Qatar must shun ‘extremism’ to host World Cup, says Gargash

Anwar Gargash, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs.
Updated 10 October 2017
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Qatar must shun ‘extremism’ to host World Cup, says Gargash

DUBAI: Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, said Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup should depend on it rejecting “extremism and terrorism.”
The Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) — comprising Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE — severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of sponsoring extremist groups.
“Qatar’s hosting of World Cup 2022 should include a repudiation of policies supporting extremism and terrorism. Doha should review its record,” Anwar Gargash, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, wrote on Twitter.
“Hosting World Cup 2022 should not be tainted by support of extremist individuals and (organizations)/terrorist figures, review of Qatar’s policies a must,” he added.
The World Cup is the centerpiece of a carefully crafted strategy to project Qatar onto the global stage via sport. In the run-up, Qatar is scheduled to host events across different sports aimed at improving infrastructure and expertise.
Egypt is the top-ranked soccer team in Africa, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE are both in Asia’s top eight.
Last month officials from the ATQ did not turn up to the draw for a Middle East soccer tournament in Doha and said they wanted to postpone the competition that could be an early test for the World Cup hosts.
Qatari officials could not be immediately reached for comment on Gargash’s remarks.
Qatar has previously said that the rift has not affected its preparations to host the tournament and that alternative sources for construction materials had been secured.
Soccer’s governing body FIFA has said it has been in regular contact with Qatar since the row erupted.
Gargash made his comments after a former Dubai police chief wrote on Twitter this week that the Gulf crisis could end if Doha forfeited hosting the World Cup.
Gargash said the official, Dhahi Khalfan, had been misunderstood in media coverage.


Sudan protesters plan march on parliament, more demos

Updated 19 January 2019
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Sudan protesters plan march on parliament, more demos

KHARTOUM: A group that is spearheading anti-government protests across Sudan on Saturday said it plans to launch more nationwide rallies over the next few days, including a march on parliament.
Protests have rocked Sudan since December 19, when the government raised the price of bread, and since then have escalated into rallies against President Omar Al-Bashir’s three-decade rule.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella group of trade unions, in a statement called for a march on parliament Sunday to submit to lawmakers a memorandum calling for Bashir to step aside.
“We are calling for a march to parliament in Omdurman on Sunday,” it said referring to Khartoum’s twin city where parliament is located.
“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, on the west bank of the Nile.
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 group spearheading the protests 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.
On Friday, hundreds of mourners leaving the funeral of a protester had staged a spontaneous demonstration in the capital’s Burri district, while crowds of Muslim worshippers had launched another rally in a mosque in Omdurman, witnesses said.
Protesters chanting “freedom, peace, justice” have been confronted by riot police with tear gas at several rallies since the first protest erupted in the eastern town of Atbara on December 19 after the rise of bread price.
The government’s tough response has sparked international criticism, while Bashir has blamed the violence on unidentified “conspirators.”
Analysts say the protests have emerged as the biggest challenge to the veteran leader’s rule who swept to power in 1989 in an Islamist-backed coup.
The protests come as Sudan suffers from an economic crisis driven by an acute shortage of foreign currency and soaring inflation that has more than doubled the price of food and medicines.