Saudi minister denies his country involved in Iran attacks

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attends a joint press conference with his German counterpart at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin on June 7, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 07 June 2017
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Saudi minister denies his country involved in Iran attacks

BERLIN: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister rejected an accusation by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards that his country was behind twin attacks in Tehran on Wednesday that killed at least 12 people.
Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the parliament building and the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in the Iranian capital. . Islamic State claimed responsibility and released a video purporting to show gunmen inside the parliament.
Speaking in Berlin, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said there was no evidence to implicate Saudi Arabia in the attacks in Tehran, which is Riyadh’s arch regional rival.
“We condemn terrorist attacks anywhere they occur and we condemn the killing of the innocent anywhere it occurs,” Jubeir told an event hosted by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the think- tank of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union.
He said Riyadh had no knowledge of who was responsible for the attacks, and denied that Saudi groups were behind it.
“We don’t know this. We haven’t seen the evidence,” he said, repeating Riyadh’s longstanding view that Iran is the primary sponsor of terrorism around the world.
Jubeir said Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries would be willing to reestablish normal ties with Iran if it changed its behavior and stopped supporting militants and fighters in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere across the region.
On Monday Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar and closed their airspace to commercial flights, accusing Doha of funding militant groups and backing Iran in the region.
Jubeir said on Wednesday there was no specific trigger for the decision to cut ties with Qatar, but said there was a long list of grievances.
He declined to confirm a list of 10 demands published by Al Jazeera, which included shutting down the Doha-based news channel, but added that Qatar knew what it needed to do to restore normal relations.


Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

Updated 17 July 2019
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Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

  • The constitutional declaration is expected to be signed on Friday
  • The deal aims to help the political transition in Sudan

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s ruling military council and an opposition alliance signed a political accord on Wednesday as part of a power-sharing deal aimed at leading the country to democracy following three decades of autocratic rule.

The agreement, which ended days of speculation about whether a deal announced earlier this month would hold, was initialed in Khartoum in the presence of African mediators following a night of talks to iron out some details of the agreement.

Sudan’s stability is crucial for the security of a volatile region stretching from the Horn of Africa to Libya that is riven by conflict and power struggles.

The deal is meant to pave the way to a political transition after military leaders ousted former President Omar Al-Bashir in April following weeks of protests against his rule.

At least 128 people were killed during a crackdown that began when security forces dispersed a protest camp outside the Defense Ministry in central Khartoum in June, according to medics linked to the opposition. The Health Ministry had put the death toll at 61.

A political standoff between Sudan’s military rulers and protesters threatened to drag the country of 40 million toward further violence before African mediators managed to bridge the gap between the two sides.

General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council, hailed the agreement as the start of a new partnership between the armed forces, including the paramilitary forces he leads, and the opposition coalition of Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC).

Ibrahim Al-Amin, an FFC leader, said the accord signaled a new era of self-reliance for Sudan’s people.

“We want a stable homeland, because we have suffered a great deal,” Amin said in a speech after the ceremony.

Ethiopian mediator Mahmud Dirir said Sudan, long under international isolation over the policies of Bashir’s Islamist administration, needed to overcome poverty and called for the country to be taken of a US list of states that support terrorism.

The sides are still working on a constitutional declaration, which is expected to be signed on Friday.

Power-sharing deal

Under the power-sharing deal reached earlier this month, the two sides agreed to share power in a sovereign council during a transitional period of just over three years.

They also agreed to form an independent government of technocrats to run the country and to launch a transparent, independent investigation into the violence.

The power-sharing agreement reached earlier this month called for a sovereign council comprised of 11 members — five officers selected by the military council, five civilians chosen by the FFC and another civilian to be agreed upon by both sides.

The constitutional declaration will now decide the duties and responsibilities of the sovereign council.

The military was to head the council during the first 21 months of the transitional period while a civilian would head the council during the remaining 18 months.

But the agreement was thrown into doubt when new disputes surfaced last week over the military council’s demand for immunity for council members against prosecution.

The military council also demanded that the sovereign council would retain ultimate decision-making powers rather than the government.