UN member states warned of Iran’s deadly policies

Wide view of the General Assembly meeting, in this October 26, 2016 photo, at the thirty-second plenary meeting of the General Assembly, at the UN in New York. (AFP)
Updated 13 November 2016
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UN member states warned of Iran’s deadly policies

NEW YORK: Iran’s repeated intervention in the internal affairs of Arab countries has come under severe criticism in a letter delivered to the UN General Assembly.

In their letter to UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson, 11 countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Sudan and Yemen, also condemned Iran’s sponsoring of terrorism in the region — particularly in Yemen — where it financially, strategically and militarily supports the Houthis.
The group warned the UN member states about Iran’s expansionist policies, flagrant violations of the principle of sovereignty, constant interference in the internal affairs of Arab states, as well as destabilizing and fomenting tension in the Middle East.
Iran’s training of Houthi militias and illegal shipments of weapons and ammunitions into Yemen are in blatant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 2216 (2015) and 2231 (2015), said the group.
The countries condemned the Houthi attack on a UAE civilian vessel ‘Swift’ in the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab on Oct. 1 — a clear violation of international law that the members of the UN Security Council considered a threat to freedom of navigation in the shipping passage.
The group stated that the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen was launched in response to a request for assistance from the Government of Yemen in full conformity with international law and the right to self-defense stipulated in Article 51 of the UN Charter.
This request was noted in UN Security Council Resolution 2216, 2015.
The Saudi-led coalition aims to protect Yemen and its people from the continuing aggression of the Iran-backed Houthis and to help Yemen counter terrorism.
The group of co-signatories confirmed the importance of the work of Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN special envoy on Yemen, in achieving a comprehensive peace agreement to end the conflict in Yemen, in accordance with the GCC initiative, the National Dialogue Conference outcome and its implementation mechanism, and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
The group reiterated that any interference by Iran is unacceptable and must be confronted.
The countries called on Iran to stop promoting regional insecurity and stressed that “the stability and economic prosperity in the Arabian Gulf region is founded on the importance of maintaining good neighborliness and the principles of sovereignty, independence, and non-interference in domestic affairs.”
The letter also reaffirmed that the three islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa in the Arabian Gulf are an integral part of UAE territory, and called on Iran to return the occupied islands to their rightful owner.
Though affirming support for the nuclear deal reached with Iran, the co-signatories highlighted that although this agreement provided an opportunity for Iran to develop normal relations with its neighbors and demonstrate a commitment to regional stability, Iranian aggression in the region has instead continued, along with Iran’s support for terrorist groups.
The letter to the UN General Assembly was in response to the right of reply made by an Iranian representative at the end of the general debate of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly on Sept. 26.
The letter, signed by each country’s permanent representative, was sent to UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson. It was also delivered to all 193 member states.


German court says Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers

Updated 19 min 13 sec ago
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German court says Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers

  • The case was brought by an Israeli student living in Germany
  • Frankfurt court ruled that because the flight required a stopover in Kuwait City, it was “factually impossible” to transport the passenger

FRANKFURT: A German appeals court on Tuesday ruled that it could not prevent Kuwait Airways from banning Israeli passengers, even though it believed the policy amounted to discrimination.
The case was brought by an Israeli student living in Germany, who in 2016 bought a ticket online to travel from Frankfurt to Bangkok with Kuwait Airways.
The state-owned airline canceled the ticket soon after saying Kuwaiti law prohibits all commercial relations with Israelis and Israeli companies.
The higher regional court in Frankfurt ruled that because the flight required a stopover in Kuwait City, which is under Kuwaiti jurisdiction, it was “factually impossible” for the airline to transport the passenger.
The finding was similar to a ruling reached by a lower German court last year.
In a statement, the court acknowledged that the outcome was “unsatisfying” for the plaintiff but said it had no choice but to dismiss his demand to be able to book a new journey to Bangkok with Kuwait Airways.
A request for financial compensation was also denied.
The judges nevertheless slammed Kuwait’s Israel boycott as discriminatory and “incompatible with German values,” but said changing it was a matter for politicians.
The non-profit Lawfare project, which is representing the Israeli passenger, said it was considering a further appeal.
“This is a tragic day for German law,” said Lawfare’s executive director Brooke Goldstein.
“Rather than be held accountable before the law, the court has rewarded Kuwait Airways for its anti-Semitism.”
In 2015, Kuwait Airways opted to scrap all its flights between New York’s JFK airport and London Heathrow after US authorities threatened legal action over its refusal to sell tickets to Israelis.