India to ignore US sanctions on Iran, Venezuela: minister

Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sushma Swaraj (R) stands next to her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javed Zarif before a meeting in New Delhi on May 28, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 28 May 2018
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India to ignore US sanctions on Iran, Venezuela: minister

NEW DELHI: India will keep trading with Iran and Venezuela despite the threat of fallout from US sanctions against the two countries, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said Monday.
Swaraj, asked at a news conference whether US action against Iran and Venezuela would damage India, said the country would not make foreign policy “under pressure.”
US President Donald Trump this month withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and ordered the reimposition of sanctions suspended under the 2015 accord.
Washington has also tightened sanctions against Venezuela over the controversial re-election of President Nicolas Maduro.
Both countries are key oil suppliers to India and the United States has warned that foreign companies which deal with Iran could themselves be punished.
But Swaraj said New Delhi did not believe in “reactionary” policies and would not be dictated to by other countries.
“We don’t make our foreign policy under pressure from other countries,” she told a news conference.
“We believe in UN sanctions but not in country-specific sanctions.”
Swaraj’s comments came just before a meeting with her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in New Delhi.
Bilateral trade between India and Iran amounted to $12.9 billion in 2016-17. India imported $10.5 billion worth of goods, mainly crude oil, and exported commodities worth $2.4 billion.
India has other interests in Iran, in particular a commitment to build the port of Chabahar on the Gulf of Oman.
The port is being touted as a way for India to establish trade routes that bypass rival Pakistan.
Media reports have speculated India could revive a rupee-rial payment arrangement with Iran to shield exporters from the heat of US sanctions.
Swaraj also said India would continue trading with Venezuela, but there was no plan to use its local cryptocurrency in oil trade.


Riyadh, Beirut stress need to confront Islamic extremism

Updated 33 min 59 sec ago
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Riyadh, Beirut stress need to confront Islamic extremism

  • Saudi-Lebanese Parliamentary Friendship Committee reaffirms the importance of restoring peace and harmony among all Arab countries

BEIRUT: A delegation from the Saudi Shoura Council, headed by Saleh bin Manea Al-Khalewi, began an official visit to Lebanon on Tuesday, meeting President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

It is the first visit of the council to Lebanon, to convene the first meeting of the Saudi-Lebanese Parliamentary Friendship Committee, headed by Tammam Salam.

Aoun praised “the fraternal relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia,” and reaffirmed “the paramount importance of restoring peace and harmony among all Arab countries, for the benefit of all,” wishing to establish “peace on solid foundations based on the principle of respect for the vital interests of every country.”

He underlined that political differences should not allow deviation from the principles of the Arab League charter, and hailed Saudi Arabia’s recent decision to lift the ban on its citizens traveling to Lebanon in time for the summer season, hoping that the “Kingdom witnesses further success and growth.

“Lebanon is more than ready to cooperate in all areas to achieve this end, especially in the presence of an important Lebanese community in the Kingdom that contributed to its prosperity,” he added.

Al-Khalewi underscored the “historic relations between the two countries and the two brotherly peoples,” emphasizing the importance of the ongoing support provided by the Kingdom to Lebanon. He also praised Aoun’s keenness to build Arab solidarity and consensus.

The committee discussed means of developing cooperation in legislative sectors in the two countries, serving the goal of greater Arab solidarity. Delegates agreed on the need for stability and peace in Arab countries, and the need to confront Islamic extremism leading to domestic and international acts of terrorism.