Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Lebanon’s Maronite patriarch

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace shows Lebanon’s Christian Maronite patriarch Beshara Rai, right, meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on November 14, 2017. (Saudi Royal Palace via AFP)
Updated 14 November 2017
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Lebanon’s Maronite patriarch

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with Lebanon’s Maronite Christian Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai here on Tuesday.
Al-Rahi earlier met with Saudi King Salman on the second day of his first visit to Saudi Arabia.
He also held talks with Saad Al-Hariri, who announced his resignation as prime minister of Lebanon from Riyadh on Nov. 4.
Al-Rahi said Hariri will return home as soon as possible and that he supports Hariri’s reasons for resigning, according to media reports.
Hariri announced his resignation in a television broadcast, saying he believed there was an assassination plot against him and accused Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world.
Lebanese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abdul Sattar Issa, said the patriarch’s visit demonstrated the important steps taken by Saudi Arabia to modernize its institutions and to reinforce perceptions of Islam as a religion of moderation.


North Korea puts reunion of war separated families in doubt

A woman and a young child walk down a street together in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 7, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 43 min 42 sec ago
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North Korea puts reunion of war separated families in doubt

  • South Korea's current liberal President Moon Jae-in wants to expand ties with North Korea, but repatriating any of the women would be a delicate matter
  • There has been mounting speculation that some of the 12 North Korean women might have been truly duped into coming to South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea: North Korea said that an August reunion of Korean families separated by war may not happen if South Korea doesn’t immediately return some of its citizens who arrived in the South in recent years.
The 2016 arrival of a group of 12 female employees from a North Korean-run restaurant in China has been a source of contention between the rival Koreas. North Korea has accused South Korea of kidnapping them, while South Korea says they decided to resettle on their own will.
North Korea has often used the women as a reason to rebuff South Korea’s repeated request to allow elderly citizens split during the 1950-53 Korean War to reunite with each other briefly. But Friday’s statement is the North’s first attempt to link the fate of the women to the August reunion and comes amid worries that a global diplomacy to push the North to give up its nuclear weapons is making little headway after a detente of the past several months.
The North’s state-run Uriminzokkiri website said that the reunion and overall inter-Korean ties will face “obstacles” if Seoul doesn’t send back the women.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry said it has no comment on the Uriminzokkiri dispatch.
There has been mounting speculation that some of the 12 North Korean women might have been truly duped into coming to South Korea.
After meeting some of the women earlier this month, Tomas Ojea Quintana, the United Nations’ independent investigator on human rights in North Korea, told reporters in Seoul that they told him they did not know they were heading to South Korea when they departed China.
“Some of them, they were taken to the Republic of Korea without knowing that they were coming here,” Quintana said, referring to South Korea by its formal name. “If they were taken against their will, that may (be) considered a crime. It is the duty and responsibility of the government of the Republic of Korea to investigate.”
South Korean media had earlier carried a similar report, citing interviews with some of the women and their North Korean male manager who came to South Korea with them.
The women’s arrival happened when South Korea was governed by a conservative government, which took a tough stance on the North’s nuclear program. South Korea’s current liberal President Moon Jae-in wants to expand ties with North Korea, but repatriating any of the women would be a delicate matter, with many experts saying relatives of those who decide to stay in the South will certainly face reprisals by the North Korean government.