Iran foreign minister visits Oman, Qatar amid diplomatic standoff

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani greets Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif during their meeting in Doha on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 03 October 2017
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Iran foreign minister visits Oman, Qatar amid diplomatic standoff

DUBAI: Iran’s foreign minister on Tuesday met with Qatar’s emir as a quartet of Arab states continues its boycott of the energy-rich nation, in part over relations that Doha maintains with Tehran.
Zarif on Monday met with Omani officials, including Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who has ruled Oman since 1970 and has served as an interlocutor between the West and Iran.
Zarif was met by Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, the minister responsible for foreign affairs, on his arrival in Muscat.
Topics of discussion included the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and other issues, according to Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency.
Zarif called Oman’s relations with Iran “exemplary,” and told Omani state television that “we also live in a very difficult neighborhood and we want to engage in continuous consultation.”
On Tuesday, Iranian state media published images of Zarif in Doha meeting with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. It marks Zarif’s first trip to Qatar since the diplomatic crisis began in June.
“None of the regional crises have a military solution,” Zarif said at the meeting, according to Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency. All sides should “give priority to regional initiations for restoring collective stability and security.”
A short report on the state-run Qatar News Agency said the two “exchanged views on the current situation in the region,” without elaborating.
Iran and Qatar have strong shared commercial interests, namely a massive offshore natural gas field, called the South Pars Field by Tehran and the North Field by Doha.


Netanyahu defends Gaza ceasefire after Israeli criticism

Updated 53 min 5 sec ago
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Netanyahu defends Gaza ceasefire after Israeli criticism

  • ‘Our enemies begged for a ceasefire and they knew very well why’
  • The deal has provoked criticism from within Netanyahu’s government

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday defended his decision to accept a ceasefire after the worst escalation with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip since a 2014 war.
“In times of emergency, when making decisions crucial to security, the public can’t always be privy to the considerations that must be hidden from the enemy,” he said at a ceremony in honor of Israel’s founding father David Ben-Gurion.
“Our enemies begged for a ceasefire and they knew very well why.”
The deal has provoked criticism from within Netanyahu’s government as well as from Israelis who live near the Gaza Strip and want further action against its Islamist rulers Hamas.