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WASHINGTON, June 24, 2018 (News Wires) - The US government said it still had 2,053 children in its custody who were separated from their parents under President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, and set out its most detailed plans yet on how it would reunite families.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said late on Saturday it had a "well coordinated" process in place - in the face of criticism from lawyers for parents and children who have said they have seen little evidence of an organised system.

A total of 522 children had already been reunited with parents, the agency added in a fact sheet published three days after Trump ended his policy of separating families on the US-Mexico border, after images of youngsters in cages triggered outrage at home and abroad.

"The United States government knows the location of all children in its custody and is working to reunite them with their families," the DHS said.

The new details came after more than two months of confusion how detained migrant parents, who are shuttled from facility to facility run by different government agencies, would ever reunite with their children, who are sent to shelters and foster homes scattered across the country.

The fact sheet said the Trump administration has a process for how parents would be reunited with their children "for the purposes of removal," or deportation.

Deportation proceedings could take months to complete, and the fact sheet did not say whether parents and children would be reunited in the intervening time. DHS officials did not immediately respond to questions about the process explained in the fact sheet.

The Port Isabel detention centre in Texas will serve as "the primary family reunification and removal centre" for adults in ICE custody, the statement said.

Many of the parents are planning to claim asylum, lawyers and advocates who have spoken with them said. The fact sheet did not say how reunifications would be handled in those cases.

The fact sheet said children are given the chance to speak with a "vetted parent, guardian or relative" within 24 hours of arriving at a facility run by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - the agency that has custody of the children.

Sirine Shebaya, a senior staff attorney with Muslim Advocates, said she and two other lawyers met about 70 detained Central American migrants at Port Isabel on Friday and Saturday. All but one had been separated from their children, she added in an interview before the fact sheet was published.

Several of the migrants had been given a number to call to try to locate their children, but found their calls wouldn’t go through or no one picked up, she said. If they did manage to get someone on the line, they were often told they would get a call back – useless to them while in a detention centre.

"When they do get a phone call, it's a one-to-two minute phone call and the kids frequently don’t know where they are," she said. "Some kids know, 'OK I'm in Michigan,' but they don't know any more than that."

TEL AVIV, June 24, 2018 (News Wires) — President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser said in an interview published Sunday that the administration will soon present its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, with or without input from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

In an interview published in the Arabic language Al-Quds newspaper, Jared Kushner appealed directly to Palestinians and criticized Abbas, who has shunned the Trump team over its alleged pro-Israel bias, particularly on the fate of contested Jerusalem.

The interview came out after a weeklong trip around the region by Kushner and Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt. The team met with leaders of Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to discuss the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza and the administration’s proposals for a peace deal.

Palestinian leaders have blasted the Trump negotiating team in recent days. Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Kushner and Greenblatt on Saturday of trying to topple the Abbas-led West Bank autonomy government and dismantle the U.N. aid agency for Palestinian refugees.

Any peace plan would face major obstacles, including the increasingly dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, internal Palestinian divisions, and recent cross-border violence between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel. It remains unclear how the Trump administration would proceed with a peace plan without Palestinian co-operation.

Kushner said the plan is “almost done,” but offered scant details aside from the promise of economic prosperity. He made no mention of a Palestinian state arising alongside Israel.

Kushner cast doubt on Abbas’ ability to make a deal, alleging that the Palestinian leadership is “scared we will release our peace plan and the Palestinian people will actually like it” because it would offer them a better life.

“The global community is getting frustrated with Palestinian leadership and not seeing many actions that are constructive towards achieving peace,” Kushner said. “There are a lot of sharp statements and condemnations, but no ideas or efforts with prospects of success.”

Palestinian leaders have refused to meet with the Trump team since the president recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. Jerusalem is an emotional issue at the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel captured the city’s eastern half, home to holy sites for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it. Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as capital of a future state.

“If President Abbas is willing to come back to the table, we are ready to engage; if he is not, we will likely air the plan publicly,” Kushner said.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh responded to Kushner’s interview by restating that American efforts will yield no result if they bypass the Palestinian leadership, and if they are not aimed at an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2018 (News Wires) - President Donald Trump is headed to Nevada to help Sen. Dean Heller raise money.

Heller is the only Republican senator seeking re-election in a state that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

Trump is going to Las Vegas on Saturday to headline a fundraiser for Heller. He's also delivering the keynote address at the Nevada GOP convention and holding a separate event to promote tax cuts he signed into law six months ago.

Heller's race is one of the most consequential Senate races of the year as Republicans seek to expand their slim 51-49 majority in November's elections.

Trump recently has picked up the pace of his political travel. He campaigned in Minnesota earlier this week, and he plans stops next week in South Carolina and North Dakota.

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2018 (News Wires) - The United States and South Korea have agreed to indefinitely suspend two exchange program training exercises, the Pentagon said late Friday, in the aftermath of the summit earlier this month between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“To support implementing the outcomes of the Singapore Summit, and in coordination with our Republic of Korea ally, Secretary Mattis has indefinitely suspended select exercises,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.

“This includes suspending FREEDOM GUARDIAN along with two Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises scheduled to occur in the next three months,” White said.

Regarding suspension of the exercises, South Korea’s defense ministry said, “South Korea and the US decided to delay two of KMEP (drills) indefinitely, which was going to take place within the next three months.

“This is a part of follow-up measures after the North Korea-US summit and South Korea-North Korea summit. There could be additional measures should North Korea follow suit with productive cooperation.”

CAIRO, June 22, 2018 (MENA) - Head of Egyptian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee Tarek Radwan expressed Friday his concern over US decision to withdraw from United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), describing it as a dangerous shift and bias towards Israel.

In press statements, Radwan said despite that the US decision is not surprising due to repeated threats by the US to withdraw unless the UNHRC changes its policies and positions rejecting Israel's practices in the occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories, however it paves the way for a new phase in US history's bias towards Israel.

He underlined that the US declared its full support to Israel even if this led it to abandon its responsibilities as a major and central country at the international level and its liberal values stated by the US constitution.

KINSHASA (DR Congo), June 22, 2018 (News Wires) - The US State Department says it has imposed sanctions and visa bans on top DR Congo officials for corruption linked to long-delayed elections due in December and for rights abuses.

It asked DRC President Joseph Kabila to ensure a peaceful transition of power in the December 23 election.

Several unidentified “senior DRC officials” were targeted for “involvement in significant corruption related to the DRC’s electoral process,” a State Department communique said late Thursday.

“Further, the Department is taking steps to prevent entry into the United States of certain DRC officials involved in human rights violations,” it said.

“Today’s actions send a strong signal that the US government is committed to fighting corruption, to supporting credible elections that lead to DRC’s first peaceful and democratic transfer of power, and to holding accountable those who are responsible for significant corruption or serious violations of human rights.”

The State Department late Thursday also said it would send career diplomat Michael Hammer as ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a post that has been vacant for several months.

Hammer had served as ambassador to Chile between 2014 and 2016 and was also Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. He has worked in five foreign missions.

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