GCC demands deterrent UN action against Syria

Updated 11 September 2013
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GCC demands deterrent UN action against Syria

Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries renewed their calls to the UN on Tuesday to take “deterrent action” against Bashar Assad’s regime over an alleged chemical attack that killed hundreds of Syrians.
GCC foreign ministers also denounced the participation of foreign forces and militias in the killing of Syrian people, urging the UN to act immediately to protect Syrians and help them defend themselves.
 “The UN Security Council must assume its responsibilities,” Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Khalifa said at the start of a GCC ministerial meeting in Jeddah.
He urged “deterrent measures against the perpetrators of this ugly crime, for which the Syrian regime is responsible.” 
Sheikh Khaled’s statement made no mention of Russia’s latest proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision for eventual destruction.
The surprise proposal was made on Monday and is aimed at averting punitive US strikes against the Syrian regime.
The ministers expressed their deep concern over the worsening situation in Syria and its negative impact on the region’s security and stability. They denounced the “dangerous human rights violations by Assad’s regime against his people, using all kinds of weapons, including weapons of mass destruction.”
The meeting held the regime responsible for the continuing tragedy. 
Sheikh Khaled said the Russian proposal would not end the plight of Syrians. “We’ve heard of the initiative. It’s all about chemical weapons, but doesn’t stop the bloodshed.”
A group of US senators was crafting a new measure Tuesday that ties authorization for a military strike on Syria to action by the United Nations.
The lawmakers, including allies and foes of President Barack Obama, were altering a resolution currently under debate which would green-light limited US strikes.
Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem said Tuesday his  country wanted to join the chemical weapons ban treaty and is ready to give other countries and the United Nations access to its arsenal.
The GCC meeting denounced the recent terrorist bombing in Bahrain and supported the measures taken by Manama to fight terrorism. It also denounced the terrorist attack on the UAE embassy in Libya.
The meeting hoped that Hassan Rowhani’s election as the president of Iran would improve GCC-Tehran ties, instill respect for the sovereignty of countries in the region and curb interference in the internal affairs of other countries. 
It urged Tehran to respond favorably to diplomatic efforts to resolve its nuclear issue peacefully.
 


Lebanon’s minister warns over slow formation of government

Lebanon's Caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 June 2018
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Lebanon’s minister warns over slow formation of government

  • Lebanon is the world’s third-most indebted nation with a debt-to-GDP ratio of more than 150 percent
  • Following May’s election, Lebanon is being run by a caretaker government

BEIRUT: Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said on Tuesday that Lebanon was not forming a new government fast enough and he had not seen serious headway made on the matter.
Political leaders and foreign donors have said Lebanon, which held a parliamentary election on May 6, needs to establish a government quickly to maintain confidence in the country and get to work on reforms to help an ailing economy.
“It is important for political forces to be aware that time is not on our or anyone’s side. Therefore we urgently need to accelerate...the formation of a new government,” Khalil said in a statement from his office.
“We have not seen serious movement in forming a government so far. As finance minister I repeat my warning and stress the need to speed it up so that the new government can get to work on the source of the problems and work on fixing them.”
Following May’s election, Lebanon is being run by a caretaker government while Prime Minister-designate Saad Al-Hariri forms a new Cabinet.
Lebanon is the world’s third-most indebted nation with a debt-to-GDP ratio of more than 150 percent. It climbed from around 130 percent in 2011, before war in neighboring Syria, and the arrival of more than a million refugees, depressed growth and paralyzed government decision-making.
The dire economic situation and unsustainable public debt levels are top priorities for the next government.
The International Monetary Fund has said Lebanon’s debt trajectory is unsustainable and needs immediate action, otherwise debt-to-GDP could hit 180 percent by 2023.