Rohit Kumar's Views

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian

Independent Palestinian state gains China’s support

leave a comment »

RIYADH (AFP) – China on Wednesday endorsed efforts to create an independent Palestinian state as Saudi Arabia hardened its accusations that Israel is preventing a settlement of the Middle East conflict .


China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi speaks during a joint press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saudi al-Faisal in Riyadh. China on Wednesday endorsed efforts to create an independent Palestinian state as Saudi Arabia hardened its accusations that Israel is preventing a settlement of the Middle East conflict.

“China will continue its support for the Palestinian effort to establish an independent state,” Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said on a visit to Riyadh .

Yang said at a news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal that China supports the principles of a two-state solution under the Saudi-driven Arab Peace Initiative , which calls for an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as its capital.

Saud, meanwhile, stepped up the rhetoric over Israel’s refusal to freeze the construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and begin talks with the Palestinians.

“This is the longest conflict in modern times,” Saud said.

“The reason why this conflict is long is the refusal by Israel of all the attempts to end this conflict. Arab countries have done their job with the Arab Peace Initiative, which gives Israel security, and gives the Arab countries the restoration of their lands.

“But peace should be established by two sides, not just one side. If one side does not want peace, peace will not be achieved,” he said.

The comments came as both the US and Saudis have increased efforts to push the Palestinians and Israelis into final-status peace talks that would result in an independent Palestinian state.

Amid a sharp increase in regional diplomacy, White House National Security Adviser James Jones met Saudi King Abdullah late Tuesday on the first stop of a regional tour that will take him to Israel and the Palestinian territories .

US Middle East special envoy George Mitchell is also expected to visit soon.

The two sides remained at odds over the key issue of Israeli settlements .

The Palestinians and their Arab backers — with Saudi Arabia one of the most important — insist that peace talks cannot resume until Israel freezes the construction of Jewish settlements in the West bank and East Jerusalem.

Israel and the United States say talks should proceed with no preconditions.

Advertisements

Written by rohitkumarsviews

January 18, 2010 at 8:03 am

US kills FBI-wanted terrorist in Pakistan strike

leave a comment »

Associated Press

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – A U.S. missile strike in Pakistan killed one of the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists, a man suspected in a deadly 1986 plane hijacking with a $5 million bounty on his head, three Pakistani intelligence officials said Friday.

The death would be the latest victory for the CIA-led missile campaign against militant targets in Pakistan’s insurgent-riddled tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, a campaign that has recently escalated. One Thursday is believed to have missed Pakistan’s Taliban chief.

The intelligence officials said a Jan. 9 missile strike in the North Waziristan tribal region killed Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim. The FBI’s Web site lists him as a Palestinian with possible Lebanese citizenship. The Pakistani officials called him an al-Qaida member, but the FBI site says he was a member of the Abu Nidal Palestinian terrorist group.

Rahim is wanted for his alleged role in the Sept. 5, 1986, hijacking of Pan American World Airways Flight 73 during a stop in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, according to the FBI site.

The hijackers demanded that 1,500 prisoners in Cyprus and Israel be released and that they be flown out of Pakistan. At one point, the hijackers shot and threw hand grenades at passengers and crew in one part of the plane. Some 20 people, including two Americans, died during the hijacking.

Rahim had been tried and convicted by Pakistan, but he and three suspected accomplices were apparently released in January 2008. All four were added to the FBI list late last year.

The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. The three Pakistani intelligence officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they lacked authority to speak to media on the record. They cited field informants and sources in militant ranks.

But the information is nearly impossible to verify independently because access to Pakistan’s tribal regions is restricted.

North Waziristan is considered a key sanctuary for a range of militant groups, including al-Qaida and factions focused on battling the U.S. in Afghanistan. Pakistan has been resisting mounting U.S. pressure to wage an army offensive in the region.

In the meantime, the U.S. has been pounding it with missiles. A pair of missiles hit a house in the Mishta area of South Waziristan on Friday, the 10th such attack in roughly two weeks in Pakistan’s tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. Two intelligence officials told The Associated Press that the two people killed were suspected militants. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not have the authority to make such disclosures to the press.

Four of the drone-fired missiles landed Friday in the Zarniri area of North Waziristan, killing three people. The area is near where a strike Thursday killed 12 people but is thought to have missed its apparent target, Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud.

A purported audiotape of Mehsud denying his death emerged Friday but contained no specific reference to the missile strike.

The lack of a reference to Thursday’s strike means the tape could have been recorded prior, possibly to keep the Pakistani Taliban united in case Mehsud was incapacitated. Militants have in the past given misleading information about who lived and who died.

“Propaganda is spreading through the media that Hakimullah has been martyred, and propaganda is spreading that the operation in South Waziristan has successfully concluded. It can never happen,” Mehsud said in the Pashto language on the audio recording.

Another Pakistani Taliban militant played the audiotape for the AP reporter in a landline phone call, which the reporter recorded. The reporter recognized the voice as Mehsud’s.

Intelligence officials have said Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud appeared to have escaped the strike, while a local Taliban commander also denied rising speculation Friday that Mehsud was wounded.

“I can confirm that our emir, Hakimullah Mehsud, is alive. He is not wounded. He is leading the fighters in South Waziristan,” said the commander, Omar Khatab, in a walkie-talkie conversation with an Associated Press reporter.

Killing Mehsud would be a major victory for both Washington and Islamabad.

Under the 28-year-old’s watch, militant attacks in Pakistan have soared since October, even as the army has waged an offensive against the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan tribal region. Mehsud also appeared on a recent video with the Jordanian militant who killed seven CIA employees in a December suicide attack in Afghanistan.

Mehsud’s predecessor, fellow tribesman Baitullah Mehsud, died in a missile strike last August in South Waziristan. For nearly three weeks, militants denied his death even as U.S. and Pakistani officials said they were increasingly confident of it.

The Pakistani Taliban appeared in disarray for those initial weeks following Baitullah Mehsud’s death, with several reports emerging of a power struggle between Hakimullah Mehsud and the man who eventually became his deputy, Waliur Rehman.

In public, Pakistani government officials criticize the missile strikes and say the United States is violating their country’s sovereignty. But there is little doubt Islamabad agrees to at least some of the attacks and provides targeting information for them.