‘Large’ stock of foodstuffs available in local market-JCC


Amman: Representative of the Food Sector at Jordan Chamber of Commerce (JCC), Jamal Amro, affirmed availability of a “large” stock of basic foodstuffs sufficient for “long periods, amid a decline in prices and sales, as supply operations continue.

In remarks to “Petra,” Amro said: “We have a large strategic stock of basic foodstuffs that citizens need stored in warehouses of companies and merchants, due to the increase in import quantities and the decline in sales volume in the local market.”

Importers and traders have made “great” efforts since the beginning of Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and crisis in the Red Sea region to provide a “large” stock of foodstuffs in the local market and maintain continuity of import operations, despite the high costs, especially related to sea freight charges, he pointed out.

Additionally, Amro noted Red Sea crisis affected the Kingdom’s food imports coming from Thailand, Vietnam and China, while imports from European Union countries and the United States were not
affected because they come through Mediterranean ports.

Meanwhile, Amro stated that the Kingdom’s food imports from India are currently transported directly on small ships from the port of Mundra to Aqaba, which has been reflected in shipping fees.

Since the beginning of 2024, Amro pointed out that purchasing power in the local market went down affected by consequences of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, change in the citizens’ consumption patterns and weakness of their purchasing power.

Amro indicated that last Ramadan season saw the least rate of consumption, compared to previous months.

To worsen the situation, Amro noted decline in Jordan’s tourism activity and the drop in the number of tourists had a “clear” impact on sales, commercial activity, and demand for foodstuffs and related sectors.

Amro hoped that the markets would be active with the return of Jordanian expatriates abroad to spend summer vacation.

According to Amro, monitoring by the JJCC showed a decline in average sales at major commerci
al companies operating in the sector by between 35% and 45%, depending on the nature of the facility.

Source: Jordan News Agency

RAI: THE PEOPLE CHOSE THE WRONG MPS


Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai issued a stark warning on Saturday about the ongoing presidential vacuum, criticizing recent electoral choices that have not led to meaningful change.

Rai highlighted widespread boycotts and a paralyzed political landscape, stating that ‘Lebanon has become a class-based country, and when the people rose to improve their situation and when they elected their representative, they chose the wrong name.’

Speaking at the ‘Renewal for the Nation’ conference, Rai lamented the current state of national dialogue, stating, ‘No one dares to initiate an honest national dialogue, and no one sees the point in responding to a dialogue that doesn’t address the fundamental issues that have accumulated and turned into ticking time bombs.’

Rai urged the nation’s leaders to rise above partisan politics and take immediate action. ‘Isn’t it time for us to be true statesmen and immediately elect a president who restores confidence and puts us on the right track to stability?’ he asked.

The
Patriarch painted a grim picture of Lebanon’s current state, describing it as a ‘scene of chaos and score-settling,’ where destructive possibilities loom large. He noted the emergence of ‘social cantons’ among the Lebanese, groups that are increasingly discussing ways to politicize themselves, further fragmenting the nation.

Moreover, Rai expressed concern about the societal mindset that seems to prefer enduring crises over seeking solutions. ‘The Lebanese society has become disobedient to solutions and familiar with problems, as if crises are easier than solutions. The major problem is that the foundational elements that form a nation are what divide the Lebanese,’ he emphasized.

In a related address, Youssef al-Absi, the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, echoed Rai’s sentiments regarding the deterioration of social cohesion. ‘Religion was never a barrier between people or a cause for disagreement or separation, but it seems those days have gone with time,’ Absi sa
id.

He warned against the current trajectory, as national unity is giving way to fragmented entities. ‘After establishing a nation, we are slipping into creating cantons, emirates or arenas. Sectarianism as a system is one thing, and sectarian thinking is another,’ Absi added, calling for a renewed commitment to national unity.

Both leaders’ statements reflect a deep concern about Lebanon’s future, urging immediate and genuine efforts to restore trust, unity and effective governance in the country.

The forum entitled ‘Lebanon: From the Scene of Conflict to a Nation in the Making,’ is organized by the Renewal for the Nation group. This is a group of entities from the Lebanese Greek Catholic community. Their goal is to propose policies, solutions and ideas for the country’s development. ‘This is the historically moderating role of Greek Catholics,’ said Charles Arbid, President of the Lebanese Economic, Social and Environmental Council (ESEC), on the program Ici Eco on This Is Beirut.

According to Arbid, th
e group to which he belongs is a republican group, centrist in the European sense of the term. Its goal is to unify and decentralize the country. ‘We need to think about a new electoral law because the existing one does not represent minorities,’ he said.

His movement wants to encourage young people (especially Greek Catholics) to participate in reflection and national decisions and to feel they are part of this country.

During the forum, guests will be asked to share their opinions on how to move from a scene of conflict to a nation. They will also address the issue of making Lebanon more stable and attractive.

Arbid clarified that the guests come from different sides, and the forum’s idea is to listen to their responses to these issues.

A report will be published at the end of the forum.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon

UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR JEANINE HENNIS-PLASSCHAERT ARRIVES IN LEBANON


Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the newly appointed United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, arrived today in Beirut. Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert will serve as the Head of Mission of the United Nations Office of the Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL).

‘It is an honour to continue my service with the United Nations, here in Beirut,’ the new Special Coordinator said. ‘In the interest of peace, security and stability in Lebanon and the wider region during this critical period, I look forward to closely cooperating with the Lebanese authorities and all partners in Lebanon and the international community to further the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006).’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the appointment of Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert (Netherlands) on 20 May. Prior to assuming her current functions in Lebanon, she served as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (2018-2024).

Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert brings to this posit
ion over 25 years of experience in diplomacy, international security and Middle East affairs. Prior to the United Nations, she served as Minister of Defence of the Netherlands (2012-2017). She also served as a member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands (2010-2012) and as a member of the European Parliament (2004-2010). Additionally, Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert worked for the European Commission in Belgium and Latvia, as well as for the City of Amsterdam and in the private sector.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon

LEBANON’S FOREIGN MINISTRY WELCOMES BIDEN’S STATEMENTS ON STOPPING GAZA WAR: AN OPPORTUNITY & WINDOW TO IMPLEMENT TWO-STATE SOLUTION


In an issued statement on Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants welcomed the statements of the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, about the necessity of stopping the war in Gaza, Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, and the exchange of prisoners.

The Ministry considered this “an opportunity and window to implement the two-state solution based on the relevant international legitimacy resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative issued by Beirut Summit in 2002,” encouraging all peace initiatives based on these elements.

The Ministry also highlighted “the need for all initiatives related to restoring calm to the southern Lebanese borders to include the comprehensive implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701.”

The Ministry statement continued: ‘The Lebanese suffered a lot, and paid dear prices due to the implementation of half-measures, instead of searching for permanent solutions that preserve regional peace and security.’

“The time has come for Israel to withdr
aw from the remaining occupied Lebanese territories, including the Shebaa Farms and the Kfar Shuba Hills, and to withdraw to the internationally recognized Lebanese borders, and to stop its land, sea, and air violations, to reach a stage of sustainable stability in southern Lebanon,” the Ministry statement concluded.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon

SHARAFEDDINE HINTS AT HANDING OVER HIS DUTIES TO INDUSTRY MINISTER, SAYS GOVERNMENT OBSTRUCTS BUSINESS


In an interview with ‘Voice of All Lebanon’ Radio Channel this morning, Caretaker Minister of the Displaced, Issam Sharafeddine, said he might be withdrawing from his ministerial duties and handing them over to the Minister of Industry, awaiting the next cabinet meeting and the fate of the return convoys.

Sharafeddine described the government as one that obstructs business instead of facilitating matters, adding, ‘I am reluctantly present in this ministry.’

He pointed to the absence of a plan to return the displaced to their country, noting that what was presented by Minister Abdallah Bou Habib at the Brussels conference were only demands by Lebanon that were not agreed upon with the Commission, contrary to what PM Najib Mikati said, as he explained.

Sharafeddine asserted that the European Union still adheres to its position of rejecting the return of the displaced to their country.

He stressed “the importance of establishing a tripartite committee that includes the Lebanese and Syrian sides, in addition
to the UNHCR, which rejected this because of external dictates to it.”

“The data provided by the Commission is incomplete,’ he went on, adding, ‘There is a waste of time, and the Commission has become the problem instead of being the key to the solution.’

He also described the billion euros as “a bribe to keep the displaced and turn us into border guards.”

Sharafeddine called for “creating a Lebanese- Arab- international lobby to pressure the outside world to give up their obstinacy in this file, lift the siege on Syria and facilitate the return of the displaced, for those who wish to return, or facilitate the transfer of those who wish to seek refuge in welcoming countries, since Lebanon is a transit country and not a country of asylum.”

“As for those wishing to remain In Lebanon, they must abide by all Lebanese laws to legalize their presence here,” the Minister underlined.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon