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Pompeo pushes for end to Gulf dispute during Qatar visit | News

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that a rift between Qatar and its Arab Gulf neighbours had gone on for too long, as the blockade against the Gulf nation entered its 19th month.  

Speaking at a news conference in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Sunday, Pompeo argued that the continuing crisis between Qatar and the four blockading nations – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain – benefited their adversaries. 

“We are all more powerful when we are working together and disputes are limited. When we have a common challenge, disputes between countries with shared objectives are never helpful,” he said at joint news confence with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – all US allies – cut ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting “terrorist groups” and seeking closer ties to Saudi archrival Iran.

Qatar – also a US ally – denies the allegations and accuses the countries of impinging on its sovereignty.

The US, which at first appeared to back the boycott, has so far been unsuccessful in trying to get the countries to set aside their differences in order to focus on its regional priority – the fight against Iran.

Qatar’s relationship with Iran is complicated as it shares the world’s largest natural gas field with Tehran.

Gas has been responsible for transforming Qatar into one of the richest countries in the world, since it first began exporting liquefied natural gas little more than 20 years ago. It has also agreed to increase gas production since the beginning of the crisis.

Attempts at mediation between Qatar and the blockading nations have stalled, as highlighted by the recent resignation of US envoy Anthony Zinni – who quit because of an apparent “lack of will” on behalf of “regional leaders” for regional reconciliation.

For Washington, turning the page on the crisis is essential for the successful launch of the Strategic Alliance of the Middle East (MESA), which is a NATO-style security pact that includes Gulf countries as well as Egypt and Jordan.

Next stop: Riyadh

Pompeo arrived in Qatar on the latest leg of his Middle East tour. The secretary of state travelled to Doha from Abu Dhabi, where he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed on Saturday.

Pompeo is later expected to head to Riyadh, where all eyes will be on a possible meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The visit comes nearly three months after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country’s Istanbul consulate.

At the news conference in Doha, Pompeo reiterated that Khashoggi’s murder was unacceptable, and that he would work to get new answers from the Saudi crown prince.

During Pompeo’s previous visit to Riyadh at the height of the Khashoggi affair, his broad smiles with Prince Mohammed had outraged some Americans.

Trump has said he wants to preserve the alliance with the Saudi kingdom, although the US Senate has clearly blamed Prince Mohammed for the murder.

“We will continue to work to ensure that all those responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi are accountable,” Pompeo said Friday on the US channel Fox News.

He reaffirmed that US-Saudi relations remain “incredibly important to Americans”.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Driver in satisfactory condition following head-on Gatineau collision

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One person was in hospital in satisfactory condition following a head-on collision between two vehicles in Gatineau on Saturday.

According to Gatineau police, the crash occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Montée Paiement, between Saint-Thomas and Saint-Columban roads.

Each of the vehicles had only one occupant at the time of the incident.

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Ottawa military family alleges bad faith eviction by Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada

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An Ottawa military family alleges their former landlord — Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada — acted in bad faith when he gave them a notice of eviction, claiming he intended to move into their Vanier rental home with his own family.

The home is now listed for sale for $950,000, two months after Vivian and Tim Funk moved out with their two young children.

In documents filed with the Landlord and Tenant Board, the Funks detailed how their landlord, Sulaiman AlAqeel, acted to end their tenancy by allegedly pretending he was moving in himself. This was preceded by an attempt to market the house to new tenants for significantly more money when the Funks had not given notice indicating they would be leaving, the documents alleged. “The landlord’s representative,” according to the documents, allegedly told the Funks they needed to accept a $500 monthly rent increase and a new lease if they wanted to continue living in the rental property, which wouldn’t be legal under the Residential Tenancies Act.

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Ottawa COVID-19 hospitalization data showing half of cases coming from community, not just long-term care

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With local data showing 50 per cent of COVID-19 hospitalizations coming from the community, long-term care residents aren’t the only one vulnerable to severe illness from the virus, Ottawa’s Board of Health reports.

Despite the majority of deaths having happened in older adult age groups in long-term care homes, residents shouldn’t think institutions are the only settings that are vulnerable to outbreaks that lead to serious illness from the virus.

“[Ottawa Public Health] continues to expand our understanding of the types of settings and situations that have the most impact on COVID-19 transmission in our community and is seeking academic partners to better explore exposure risks as well as a broader assessment of the harms from different public health measures,” OPH outlined in its document, to be present at the Board of Health on Monday.

At the same time, however, OPH says it is working closely with partners on “processes to strengthen and streamline responses.” This includes weekly meetings across agencies to address issues and concerns to ensure a strong collaboration, ongoing communications with facilities, preventative visits and phone calls to review infection prevention and control.

In situations where OPH identified failings at an LTCH or concerns of compliance have been raised, OPH has been quick to issue letters of expectation that outline the deficiencies and timelines fo compliance.

It is unclear how many letters have been issued through both waves of the virus.

And while outbreaks in LTCH during wave two have recorded a higher number of LTCH outbreaks than in wave one, the overall morbidity and mortality has been lower. This means fewer cases, fewer deaths and a lower average duration of outbreaks.

OPH contributed this to building on lessons learned from early COVID-19 outbreaks in LTCH in Ottawa.

https://www.ottawamatters.com/local-news/ottawa-covid-19-hospitalization-data-of-severe-illness-shows-half-of-cases-coming-from-community-not-just-long-term-care-homes-3136152

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