Arabic press review: US to push for Iranian exit in Syria, says source

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Also: Algerian president sacks top security official; cash-strapped Jordan gets loan from the World Bank

Talks between Moscow and Washington will include the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (AFP)
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Thursday 28 June 2018 22:07 UTC
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US talking to Russia about Iranian exit from Syria

A western diplomat has revealed that Washington’s demands for a complete Iranian exit from Syria will be top of the agenda when Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet on 16 July, the Saudi Al-Hayat newspaper has reported.

The unnamed diplomat also said that the US is open to the idea of President Bashar al-Assad staying in power and being allowed to recover all the areas controlled by the opposition.



The war in Syria is now in its eighth year (AFP)

The US administration “insisted that Iran leave all Syria, and that Jordan also opposes an Iranian presence or any displaced people on its borders,” al-Hayat reported the source as saying, adding that if the Putin-Trump summit is held in mi-July, "its core will be to negotiate Washington's insistence on Iran's withdrawal from Syria".

The source also said that Washington and Moscow are determined to demilitarise Syrian opposition groups in the south of the country, even if the Assad government gains control of the region, and that the White House wants to enhance the role of UN envoy Staffan de Mistura in the Geneva negotiations to end the Syrian war.

Political earthquake shakes Algeria

The decision by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to sack police chief Abdelghani Hamel, the country’s highest security official, has caused a "political earthquake" according to al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper.



Observers believed that police chief Abdelghani Hamel, left, was close to the Algerian presidency (AFP)

The newspaper said that the shock was compounded by the strong relations between Hamel and the Algerian presidency.

While no grounds were officially given for the dismissal, it comes in the wake of a large-scale cocaine bust which has gripped Algerian public opinion, with reports claiming that a number of well-known figures were involved in drug smuggling.

Hamel unexpectedly made tense statements about the case, leading some local news sources to allege that members of his entourage may have been involved - something Hamel has so far denied.

Jordan to get loan of $500m

The World Bank has announced a $500m loan to Jordan in the wake of widespread protests and the fall of the government in Amman, Jordanian al-Ghad newspaper reported.



The protests in Jordan have already led to the fall of the government (AFP)

The deal includes a $111m grant from the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF), along with a 35-year loan and a 54-month grace period.

The loan comes after protests in Jordan, which resulted in intervention by the king and the fall of the previous government. The new administration subsequently cancelled a new law imposing higher and wider taxes.

The loan coincides with the visit of King Abdullah II to Washington, where he met with US President Donald Trump.

In a statement, the World Bank said it hoped the support would enable Jordan to grow its economy, create more job opportunities and expand the government’s cash support programme to help poorer families.

In return, the government is expected to cut costs, boost competition and increase exports among other measures.

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