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.


Sudan police tear gas protesters ahead of parliament march

Updated 20 January 2019
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Sudan police tear gas protesters ahead of parliament march

  • Video clips circulating online show hundreds of security forces in Khartoum and more heading to nearby Omdurman
  • Longtime ruler Omar Al-Bashir insists there will be no change of leadership except through the ballot box

KHARTOUM: Sudanese police fired tear gas on Sunday at protesters ahead of a planned march on parliament in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum, witnesses said.

Demonstrators chanting “freedom, peace and justice” began gathering in some areas of Omdurman but were quickly confronted by riot police with tear gas, the witnesses said.

Deadly protests which erupted on December 19 after a government decision to raise the price of bread have turned into nationwide rallies against President Omar Al-Bashir’s three decade rule.

Officials say at least 26 people, including two security personnel, have died during a month of protests, while rights group Amnesty International last week put the death toll at more than 40.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella group of trade unions that is leading the ongoing protest movement, called for fresh demonstrations on Sunday and several days over the coming week.

“We are calling for a march to parliament in Omdurman on Sunday,” it said in a statement.

“The protesters will submit to parliament a memorandum calling on President Bashir to step down,” added the association, which represents the unions of doctors, teachers and engineers.

Over the past month, protesters have staged several demonstrations in Omdurman.

The SPA said there will also be rallies in Khartoum on Sunday, to be followed by night-time demonstrations on Tuesday in the capital and in Omdurman.

“And on Thursday there will be rallies across all towns and cities of Sudan,” the statement added.