Palestinian FM urges sanctions on Israel if it starts ‘to annex’ parts of occupied West Bank

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10-06-19 06:50:00,

The Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki on Monday called for sanctions on Israel if it starts to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, AFP reported.

The minister was talking to reporters in Poland after a US envoy’s comments that Israel had the right to annex at least some of the territory captured in 1967.

US ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in a New York Times interview published on Saturday: “Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”

“Friedman with his statement is trying to help [Israeli PM Benjamin] Netanyahu to have the courage to take such a decision” to annex, said Maliki. The minister added that international sanctions should be imposed if Israel resorts to annexation.

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US Urges ‘Calm’ While Stoking India-Pakistan Conflict

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01-03-19 11:22:00,

US Urges ‘Calm’ While Stoking India-Pakistan Conflict

International powers this week anxiously urged India and Pakistan to avoid further escalation of military confrontation. Given the two nations have gone to war on three occasions during the past seven decades and are both nuclear armed, the international concern is palpable.

The US has lately joined calls by Russia, China and Europe appealing for restraint, and for the Indian and Pakistani leaderships to negotiate a resolution to avert a catastrophic slide towards conflict.

American President Donald Trump, while in Vietnamese capital Hanoi for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, claimed that the US was mediating to defuse the crisis between India and Pakistan.

“We’ve been in the middle trying to help them both out,” said Trump.

Incongruously, however, the Trump administration has in fact acted in an opposite fashion, to inflame the recent tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have both issued statements which “support India’s right to self-defense against terrorism”. The US officials have also laid the blame on Pakistan for sponsoring acts of terrorism by militant groups in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The northern territory of Kashmir has been the cause of bitter dispute between India and Pakistan ever since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.

The massacre of over 40 Indian troops earlier this month on February 14 in the Indian-side of Kashmir has sparked outrage among the wider Indian population demanding revenge. The suicide bomb attack was claimed by Kashmiri militant group Jaish e-Mohammed (JeM). India claimed that Pakistan had a hand in the atrocity through its support for JeM, which the Pakistani authorities denied.

The mounting of air strikes by India this week deep inside Pakistani territory on a militant training camp – purportedly in retaliation for the Kashmir massacre of its troops – represented a dramatic escalation. If India had limited its strikes to Pakistani-controlled Kashmir the retaliation could perhaps have been argued as being proportionate. But the violation of Pakistani territory – some 50 kms west of the historical Line of Control – was arguably an act of war. The last time Indian warplanes struck inside Pakistan was in 1971 during the two countries’ third and last war.

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Pence Urges Global Freeze On Venezuelan Oil; Vows Return Of “Every Last Dollar” To Opposition

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26-02-19 06:34:00,

As expected the Lima Group summit hosted in Bogota, Colombia on Monday became a collective Venezuelan regime change strategy session following the weekend showdown over US humanitarian aid entering the country, which led to riots on bridges at border points Saturday. 

Previously promising to announce at the meeting of the over 12 American states  most of which have recognized US-backed Juan Guaido as “legitimate” leader of Venezuela “concrete steps” and “clear actions”, Vice President Mike Pence underscored that President Trump stands behind Guaido “100 percent” after a face-to-face session with the opposition leader, the first since unrest began. Predictably Pence unveiled new sanctions targeting Caracas while calling on allies to freeze all assets of its state-owned oil company PDVSA, and further called for the United Nations Security Council to act. 

Handout photo from Monday’s Lima Group meeting: Colombian President Ivan Duque (C), US Vice President Mike Pence (R) and Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared acting president Juan Guaido, via the AFP.

“We hope for a peaceful transition to democracy. But President Trump has made it clear: all options are on the table,” said Pence at the summit. He indicated the pressure campaign would continue ramping up, especially while calling for all Lima Group nations to immediately freeze PDVSA’s assets.

“In the days ahead… the United States will announce even stronger sanctions on the regime’s corrupt financial networks,” Pence said, according to the AFP.

“We will work with all of you to find every last dollar that they stole and work to return it to Venezuela.” The US is seeking to put all Venezuelan assets under the control of Guaido’s government-in-waiting. 

“In the Lima Group the consensus is that Maduro must be removed, but there is no consensus on how to do that,” political scientist Laura Gil told AFP.

Despite the many defections, Maduro seems to have won this round in the power struggle.

After Saturday’s events it is “not very clear” that Guaido has “massive” support in Venezuela, analyst Rafael Pineros told AFP. AFP Report

In public statements Guaido, for his part, warned Lima group nations that “indulging” Maduro “would be a threat to all of America,”

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