Arab League to boycott Labour conference over Corbyn snub

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament's Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain's opposition Labour party Leader Jeremy Corbyn as he speaks during Prime Mininster's Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons in London, in this September 13, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 21 September 2017
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Arab League to boycott Labour conference over Corbyn snub

LONDON: Arab ambassadors canceled a reception at next week’s Labour party conference after claiming that Saudi and Sudanese representatives were barred from attending.
The row comes just days before Labour party members gather in Brighton.
In a letter sent to all UK MPs on Thursday, The League of Arab States said: “Unfortunately, the Council of Arab Ambassadors has taken the decision to cancel its annual reception and buffet dinner and boycott the Labour Party conference this year, due to the rejection of the application of both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Sudan to attend the conference.”
The reception is an annual event and is usually hosted by the Council of Arab Ambassadors, including all Arab ambassadors in the UK.
The Arab Ambassadors meet regularly to discuss Arab-British relations.
A Labour spokesperson confirmed in a statement to Arab News that its national executive committee had refused to accept the Saudi Embassy’s application to attend the event because of the country’s military campaign in Yemen.
But there was confusion over whether Sudan had applied to attend the event. While the Arab League claimed Sudan’s application was rejected, Labour said it was not received.
The Embassy of Sudan was not immediately available for comment.
However, an embassy spokesman was quoted by Al-Hayat saying: “The Labour Party decision is part of a clear pattern of double standards and the Arab decision was taken unanimously.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is known for his hostile stance toward Saudi Arabia, has publicly called for the UK to stop selling arms to the Kingdom, most recently in an interview with the BBC on Sept. 11.
He told the World At One that the UK should stop supplying weapons that are being used in the war in Yemen.
“We are selling arms to Saudi Arabia — and at the same time we are sending aid in, we should not be doing both,” he said.
He added it was it was important to ensure there was “a political process to bring about a cease-fire”.
Labour’s annual conference — which is expected to be its biggest ever — is being held from Sept. 24 over four days at the Brighton Center.


Libya’s coast guard recovers five bodies from migrant boat

African migrants rescued from a ship off the coast of Zuwara, about 130 kilometres west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, sit alongside of bodies of others who died, at the dock in the capital's naval base on June 18, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 19 June 2018
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Libya’s coast guard recovers five bodies from migrant boat

  • Since January, some 10,760 migrants have crossed from Libya to Italy, more than 80 percent less than during the same period last year
  • Since last summer, smuggling networks inside Libya have been disrupted under Italian pressure

TRIPOLI: Libyan coast guards said on Monday they had recovered the bodies of five migrants and picked 191 survivors off the coast west of the capital Tripoli.
Libya’s western coast is the main departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe by the sea, though the number of crossings has dropped sharply since last July.
The five dead migrants were brought back to port in Tripoli on Monday along with 115 survivors from various sub-Saharan African and Arab countries, coast guard officials said.
Their boat was intercepted off Mellitah on Sunday after being damaged by rough seas, according to Ayoub Qassem, a coast guard spokesman.
Another group of 76 migrants was intercepted on Sunday off Zawiya, just west of Tripoli.
Since last summer, smuggling networks inside Libya have been disrupted under Italian pressure and Libya’s EU-backed coast guard has stepped up interceptions, returning more than 7,000 migrants to Libya so far this year.
Since January, some 10,760 migrants have crossed from Libya to Italy, more than 80 percent less than during the same period last year, according to statistics from Italy’s interior ministry.
Last week, crossings in the central Mediterranean were thrown into further uncertainty when Italy’s new government closed its ports to a rescue ship operated by humanitarian organizations that was loaded with more than 600 migrants.
It eventually docked in Spain.