for generating electricity and other non-military purposes.

The U.N. General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders this week saw sharp clashes between Iran and Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that Israel might take military action to prevent Iran from reaching the point where it has enough enriched uranium for a bomb. On Friday, the United Nations urged all sides to tone down “shrill war talk.”

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby told the Friends of Syria group, which was meeting on the sidelines of General Assembly, that the situation in Syria was becoming “more explosive.”

“We need to start a transitional period,” he said. “A transitional period means a change to another regime.”

The Friends of Syria includes the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Russia and China, which have vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning Assad’s onslaught on the opposition, are not members.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who attended the meeting, later told the U.N. General Assembly it was “the inability of the Security Council to act that still encourages the Syrian regime to kill ever more people.”

“The situation in Syria has evolved into a real threat to regional peace and security,” he said. “The Syrian regime deploys every instrument to turn the legitimate struggle of the Syrian people into a sectarian war, which will engulf the entire region into flames.”

Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani told reporters he was not satisfied with the international response on Syria.

“We have to send a military force to stop the bloodshed, this is request from Qatar’s emir,” he told reporters.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called the blockage at the Security Council “unacceptable,” and added: “It is necessary to unite the opposition.”

Qatar said it would organize a meeting soon to try to unite all strands of the Syrian opposition in an effort to create a provisional government. Earlier this week, Qatar called for Arab nations to “interfere” in Syria.

Fabius said he wanted this government to be recognized by the Friends of Syria at its next meeting in Morocco.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Saad-Eddine Al-Othmani said the meeting would probably be held on Nov. 1, but he did not expect it to reach a plan on how to proceed.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/28/un-assembly-syria-idUSL1E8KSB1R20120928