Breaking & Developing
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed a historic peace agreement at the White House Tuesday, agreeing to normalize relations with Israel. The historic accords were brokered by the Trump administration as part of its plan for Middle East Peace.
“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” Trump said at the signing ceremony. “After decades of division conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East. Thanks to the great courage of the leaders of these three countries, we take a major stride toward a future in which people of all faiths and backgrounds live together in peace and prosperity.”
The agreement, dubbed the “Abraham Accords,” means the countries will establish corresponding embassies, exchange ambassadors, welcome tourists, and engage in bilateral trade relations. Trump says it’s just the start to making peace across the entire region.
“Together, these agreements will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region, something which nobody thought was possible, certainly not in this day and age, maybe in decades from now, but one founded on shared interests, mutual respect, and friendship,” Trump said.
He added, “For generations, the people of the Middle East have been held back by old conflicts, hostilities, lies, treachery, so many things held them back, actually lies that the Jews and Arabs were enemies and that Al Aqsa mosque was under attack.”
“These lies passed down from generation to generation fueled a vicious cycle of terror and violence that spread across the region and all over the world,” Trump said. “These agreements prove that the nations of the region are breaking free from the failed approaches of the past.”
“The people of the Middle East will no longer allow hatred of Israel to be fomented as an excuse for radicalism or extremism.”
President Donald Trump hosted delegations from the three countries in the Rose Garden, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Emirati foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed, and Bahraini foreign minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani.
“This is unimaginable a few years ago, but with resolve, determination, a fresh look at the way peace is done, this is being achieved,” Netanyahu said, thanking President Trump and his administration for negotiating the deals.
The Israeli PM emphasized that the deal is just the start to ending the Arab-Israeli conflict “once and for all.”
Emirati foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are witnessing today a new trend that will create a better path for the Middle East. This peace accord, which is a historic achievement for the United States of America, the State of Israel, and the United Arab Emirates will continue to have a positive impact as we believe that reverberations will be reflected across the entire region.”
Bahraini foreign minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani said, “Today’s agreement is an important first step. And it is now incumbent on us to work urgently and actively to bring about the lasting peace and security our peoples deserve,” adding that a “just” two state solution between Israelis and Palestinians can be achieved.
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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”
Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.
Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.
At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.
“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”
“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”
This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”
During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.
“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”
“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”
Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.
Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.
“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”
Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.
“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”
He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.
Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”
“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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