World News in Brief: December 28

Friday, 2018-12-28 11:02:31
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China will continue to work with Russia to prepare for a series of high-level contact next year, centered on communication between the two heads of state, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press briefing Thursday (December 27).

* US President Donald Trump said Thursday that he has returned to the United States after an unannounced visit overseas to Iraq and Germany.

* The embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Syrian capital Damascus was reopened Thursday afternoon and the UAE flag was raised over it, for the first time in seven years. The reopened embassy marks the first state of the Gulf Cooperation Council to resume diplomatic work in Syria.

* The Palestinian Foreign Ministry on December 27 accused Israel of destroying the two-state solution with continued settlement expansion. The ministry made the comments in a statement in response to the Israeli government's approval of the construction of around 1,500 new settlement units in the West Bank.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenia's Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan agreed on December 27 to expand cooperation in various areas.

* France on December 27 called on Israel to reconsider recently issued approvals for more than 2,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank, saying they would violate international law.

* Saudi King Salman has appointed Ibrahim al-Assaf as the new foreign minister in a cabinet reshuffle, state media reported on December 27.

* The campaign for next year's presidential election in Ukraine will officially start on Dec. 31, local media reported on December 27, citing a decision of the Central Election Commission (CEC). The presidential election in Ukraine is scheduled for March 31, 2019.

* The US Senate convened briefly Thursday afternoon before adjourning until next week, with no signs of a deal to end the budget impasse that has shut down a quarter of the federal government.

* Democratic Republic of Congo on December 27 said it would expel European Union Ambassador Bart Ouvry in response to the recent renewal of EU sanctions against Congolese officials including the ruling coalition's candidate in a presidential election.

* The Syrian private Sham Wings Airlines made its debut flight to Tunisia on December 27, marking the first trip between both countries in years, according to the state news agency SANA.

* The Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Ukraine's crisis has reached an agreement on a fresh ceasefire in eastern Ukraine starting shortly after midnight on Dec. 29, local media reported on December 27, citing a senior Ukrainian official.

* The Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) announced on December 27 it has repatriated 44,500 nationals stranded in Saudi Arabia during a six months period.

* Pakistan and Britain signed an agreement Thursday on the transfer of prisoners, according to a statement of the British embassy in Pakistan.

* Sudan's government on December 27 announced that 19 people were killed in the popular protests over the past week.

Xinhua, Reuters