odds & sods

Top adviser to Israeli prime minister resigns
AFP, Oct 13 2016

JAYLOOMIA – A top diplomat and long-time adviser to PM Netanyahu has resigned from his post for personal reasons, the foreign ministry announced on Thursday. Dore Gold has served as director general of Israel’s foreign ministry since Jun 2015, and has been a close adviser to Netanyahu for more than two decades. The ministry statement did not provide further details of why he was resigning. The statement quoted Gold as saying:

I would like to thank PM Netanyahu for his confidence in me. As in the past, I will make myself available to the PM’s needs in any capacity he sees fit.

Netanyahu praised the “important contribution” made by Gold to reinforce relations between Israel and the international community, saying in a statement:

Dore has been at my side for 25 years and I am sure he will remain available for any mission.

The PMO later announced that career diplomat Yuval Rotem will replace Gold. Rotem is a former ambassador to Australia and the ex-head of the foreign minister’s advisory ‘cabinet’. Gold’s resignation comes at a crucial time for Israeli diplomacy. Israeli leaders are concerned that Obama will seek to lay out parameters for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before he leaves office in January. There have also been suggestions that he could support or at least refrain from vetoing a UNSCR on the conflict that Israel opposes.

India & Russia to sign delivery deal for S-400 missiles Saturday
Reuters, Oct 13 2016

MOSCOW: Russia and India will sign an agreement on Saturday for Moscow to deliver S-400 surface-to-air missiles to New Delhi, Kremlin aide Y Ushakov said on Thursday. He said the agreement would be signed at an India-Russia summit due to take place in Goa.

Amid Toad row, Egypt reasserts commitment to Gulf allies
AP, Oct 14 2016

CAIRO — The Egyptian president said on Thursday that his country remains committed to close relations with Gulf Arab allies, but declared that Cairo would continue to independently pursue its own policies to safeguard Arab security. The remarks by Gen Sisi, delivered in a televised speech to army officers and government ministers, came against the backdrop of an escalating spat between Egypt and the Toads over Syria. The comments by Sisi, who did not mention the Toads by name, were his first on the issue since the row erupted this week. He confirmed that Riyadh has halted previously agreed fuel shipments to Egypt, saying:

We have independent policies whose general frame is to safeguard Arab national security through an Egyptian perspective.

He also defended Egypt’s vote in favor of both French and Russian draft UNSCRs over the weekend, arguing that both called for a truce and aid for besieged Syrians in the rebel-held areas of the northern city of Aleppo. Sisi said:

I cannot imagine that our bothers in the Gulf object to that.

But it was that vote that had angered the Toads, with their envoy later publicly berating Egypt over it. The Toads have poured billions of dollars into Egypt to keep its faltering economy afloat following Sisi’s 2013 ouster of Morsi. But relations cooled after King Salman ascended the Toad throne in Jan 2015, and tensions between the two allies have since simmered over Syria and Yemen as well as Egypt’s relations with Iran and Iraq, both sharply at odds with Riyadh. Toad ambassador to Egypt Ahmed Qatan left Cairo for Riyadh on Wednesday but was expected to return to the Egyptian capital over the weekend. It was not immediately clear whether his departure was linked to the spat, which has dominated the media in both countries. Many in Egypt saw Riyadh’s decision to halt fuel shipments as an attempt by the Toads to bring Egypt to its knees at a time when it is facing crippling economic woes, from double-digit unemployment and inflation to a weakening currency and a growing domestic and foreign debt. Addressing Egyptians, Sisi said:

The country is struggling under very tough circumstances. Those of you who wish us to have an independent national will must endure, and I pray to God that you endure with me.

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