Wed, 07 Jun 2023

Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, May 22

23 May 2023, 08:05 GMT+10

JERUSALEM -- The Bank of Israel (BOI) announced on Monday that it is raising its benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percentage points to 4.75 percent, the highest level since November 2006.

This is the tenth consecutive increase in the benchmark rate since April 2022, which stood at 0.1 percent.

The Israeli central bank said that it is raising rates in order to combat inflation, which has been running above the government's target range of 1 percent to 3 percent for several months. In April 2023, inflation reached 5 percent. (Israel-Interest-Hikes)

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TEHRAN -- The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday condemned Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Jerusalem.

Nasser Kanaani called on the Muslim world and international community to take "effective, immediate and deterrent" action in response to Israel's "presumptuous and provocative" activities.

On Sunday, Ben-Gvir, escorted by heavy police presence and the internal security agency Shin Bet, visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, holy to both Muslims and Jews. (Iran-Israel-Al-Aqsa)

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ANKARA -- Turkish presidential candidate Sinan Ogan, who won third place by receiving 5.17 percent of the votes in the first round, endorsed incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday for the runoff elections slated for May 28.

"Following our internal consultations, I want to announce that I will support the presidential candidate of the People's Alliance, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the second round. I also call on my electors to endorse Mr. Erdogan," Ogan said at a press conference.

Ogan, a hardline nationalist who pledged to take a tougher stance against terrorism and send all migrants back to their home country, said Erdogan's alliance has the parliamentary majority and Erdogan's continued presidency is essential for maintaining the country's stability. (Türkiye-Presidential-Elections)

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AMMAN -- Jordan announced on Monday its imports of crude oil from Iraq have resumed after a suspension that began in early April.

Oil transfer via tankers to Jordan had begun and 422 tankers had been loaded up with Iraqi oil, 300 of which had already arrived in Jordan, Iman Awwad, head of the Oil and Gas Department at Jordan's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources was quoted as saying in a ministry statement.

Jordan renewed an agreement with Iraq to resume crude oil imports at a discounted price in early May. Under the deal, Jordan imports from Iraq 10,000 barrels of crude oil per day or 7 percent of Jordan's daily needs. (Jordan-Iraq-Oil-Import)

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