UK FM Boris Johnson says Iranian missiles fired at Saudi Arabia ‘unacceptable’

Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson has called the launching of Iranian missiles at Saudi Arabia from Yemen is “unacceptable”. (REUTERS)
Updated 07 March 2018
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UK FM Boris Johnson says Iranian missiles fired at Saudi Arabia ‘unacceptable’

LONDON: The launching of Iranian missiles at Saudi Arabia from Yemen is “unacceptable” and Tehran’s role in the country should be constrained, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said.
In an interview with Arab News’ sister newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, Johnson said Britain understood “Saudi Arabia’s need to defend itself and we understand his Royal Highnesses desire to protect his country.”
“It’s unacceptable that Iranian missiles are being used against Saudi Arabia and we wish to see an end to that,” the foreign secretary said.
Saudi Arabia, which is leading an Arab military coalition in Yemen in support of government forces against Iran-backed rebels, has been targeted by missiles fired across the border. Many are shorter range, hitting areas near the border, but the Houthis have increasingly launched longer range ballistic missiles, including several targeting Riyadh that were shot down.
UN experts in January reported they had “identified missile remnants” and other military equipment brought into Yemen of Iranian origin that violated an arms embargo.
Britain drafted a UN Security Council resolution last month on renewing an arms embargo on Yemen that would have put pressure on Iran over the supply of missiles to the Houthis. The council eventually adopted a resolution that failed to condemn Tehran after Russia vetoed the British version, drawing an angry reaction from the US and London.
In the interview published as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman started his three-day visit to the UK, Johnson said he agreed with Arab states’ concerns over Iran’s role in the region. “We want to see Iran’s role in Yemen constrained,” he said.
Johnson said Britain understands the legitimate government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was removed and there’s a UN resolution calling for him to be restored and that the Arab coalition is seeking to achieve that.
But he added that it was going to be difficult to get an exclusively military solution and that there needs to be political progress.
Prince Mohammed’s visit is expected to include discussions on security and the conflicts playing out in the Middle East.
Johnson described the situation in Syria as a “major tragedy” and said he agreed with Saudi Arabia on the need to relaunch negotiations in Geneva to start a political process.
He condemned the regime bombardment of Eastern Ghouta that has killed hundreds in the past two weeks and that the regime should be held accountable for its “disgusting” chemical attacks.
Johnson also said the raft of reforms launched in Saudi Arabia encouraged the UK to bolster cooperation with the kingdom.
He praised the Crown Prince for shifting Saudi Arabia away from its dependence on oil, adding that this opened up possibilities for partnership in cultural, health, transportation, technology, education and political fields.


From ‘minga’ to ‘Maga’ — how the UN heard two world views

US President Donald Trump during a working luncheon hosted by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, front, at the United Nations in New York Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 26 September 2018
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From ‘minga’ to ‘Maga’ — how the UN heard two world views

  • Trump had his own ideas for solving those very same problems, but they owed little to the minga philosophy

NEW YORK: The president of the United Nations General Assembly, Maria Espinosa, introduced the concept of “minga” to the packed audience at the organization’s HQ on East 44th Street in New York; but an hour later President Donald Trump had reasserted his own view of the world, under the “Maga” banner.
Opening the first day of the UN general debate — the centerpiece of the organization’s annual get together — Espinosa, from Ecuador, explained that minga was a principle by which the people of the Andes lived their lives. Its main tenet was the principle of living and working together in harmony for the betterment of all — an idea sure to win approval at the UN.
With minga the world could solve the big issues it faces, from gender inequality through the environment down to peace and security.
Trump had his own ideas for solving those very same problems, but they owed little to the minga philosophy. Instead, he saw the world through the prism of “strong independent nations” which together would advance the state of mankind.
And, as he made clear, the US was the leader of this band of nation, so his oft-declared amibition of “making America great again” (Maga) would bring the rest of the world along with it to greatness.
“Inside everyone listening here today is the heart of a patriot, filled with the passion that inspired reform and revolutions, economic good, technological progress and works of art. Sovereign independent nations are the only vehicles where freedom, democracy and peace have been enhanced. So we have to protect them,” the president explained.
Not everyone in the audience agreed with Trump’s unilateral view of the world, nor with America’s perceived role in it.
Before he had taken the podium — in presidential dark grey suit, white shirt and long red tie — the two previous speakers had stressed the traditional UN values of collectivism and multilateralism, and received warm applause from the delegates for doing so.
Two South American leaders, President Michel Timer of Brazil and President Lenin Moreno of Ecuador, both talked about the challenges of multilateralism, and obliquely criticized the US over its long-running embargo of Cuba, as well as what they said was the role of American banks in dominating their economies, to the detriment of their people.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said that multilateralism was “under fire exactly when we need it the most, and, in contrast to Trump’s later comments about trade deficits, explained that what the world was really suffering from was a “trust deficit”, which could sink the international order in a bloody quagmire similar to the First World War.
President Trump made light of such dire warnings. In fact, he was adamant that the future was good, with a booming US economy, strong stock markets, full employment, tax reform and increased see spending on the US military.
“In the two years of my presidency, we have seen more progress that almost any other administration in the history of this country,” he said. The delegates murmured in response.