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Arabic press review: Palestine slams Washington's 'lack of understanding' of ICC jurisdiction

Meanwhile, British ambassador in Jordan says her country is committed to the two-state solution, and Iraq imposes curfew during Pope's visit
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers remarks about priorities for administration of President Joe Biden in the Ben Franklin Room at the State Department in Washington DC on 3 March 2021 (AFP)

Palestinian Authority slams Blinken's ICC comments 

The Palestinian Authority (PA) reacted to the statements of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said that the Palestinians have no right to litigate before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Nabil Shaath, the personal representative of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, denounced Blinken’s position, stating in an interview with Arabi21 that his comments are "absurd and baseless".

He added that "Blinken's statements emanate from a clear lack of understanding. Had he asked the legal advisor or the legal official in the US State Department, he would have been informed that Palestine is a member of the ICC and that we are recognised as a state in that court."

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Shaath, who is Abbas’s advisor for foreign affairs and international relations, indicated that the PA categorically rejects Blinken’s statements, noting: “We thought that Joe Biden’s administration would be better than the previous one led by Donald Trump, who had a strategic alliance with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu”.

The Palestinian official pointed out that these statements consolidate an already existent strategy based on the US support for Israel," adding: "We expected that things would somewhat improve in Biden's era, but it seems that it is not correct.”

On Wednesday, the US State Department published a statement by Secretary Blinken, expressing the US administration's strong opposition to the ICC decision to investigate war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories.

Blinken said that Palestinians "do not qualify as a sovereign state and, therefore, are not qualified to obtain membership as a state in, participate as a state in, or delegate jurisdiction to the ICC”.

Britain commits to two-state solution

UK ambassador to Jordan Bridget Brind said that the British government adheres to the two-state solution to end the conflict in the Palestinian territories, while stressing her country’s support for Jordan’s efforts regarding the refugee situation, the Jordan News Agency (Petra) reported.  

The British ambassador also declared the UK's appreciation of the remarkable role played by the Jordanian kingdom in achieving security and stability in the region.

Ambassador Brind said the British government supports Jordan's efforts concerning the issue of refugees, noting that this position comes as part of the British and international community's appreciation for Jordan’s role in aiding refugees.

Regarding the Palestinian cause, the British ambassador said her country is committed to supporting the two-state solution as "a guarantor of security and stability in the region".

Iraq imposes curfew during Pope's visit

The Iraqi capital of Baghdad prepared for the historic visit of Pope Francis to the country on Friday with flags, posters, murals, and flowers, the Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported.

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Authorities have deployed thousands of armed forces in the streets and along the road linking Baghdad International Airport and its branches where the Pope’s motorcade passed during the visit, in addition to positioning security vehicles along the roads.

Security plans have also been outlined in the cities the Pope is scheduled to visit, including Baghdad, Najaf, Nasiriyah, Nineveh, and Erbil.

The sources pointed out that Iraqi authorities imposed a curfew throughout Iraq in preparation for the visit, according to the newspaper.

*Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.