#AceWorldNews – SAUDI ARABIA(Riyadh)- September 20 – Saudi Arabia’s highest body of religious scholars issued a stern ruling on Wednesday calling terrorism a “heinous crime” and saying perpetrators including Islamic State militants deserve punishment in line with Islamic law.
The Council of Senior Religious Scholars said in its fatwa, or religious edict, that it backs the kingdom’s efforts to track down and punish followers of the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.
The clerics are appointed by the government and are seen as guardians of the kingdom’s ultraconservative Wahhabi school of Islam.
The statement by the group of 21 scholars underpins the kingdom’s broader efforts to deter citizens from joining extremist groups that want to bring down the Western-allied monarchy.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travelled to Saudi Arabia last week and won support from the kingdom and other Arab allies to help fight the Islamic State militants who have seized large parts of Iraq and Syria.
A State Department official told reporters ahead of the visit that Kerry planned to ask Mideast countries to encourage government-controlled media and members of the religious establishment to speak out against extremism.
#AceBreakingNews – GAZA – July 25 – Israel’s security cabinet has rejected a Gaza ceasefire proposal put forward by US Secretary of State John Kerry, officials say.
Mr Kerry has been pushing for a halt to 18 days of fighting between Israel and Islamist group Hamas.
An Israeli official told Reuters that the cabinet wanted changes to the agreement before ending the offensive.
More than 800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 36 Israelis have died since the start of the conflict.
#AceWorldNews – IRAQ (Baghdad) – June 23 – US Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Baghdad on Monday to press Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to form a more inclusive government, Reuters said.
Kerry would “discuss US actions under-way to assist Iraq… and urge Iraqi leaders to move forward as quickly as possible with its government formation process to form a government that represents the interests of Iraqis,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
A Sunni insurgency has swept much of northern and western Iraq.
#AceWorldNews – BANGKOK – May 24 – Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha also met key officials, telling them reform must come before any elections.Gen Prayuth summoned governors, business leaders and civil servants to the Bangkok Army Club on Friday.
Six of Thailand’s most senior military officers have now been appointed to run the country, with provincial commanders supervising local government.
The BBC’s Jonathan Head in Bangkok says that, unlike in previous coups, there have been no promises of a quick return to civilian rule.
Thailand’s military has ordered 35 more people, including prominent academics, to report to them by Saturday afternoon as the post-coup crackdown continues.
The move comes a day after the army ordered more than 100 politicians, including ex-PM Yingluck Shinawatra, to come to the military council.
Ms Yingluck was detained in Bangkok on Friday and spent the night in custody.
Meanwhile, the US has suspended $3.5m (£2.1m) in military aid to Thailand and told the army to restore civilian rule.
Washington also urged tourists to cancel trips and halted non-essential visits by US government officials, following Thursday’s coup.
Officials said Ms Yingluck would not be held for more than a week but insisted that her detention was necessary while matters in the country were organised.
Ms Yingluck, who had been PM until being removed by the judiciary this month, was ordered to report to the military along with more than 100 other politicians, including acting PM Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan.
“If the situation is peaceful, we are ready to return power to the people,” he added.The United States led widespread international criticism of the coup, with Secretary of State John Kerry saying there was “no justification”.
But an official said the US would continue joint exercises currently taking place with the Thai military.
#AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON – May 23 – US Secretary of State John Kerry agreed to testify before the House Oversight committee on the Benghazi attack, said the State Department as cited by AP.
The State Department sent a letter to Chairman Darrell Issa (EYE’-suh) of California, saying that Kerry’s diplomatic responsibilities will prevent him from appearing before the committee on Thursday, the date set for the subpoena.
However, the government authority offered alternative dates of June 12 or June 20.
If Kerry appears before the House Oversight panel, then there will be no need for him to testify before a newly-formed special select committee investigating the attack, the department added.
As the result of the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Lybia, in 2012, US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
Fox News – USA Today – AP – AFP
#AceWorldNews – HAIFA – May 02 -Israelis have desecrated the tomb of a Palestinian by launching a “price tag” attack against it near the coastal city of Haifa.
The Israelis vandalized the grave at the Izzedine al-Qassam cemetery in Nesher, Israeli police said on Friday.
“Graffiti was found sprawled on and around a grave in the al-Qassam cemetery in Nesher,” north of Haifa, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.
The attackers spray-painted the words “price tag”, as well as the names of US Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is the senior peace negotiator with the Palestinian Authority (PA), said the spokeswoman.
The United Nations has recorded “399 attacks” of this kind by Israel’s illegal settlers, which have “resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage.”
AceWorldNews – JUBA – May 02 – South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has agreed to fly to Ethiopia for talks and to consider forming a transitional government to try and end four months of fighting in the world’s newest nation, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday.
Kerry, who met the president in South Sudan’s capital Juba, said he hoped Kiir would be able to hold a face-to-face meeting with rebel leader Riek Machar as early as next week to settle a conflict which has already killed thousands.
The top U.S. diplomat did not spell out what form a transitional government might take, or go into any details of what it might mean for Kiir’s continued leadership of the oil-producing country.
Kerry’s meeting came a day after he warned that the increasingly ethnic violence could descend into genocide and said he expected the rapid deployment of more peacekeepers.
On Friday, he said Kiir had committed in their meeting to “to take forceful steps in order to begin to move to end the violence and implement the cessation of hostilities agreement and to begin to engage on a discussion with respect to a transition government.”
Delegations from both sides have been meeting in neighbour Ethiopia but their discussions have failed to advance since the Jan. 23 signing of a ceasefire that never took hold.
“I just spoke a couple of minutes ago to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia to convey to him President’s Kiir’s willingness to (travel to) Addis Ababa, sometime early next week, hopefully in order to engage in a discussion … with Machar,” Kerry told reporters.
Reuters – AP – AFP – Fox News
AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON – April 30 – NATO must return to its original goal of fending off Russia, seizing the chance presented by the Ukrainian crisis to sever Europe from Moscow and move it closer to America, the US secretary of state said.
Or else the bloc’s global leadership may be lost.
John Kerry delivered the confrontational call in a speech to the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, DC. He said the stand-off in Ukraine had resulted from a “uniquely personally-driven set of choices” and is “a wake-up call” for NATO.
He added that now the military bloc must turn the page on two decades of focusing on expeditionary operations and take a stand against “Putin’s Russia.”
“After two decades of focusing primarily on our expeditionary missions, the crisis in Ukraine now call us back to the work that this alliance was originally created to perform,” Kerry told the audience.
USA Today – Fox News – WP
#AceWorldNews – NEW YORK – April 29 – The US may impose sanctions on whole sectors of Russian economy, if Russia continues the same policy towards Ukraine. US Secretary of State John Kerry said this in an interview to The Wall Street Journal on Monday.
When asked why the American government continues punishing individual Russians or single Russian companies and does not impose broader sanctions on whole sectors of the Russian economy — the energy, financial or defence sectors — Kerry answered: “We’re inches away from that now. And if they continue on this path, that’s where it’s heading.”
Regarding the developments in Ukraine, the USA has imposed further sanctions against seven Russian officials and 17 companies. In particular, the case in hand is freezing assets, which may be under Washington’s jurisdiction, as well as ban on American visas.
According to John Kerry, the already imposed sanctions have a certain economic and political effect. The Wall Street Journal notes that the best argument is the fact that Russia has not sent its troops to Ukraine’s east.
WSJ – TASS – Russian News – Agencies
#AceWorldNews – ISRAEL April 29 – (ALJ) – The Israeli government on Thursday suspended Middle East talks and threatened to impose new sanctions against the Palestinians in response to a unity agreement between rival Palestinian factions, pushing an embattled U.S. peace initiative to the brink of collapse.
Israel’s Security Cabinet made the decision during a six-hour emergency meeting convened to discuss the Palestinian deal, which was announced Wednesday by Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah as part of a reconciliation plan meant to end their seven-year rift. The deal envisions a unity government within five weeks and elections six months later.
Israel objects to any form of participation in Palestinian politics by Hamas. The Islamist group is currently in charge of the besieged Gaza Strip, which is territorially separate from the West Bank, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas exercises limited self-governance under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority. Hamas is designated as a “terrorist” organization by the United States and European Union for numerous fatal attacks against Israelis over the years.
Thursday’s decision was the latest — and perhaps final — blow to the negotiation process led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for the past nine months.
Speaking at the State Department on Thursday, Kerry acknowledged the roadblock in talks but said he remained resolute on continuing negotiations.
In a statement issued by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, the government said it would not hold negotiations with a government that “leans on Hamas.”
“Instead of choosing peace, Abu Mazen made a pact with a murderous terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel,” it said, using Mahmoud Abbas’ nickname. “The alliance between Abu Mazen and Hamas was signed while Israel was making efforts to promote negotiations with the Palestinians … He who chooses Hamas’ terror does not want peace.”
The statement also said Israel will respond to Abbas’ recent decision to join 15 international conventions “with a series of steps,” language that typically refers to financial sanctions against the Palestinians.
Israel has already halted transferring tax and customs money it collects on the Palestinians’ behalf, worth some $100 million a month. Those funds help keep Abbas’ self-rule government afloat.
Ace Related News – Link Fox News – http://video.foxnews.com/v/3507001968001/israel-suspends-talks-with-palestinians/
Reuters – Al-Jazeera – Fox News
#AceNewsServices – MOSCOW – April 22 – The Russian Justice Ministry will make efforts towards the transfer of pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who has been sentenced to a long prison term in the United States, to Russia if he makes such a request.
The ministry earlier initiated steps towards Yaroshenko’s transfer to Russia so that he could serve his sentence at home, following his relatives’ request. However, the U.S. authorities refused to cooperate.
According to the Justice Ministry’s letter of January 29, 2014, Yaroshenko “has the right to resubmit an appeal to the competent U.S. bodies requesting his transfer to Russia in two years after the refusal”. However, if he thinks that there have been significant changes in the conditions that influenced his decision, he may submit his appeal again before the end of the two-year period.
“The Ministry of Justice of Russia is ready to consider the issue of Yaroshenko’s transfer to Russia if it receives such a request from him or his representative or relatives,” the ministry said.
Yaroshenko told the Russian television channel LifeNews on Monday, April 21, that he would like to see stronger support from the Russian Justice Ministry and the Prosecutor General’s Office. “I have sent many appeals to them but for some reason they have not been heard,” he said.
“The Justice Ministry has received many appeals from Yaroshenko and his relatives and answered them within the time stipulated by law,” the ministry said.
Yaroshenko’s mother, Lyubov Yaroshenko, told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday, April 22, that she had “received the Interior Ministry’s assurances that despite the deteriorated relations with the United States over Ukraine, my son will not be left in trouble ”.
She met with the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov, on April 21, who assured her that the Russian ministry was taking all possible steps to get her son’s verdict revised.
Next Monday, April 28, an appeal will be filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, requesting that new proceedings be started following the acquisition of convincing evidence of Yaroshenko’s innocence provided by international drug dealer Chigbo Umeh, who was sentenced to 30 years in U.S. prison in the same case.
In early April, U.S. Minister-Counsellor Howard Solomon was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to hear a protest over the Yaroshenko situation. Dolgov, who presented the protest, stressed that “the conditions in the prison where our fellow citizen is held remain a matter of serious concern to us”.
“We have received Yaroshenko’s letter addressed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which indicates that the Russian citizen is not getting proper medical care in connection with the serious ailments he had acquired as a result of tortures during the arrest in Liberia and the treatment in American penitentiary institutions which does not correspond to international standards,” the protest said.
Yaroshenko’s situation has been exacerbated by psychological pressure from the prison administration and U.S. Justice Department officials and by delays in providing Russia with copies of the documents on the results of his medical examination. They also denied him a visit by qualified Russian doctors.
Yaroshenko’s condition remains precarious, but the U.S. authorities continue to deny him medical care, Dolgov said.
“There has been no improvement and we have not yet seen the results of his examination. The U.S authorities say that this is a paid service even though the Russian citizen’ lawyer has acquired all the necessary permits,” he said.
Dolgov said Yaroshenko had been denied surgery despite American doctors’ recommendations. “The prison administration denies it and does not let Russian doctors in. The unenforceable conditions they have come up with remain,” the diplomat said.
“The situation is extremely bad. We have raised this issue with the American authorities and highlighted it,” Dolgov said, adding that he would continue monitoring the situation.
The American authorities’ treatment of Yaroshenko can only be regarded as “disrespectful and inhuman”, Dolgov said.
“It was only under the strong pressure from Russia that the prison administration authorised in February the medical examination of our compatriot by their staff doctors but categorically refused to allow qualified medics from Moscow to examine him and hold a joint council in order to prescribe the necessary course of treatment,” Dolgov said.
“In reply to our request to give us the results of the examination and the patient record, we heard excuses that this could not be done without Yaroshenko’s written consent, which they did not have.
When it turned out that he had signed such consent, the Consulate General of Russia in New York was told that it would take three weeks to consider the request but no guarantee and that the ‘service’ itself was provided for a fee,” Dolgov said.
“Now, as we have learnt from his lawyer, the prison authorities have denied Yaroshenko the surgery recommended to him by the American doctors,” he added.
Yaroshenko recently had a severe bout of an infection and viral disease, during which he felt a sharp pain in the heart, which has been recurring over and over again since then. His requests for medical help were ignored by the prison administration.
The Russian Foreign Ministry urged the American authorities to “stop the lawlessness against Yaroshenko” and expressed hope that “as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has repeatedly promised to the foreign minister of Russia, necessary measures will be taken after all to rectify the situation”.
“We will continue to use all available political, diplomatic and legal methods, including the Convention of the Council of Europe of 1983 on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, in order to ensure the return home of the Russian citizen who has fallen victim to an act of outrage,” the ministry said.
In September 2011, a U.S court sentenced Yaroshenko to 20 years in prison for having been allegedly involved in a criminal ring organised for smuggling a large shipment of cocaine.
He was detained by the U.S. authorities in Liberia and then taken to the United States. Moscow believes that these charges are doubtful.
Russian and US News and Media Reports.
#AceWorldNews – UKRAINE – April 18 – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have held a phone conversation and agreed to continue talks on the settlement of the Ukraine crisis.
The diplomats discussed possibilities for international assistance in the normalization of the situation in the country following yesterday’s four-party talks in Geneva, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Ukrainian authorities must implement the Geneva deal immediately and in full, including putting an end to violent actions and the launching of a national dialogue on constitutional reform, which is to include key regions and major political forces.
#AceNewsServices – UNITED STATES – A letter urging the Jews of Donetsk to get registered, which the US Secretary of State cited in Geneva, is a fake says a man whose signature appears on the communication.
Following the four-side meeting on the Ukrainian crisis in Geneva on Wednesday, John Kerry lashed out at a letter that was allegedly sent to Jewish citizens in Ukraine’s eastern town of Donetsk, asking them to register and report all their property, or be stripped of citizenship and face expulsion.
“In year 2014, after all of the miles travelled in all the journey of history, this is not just intolerable, it’s grotesque… beyond unacceptable,” he stated.
Images of the letter have been circulating on-line.
This is the document that John Kerry has just referred to – calling on Jews in Donetsk to register. pic.twitter.com/6s5rnftKJ0
— Kevin Bishop (@bishopk) April 17, 2014
The letter was stamped and signed by Denis Pushilin, who was identified on it as the “People’s Governor.”
However, Pushilin denied he had anything to do with the letter, claiming it was a fake.
#AceWorldNews – GENEVA – April 16 – PRESS RELEASE – The Geneva statement adopted at a four-party meeting on Ukraine on Thursday, April 17, calls for a national dialogue in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after the talks.
“It calls for an immediate commencement of a broad national dialogue which must be inclusive, transparent and accountable,” he said.
Lavrov stressed that measures to disarm illegal armed groups and free seized buildings would apply to all regions of Ukraine without exception.
“The measures we have stated concern all regions of Ukraine without exception and all problematic questions without exception,” he said.
He said that decisions on Ukraine must be acceptable for all Ukrainians. “Decisions must be mutually acceptable for all Ukrainians as this is a guarantee of stability of the Ukrainian state with due regard for the linguistic peculiarities of different regions of the country,” he said.
The minister said Russia would support the work of the OSCE Monitoring Mission in Ukraine in order to foster dialogue between all sides involved in the conflict.
“We urge the special monitoring mission of the OSCE to play a leading role, in accordance with its mandate, in assisting Ukrainians and the Kiev authorities in carrying out measures to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine. We will support the work of this mission to foster dialogue between the sides in order to unblock the situation step by step,” Lavrov said.
“We have agreed to meet in different formats,” he added.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State John Kerry, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and the parliament-appointed Ukrainian acting Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia took part in the meeting.
#AceBreakingNews – MOSCOW, April 11 – In his telephone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on the United States to use its influence on the Kiev authorities to make them refrain from the use of force and push towards a dialogue with representatives from Ukrainian regions.
#AceWorldNews – RAMALLAH – April 02 – The Palestinian Authority has formally submitted its application to join 15 international agencies, as part of a unilateral diplomatic “offensive” that is threatening to derail peace talks with Israel.
PA-based Maan News Agency published a full list of the 15 agencies. The list includes several United Nations bodies – contrary to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim last night that the PA had not technically broken its commitments since none of the agencies were UN bodies.
The 15 agencies are:
- The Four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the First Additional Protocol
- The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
- The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
- The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in armed conflict
- The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
- The Hague Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations Concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land
- The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
- The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
- The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- The United Nations Convention against Corruption
- The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
- The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid
- The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
#AceWorldNews – RAMALLAH – April 01 – (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed more than a dozen international conventions on Tuesday citing anger at Israel’s delay of a prisoner release, in a move jeopardized United States, efforts to salvage fragile peace talks.
His unexpected decision came just a day before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had been due to travel to Ramallah for talks aimed at finalizing a complex, three-way deal that would enable the talks to continue into 2015.
However, a U.S. official said that trip would not now go ahead.
#AceWorldNews – JERUSALEM – April 01 – United States Secretary of State John Kerry met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the second time in less than 12 hours on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
The meeting was staged as the US tries to salvage stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Kerry altered his travel schedule on Monday for a flying visit to Jerusalem, but there was no word of any breakthrough. The US Secretary of State might return to the region once more late Wednesday to see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a Palestinian official said.
#AceWorldNews – PARIS – March 31 – Russia and the United States have agreed to look for points of contact for a settlement of the crisis situation in Ukraine.Such a statement has been made in Paris on Monday by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the close of talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry.
“We have held intensive talks, primarily on the crisis in Ukraine,” Lavrov said.
“We expressed differing points of view on its causes but agreed to look for points of contact in efforts towards a settlement of the situation in Ukraine”.
Both sides, the Minister went on to say, made their proposals on how to achieve a de-escalation of the situation.
“We agreed to work with the Ukrainian government, with the Ukrainian people in a broad sense (of the worked) in order to press for such priority measures as ensuring the rights of national minorities, language rights, the disarming of provocaters, the effectuation of a constitutional reform, and the holding of free and honest elections under an unbiased international supervision,” Sergei Lavrov said.
TASS – VoR – Russian News –