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.


Canada to announce marijuana legalization date soon

The federal government said provincial and territorial governments will need eight to 12 weeks following Senate passage and royal assent to prepare for retail sales. (AFP)
Updated 20 June 2018
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Canada to announce marijuana legalization date soon

  • Canada is following the lead of Uruguay in allowing a nationwide, legal marijuana market
  • Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in the US

TORONTO: The Canadian government said Wednesday it will soon announce the date when cannabis will become legal — but warned it will remain illegal until then.
The Senate gave final passage to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s bill to legalize cannabis on Tuesday. But Canadians will have to wait at least a couple of months to legally buy marijuana. The country will become the second in the world to make pot legal nationwide.
“The legislation is transformative,” said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, adding it “marks a wholesale shift in how our country approaches cannabis, leaving behind a failed model of prohibition.”
The federal government said provincial and territorial governments will need eight to 12 weeks following Senate passage and royal assent to prepare for retail sales. Legal sales are expected to start sometime in early or mid-September.
Wilson-Raybould suggested Trudeau could announce the legalization date as soon as later Wednesday, when the prime minister has an end-of-Parliament session press conference.
“The law still remains the law,” Wilson-Raybould said. “I urge all Canadians to continue to follow the existing law until the Cannabis Act comes into force.”
Canada is following the lead of Uruguay in allowing a nationwide, legal marijuana market, although each Canadian province is working up its own rules for pot sales. The federal government and the provinces also still need to publish regulations that will govern the cannabis trade.
Many questions remain unanswered, including how police will test motorists suspect of driving under the influence, what to do about those with prior marijuana convictions and just how the rules governing home cultivation will work.
The Canadian provinces of Quebec and Manitoba have already decided to ban home-grown pot, even though the federal bill specifies that individuals can grow up to four plants per dwelling.
“Provinces can set their own laws. If individuals are challenging that law, they can challenge it,” Wilson-Raybould said.
Former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who is the parliamentary secretary to the justice minister, said discussions for pardons of past convictions “can’t take place” until legalization is in effect.
In the neighboring US, nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana. California, home to one in eight Americans, launched the United States’ biggest legal marijuana marketplace on Jan 1.