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Sunday, February 12, 2017
Excerpts: Aoun proposes ‘Arab Rescue Initiave’to Sisi Hamas elects military hardliner Gaza chief.UN 1701 banned arms outside State control February 13, 2017

Excerpts: Aoun proposes ‘Arab Rescue Initiave’to Sisi Hamas elects military
hardliner Gaza chief.UN 1701 banned arms outside State control February 13,

+++SOURCE: Naharnet(Lebanon) 13 Feb.’17:”Aoun Meets Sisi,Says Egypt Can
Launch ‘ArabRescue Initiative’against Terrorism”,by AFP, AP, Naharnet
SUBJECT: Aoun proposes ‘Arab Rescue Initiave’to Sisi
FULL TEXT:President Michel Aoun on Monday[13 Feb] started his first visit to
Cairo since his election in October and held talks with his Egyptian
counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

"Hopes of the role that Egypt could play are high. An Egypt of moderation
and openness... could launch an Arab rescue initiative based on a strategy
to fight terrorism," Aoun said at a joint press conference.

He said Egypt could "work on finding political solutions for the crises in
the Arab world and especially Syria."

The two sides "agreed on the need to stand together against the dangers of
terrorism," Sisi said, adding that Egypt was ready "to support the
capabilities of Lebanon's army and its various security bodies."

Aoun, who invited al-Sisi to visit Lebanon, met later in the day with the
leader of Egypt's Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, and also held talks with
Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb of al-Azhar, the highest institution of Sunni

On Tuesday[14Feb], the president is scheduled to meet Ahmed Aboul Gheit,
secretary general of the Cairo-based Arab League.

Aoun's last visit to Egypt was as a military officer, 55 years ago. He was
elected president in October after a 29-month vacuum in the country's top

On Tuesday[14 Feb], Aoun will visit Jordan at the invitation of Jordanian
King Abdullah II.

The president is accompanied by a delegation comprised of Finance Minister
Ali Hassan Khalil, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, Interior Minister Nouhad
al-Mashnouq, Economy Minister Raed Khoury, State Minister for Presidency
Affairs Pierre Raffoul, and General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim.

Aoun had visited Saudi Arabia last month on a mission to patch up relations
with Riyadh. He also visited Qatar.

A Lebanese official source said at the time that Saudi Arabia and Lebanon
had agreed to hold talks on restoring a $3-billion military aid package that
Riyadh froze last year.

Mainly Sunni Saudi Arabia, a fierce regional rival of Iran, froze the aid
deal over what it said was Hizbullah's dominance in Lebanon.

SourceAgence France PresseAssociated PressNaharnet


+++SOURCE:Naharnet(Lebanon)13 Feb.’17:”Hamas Military Hardliner Elected
Group’s Gaza Chief”,by Agence France Presse
SUBJECT:Hamas elects military hardliner Gaza chief

by Naharnet Newsdesk February 13, 2017

Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas elected a hardline member of its armed
wing as its new Gaza head on Monday[13 Feb], Hamas officials said.

"Yahya Sinwar was elected to head the Hamas political office in the Gaza
Strip," the officials said.

He will succeed Ismail Haniya, who is seen by many observers as the most
likely successor to Hamas's current exiled leader Khaled Meshaal.

In September 2015, Sinwar was added to the U.S. terrorism blacklist
alongside two other members of Hamas's military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam

A graduate in Arabic, he was born in the Khan Younis refugee camp in
southern Gaza and founded "Majd," one of Hamas's intelligence services.

Arrested by Israel in 1988 for "terrorist activity," Sinwar was sentenced to
four life sentences.

He was released in October 2011 under an agreement to exchange more than
1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli
soldier captured five years earlier.

Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip for a decade, has been conducting
internal elections for several months.

The process is shrouded in mystery and it is unclear when the other
appointments will be announced.

After his release from jail, Sinwar initially made a number of public

Later, however, he disappeared from public view and was presented in Hamas
media as the commander of al-Qassam's elite units.

Influential and close to many Hamas military leaders, Sinwar represents for
some observers the hardest line within the Islamist movement.

Washington accuses him of continuing to advocate kidnapping of Israeli
soldiers as a bargaining chip for Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas currently claims to have four Israelis in captivity in Gaza, though
Israel says the two soldiers among them were killed in the 2014 war.

Kobi Michael, an analyst and former head of the Palestinian Desk at Israel's
Ministry for Strategic Affairs, said the appointment would cause alarm among
Israeli politicians.

"He represents the most radical and extreme line of Hamas," he told
reporters. "Sinwar believes in armed resistance. He doesn't believe in any
sort of cooperation with Israel."

Israel has fought three wars with Hamas since 2008, the last of which in
2014. It maintains a crippling blockade on Gaza which it says is necessary
to maintain Hamas but which the United Nations says amounts to collective

+++SOURCE: Naharnet(Lebanon)13 Feb.’17:”Kaag Replied to Aoun, Says 1701
Banned Arms Outside State Control”,by Naharnet Newsdesk
SUBJECT:UN 1701 banned arms outside State control

FULL TEXT:UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigird Kaag reminded on
Monday[13 Feb] that UN resolution 1701 is vital for Lebanon's stability and
clear to state that armed groups in Lebanon should be disarmed.

“UN resolution 1701 is vital for Lebanon's stability and security. The
resolution calls for disarmament of all armed groups. No arms outside
control of state,” said Kaag in a tweet on Monday[13 Feb].

Kaag's comments came after statements made a day earlier by President Michel
Aoun on the Egyptian TV channel CBC where he said: “As long as there is
Israeli-occupied land and as long as the army is not strong enough to fight
Israel, we sense that there is a need for the presence of the resistance's
arms so that they complete the army's weapons.”

The president noted, emphasizing that “certainly Hizbullah's arms do not
contradict with the State and are an essential component of the means to
defend Lebanon.”

In a telephone call with An Nahar daily, Kaag added: “The UN resolution is
unquestionable and it calls for strengthening the Lebanese Army in order to
carry out its defense errands. It is quite clear.

“According to periodic reports on the implementation of the resolution, it
pointed to progress in this area. This is what we constantly do with the
Lebanese state,” Kaag concluded.
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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