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Israel and US Officials Arrive In The United Arab Emirates

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 01 September 2020

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U.S. President's senior adviser Jared Kushner speaks as Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat stands next to him upon arrival at Abu Dhabi International Airport, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

Kushner urges Palestinians to negotiate.

Security // BLUF: An Israeli delegation, accompanied by US officials, has arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday in a historic visit to the Arab country.

While Palestinians have been dismayed by the UAE's move to normalise ties with Israel, senior White House advisor Jared Kushner called on Palestinians to negotiate.

The crown prince of Abu Dhabi had said in an earlier statement that the UAE was committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

(See Point 1 Below for Further Information)

The Daily Quick-Look for 01 September 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

FYSA = For Your Situational Awareness.

1. UNITED STATES, ISRAEL, UAE - Security, Political: Israeli, U.S. officials land in UAE, Kushner urges Palestinians to negotiate

FYSA: Senior U.S. and Israeli officials landed in the United Arab Emirates on Monday on a historic trip to finalise a pact marking open relations between Israel and the Gulf state, and they told Palestinians it was now time for them to negotiate peace. White House senior adviser Jared Kushner also said on arrival that Washington could help maintain Israel’s military edge while advancing its ties to the UAE, the Arab world’s second largest economy and a regional power. Announced on Aug. 13, the normalisation deal is the first such accommodation between an Arab country and Israel in more than 20 years and was forged largely through shared fears of Iran. Palestinians were dismayed by the UAE’s move, seeing it as a betrayal that would weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position which calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries. Kushner said Palestinians should not be “stuck in the past”. “They have to come to the table. Peace will be ready for them, an opportunity will be ready for them as soon as they are ready to embrace it,” said Kushner, part of a U.S. delegation that accompanied Israeli officials on the first official Israeli flight from Tel Aviv to the UAE. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

2. VENEZUELA - Political: Venezuela pardons 110 people including Maduro opponents as election nears

FYSA: The Venezuelan government has announced pardons for more than 100 people, including political opponents who are in prison, have taken refuge in foreign embassies in Caracas or fled the country. The move comes ahead of congressional elections set for 6 December that the movement led by US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó says it is boycotting because conditions for the vote are not fair. The names listed in the pardon do not include prominent opposition leaders such as Leopoldo López, who remains inside a foreign ambassador’s residence in Caracas, or Julio Borges, a powerful opposition lawmaker who is in neighboring Colombia. Minister of communications Jorge Rodríguez listed 110 people being pardoned, although the terms of the announced amnesty were not clear. “The government’s intention is to deepen the process of national reconciliation for national union so that political issues are settled by peaceful means and by electoral means,” Rodríguez said. Maduro’s government framed the presidential decree as a goodwill gesture to boost participation in the upcoming election. It was not immediately clear whether jailed political actors would walk free and those seeking refuge in foreign embassies would step out the gates without fearing reprisals. Venezuela is gripped by an economic crisis that has sent more than 5 million fleeing in recent years, escaping scarcities of basic goods and soaring inflation that has left many struggling in poverty. (The Guardian. See link in heading for further reading)

3. RUSSIA, CHINA - Security (Health): Scientists see downsides to top COVID-19 vaccines from Russia, China

FYSA: High-profile COVID-19 vaccines developed in Russia and China share a potential shortcoming: They are based on a common cold virus that many people have been exposed to, potentially limiting their effectiveness, some experts say. CanSino Biologics’ (6185.HK) vaccine, approved for military use in China, is a modified form of adenovirus type 5, or Ad5. The company is in talks to get emergency approval in several countries before completing large-scale trials, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. A vaccine developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, approved in Russia earlier this month despite limited testing, is based on Ad5 and a second less common adenovirus. “The Ad5 concerns me just because a lot of people have immunity,” said Anna Durbin, a vaccine researcher at Johns Hopkins University. “I’m not sure what their strategy is ... maybe it won’t have 70% efficacy. It might have 40% efficacy, and that’s better than nothing, until something else comes along.” Vaccines are seen as essential to ending the pandemic that has claimed over 845,000 lives worldwide. Gamaleya has said its two-virus approach will address Ad5 immunity issues. Both developers have years of experience and approved Ebola vaccines based on Ad5. Neither CanSino nor Gamaleya responded to requests for comment. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

4. COOK ISLANDS - Security (Health): Cook Islands to loosen border rules

FYSA: The Cook Islands Government has decided to allow Cook Islanders and permit holders to return from Auckland to Rarotonga, under strict conditions. >> The Cabinet met on Friday to decide the new travel rules, which came into effect over the weekend. Those allowed to enter the country under the new travel advisory will be required to quarantine in a designated residence, under supervision. Prime Minister Henry Puna said this was a challenging time for everyone, and many factors have been taken into consideration in revising the travel ban. “We believe we have made a well-informed decision based on advice from Te Marae Ora and other agencies. Cabinet will continue to monitor this situation.” The only exemptions for inbound travellers will be for Cook Islanders, who have a Cook Islands status stamp in their passport or from Immigration; permanent residents, work permit holders and resident permit holders. (Stuff. See link in heading for further reading)

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