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Trump Administration Maintains Commitment to Middle East Peace Amid Criticism of Jerusalem Decision

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 22:39
Under heavy criticism from Arab and majority Muslim countries for a decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Trump administration says it is committed to the Middle East peace process. VOA diplomatic correspondent Cindy Saine looks at the broader contours of what administration officials describe as a new approach to peace and stability in the region.
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Turkish President, Jordanian King Unite Against US President Over Jerusalem Move

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 21:58
The news of the United States' intention to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel dominated talks Wednesday between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Abdullah II of Jordan. In statements to the media at the presidential palace, both leaders voiced concern. "If the wrong step is taken regarding Jerusalem's status, it will be the cause of indignation in the Islamic world," Erdogan said, adding that it will "dynamite the ground for peace, igniting...
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Trump's Announcement on Jerusalem Explained

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 21:52
What has US President Donald Trump done with respect to Israel? Donald Trump has decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the first U.S. President to do so since Israel was founded in 1948. Tel Aviv is currently home to the U.S. Embassy and many foreign embassies. Trump plans to eventually move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, but relocation could take up to two years. U.S. law requires the president to sign a waiver every six months that leaves the embassy in Tel Aviv....
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Nigerian Migrants Return From Libya With Tales Of Horror

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 21:07
Some knelt and placed their foreheads to the ground in prayer. Several carried small children. After being stranded in Libya on a failed attempt to reach Europe, more than 400 Nigerian migrants were brought home and began sharing stories of abuse and fear.   “If they lock you up in a room, you hardly eat, that's number one,” Ejike Ernest, one of the returnees, told The Associated Press on arrival late Tuesday in Lagos. “You'll urinate there, you'll defecate there and every...
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Arabs, Muslims Warn Trump Against Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's Capital

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 19:13
The Middle East is on edge as President Donald Trump plans to make a controversial change in U.S. policy on Jerusalem. Palestinians are calling for three "Days of Rage" to protest Trump's plan to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Palestinian spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh warns that the decision would have dire consequences for American efforts to revive peace talks with Israel. "It would complicate things," he said. "It would put an obstacle...
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Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israeli Capital, Announces Embassy Relocation

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 18:06
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday he has no doubt other countries will follow the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and that once the U.S. Embassy moves to the city others will relocate there as well. Netanyahu said his government is in contact with other countries, but did not name them as he delivered a speech at Israel's Foreign Ministry. Israel's military announced the deployment of extra troops in the occupied West Bank...
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French President Macron Visits Algeria to Boost Cooperation

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 16:57
French President Emmanuel Macron is traveling to Algeria for a one-day working visit aimed at boosting the security and economic cooperation between the two countries. Macron plans to walk the streets of Algiers city center Wednesday before meeting with Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. They will discuss the situation in Algeria's troubled neighbor, Libya, as well as cooperation on the fight against extremism in the Sahel region,...
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UN: Syrian Men, Boys Victims of Widespread Sexual Violence

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 16:16
A study by the U.N. refugee agency found what it calls "shocking evidence" of widespread sexual violence against Syrian men and boys inside Syria and in neighboring countries where they seek asylum. The study indicated violence against men and boys is far more widespread than previously believed. It found gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals are most vulnerable to sexual assault, with the victims ranging in age from 10 to 80. U.N. refugee agency spokesman,...
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Saleh's Death Puts Yemen's War at a Crossroads

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 11:41
Former Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh's death at the hands of his own allies, the Shiite rebels known as Houthis, has put the impoverished nation's 3-year civil war at a crossroads, and there are several widely differing directions it could now go. It could mark the beginning of the end for the Iranian-backed Houthis - as their opponents are hoping, trying to forge a force out of Saleh's angry supporters to assault the rebel-held capital, Sanaa. Equally, it could...
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Trump to Announce Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's Capital

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 09:36
U.S. President Donald Trump will announce his decision on whether to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a speech Wednesday. During his presidential campaign Trump has promised to make that move. The Palestinians, the Arabs and the United Nations warned Tuesday that making a unilateral decision would undermine the Middle East peace process. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
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US House Passes Measure to Limit Aid to Palestinians

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 05:05
The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to sharply reduce the annual $300 million in U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it take steps to stop making what lawmakers described as payments that reward violent crime. The House backed by voice vote the Taylor Force Act, named after a 29-year-old American military veteran fatally stabbed by a Palestinian while visiting Israel last year. The measure is intended to stop the Palestinians from paying stipends, referred to as...
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US Calls for Immediate Cease-fire in Yemen

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 03:45
The United States has joined the United Nations in urging all sides in Yemen to refrain from violence and restart political talks to end the civil war, amid worries that tensions may escalate after rebels killed the country's former president and their former ally, Ali Abdullah Saleh. "We are incredibly concerned about the violence there," said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Tuesday during a briefing. A State Department official told VOA the U.S. is...
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Trump to Announce US Recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli Capital, Move Embassy

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 03:35
As President Donald Trump prepared to announce Wednesday the United States is recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move its embassy from Tel Aviv, Pope Francis expressed "profound concern" about the move, while Turkey called for a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to coordinate a response. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not mention the issue in his own public appearance Wednesday. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said...
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VOA Interview: Former US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley Weighs In on Middle East, North Korea

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 03:30
Former US National Security Adviser to George W. Bush, Stephen Hadley, says the new Saudi crown prince is doing things that “American policymakers have been waiting decades for a Saudi leader to do.” In an interview with VOA Contributor Greta Van Susteren, Hadley said Mohammed bin Salman is a “visionary who is impatient” and will “break a lot of eggs” to get the country where he wants it to be.
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Coalition Says Fewer Than 3,000 IS Fighters Remain in Iraq and Syria

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 01:49
The United States-led international coalition fighting Islamic State estimates that fewer than 3,000 fighters belonging to the hardline Sunni militant group remain in Iraq and Syria, its spokesman said on Tuesday. Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate has crumbled this year in Syria and Iraq, with the group losing the cities of Mosul, Raqqa and swaths of other territory. “Current estimates are that there are less than 3,000 #Daesh fighters left — they still remain a threat, but...
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Yazidi Town Gripped With Challenges Long After IS Removal

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 01:13
The Yazidi residents of Snune in northern Iraq say life has not become easier for them since the expulsion of the Islamic State from their region in December 2014. They say months of conflict over the town has crushed the local economy, while unemployment levels and poverty rates have increased significantly. Kawa Omar reports from the region.
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Gulf Rulers Boycotting Qatar Skip Annual Summit

Voice of America - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 00:12
Qatar's Emir said on Tuesday he hoped a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Kuwait would help maintain stability in the region, Al-Jazeera TV said, though three Arab heads of state involved in a rift with Qatar stayed away. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain sent ministers or deputy prime ministers to the annual event. The countries and non-GCC member Egypt have imposed economic, diplomatic and trade sanctions on Qatar in a dispute that began in...
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Middle East on Edge Ahead of Possible Change to US Policy on Jerusalem

Voice of America - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 23:55
Criticism of President Donald Trump's reported plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is pouring in from across the Middle East, Europe and around the world.  One of the strongest statements of opposition to such a plan came from key NATO ally Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan Tuesday. Erdogan told a parliamentary group meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), "This could go as far as cutting our diplomatic relations with Israel. You...
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Trump Informs Leaders of Plan to Recognize Jerusalem as Israeli Capital

Voice of America - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 19:35
President Donald Trump is telephoning several Middle East leaders ahead of an expected announcement that could come as early as Wednesday that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.   A White House statement said Trump was speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah in the morning, and would be calling other regional leaders later in the day.   There was no immediate word from...
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Saleh's Son Vows to 'Confront Enemies of the Homeland'

Voice of America - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 18:39
The powerful exiled son of Yemen's slain ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh vowed on Tuesday to lead a campaign against the Houthi movement that killed his father after he switched sides in the civil war. The intervention by Ahmed Ali Saleh, a former leader of the elite Republican Guard once seen as a likely successor to his father, gives the anti-Houthi movement in Sanaa a potential figurehead, after a week of fighting that saw the Houthis rout Saleh's supporters in the...
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