Putin to meet with Israeli PM, Iranian official in Moscow

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech as he attends the International Cybersecurity Congress in Moscow, Russia July 6, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 11 July 2018
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Putin to meet with Israeli PM, Iranian official in Moscow

  • Netanyahu said before boarding a flight to Moscow that he would have a “very important meeting” with Putin
  • A senior Iranian adviser traveled to Moscow on Wednesday for a meeting with Putin

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold separate meetings with the Israeli prime minister and a senior Iranian official before his summit with US President Donald Trump next week.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before boarding a flight to Moscow that he would have a “very important meeting” with Putin on Wednesday to “discuss Syria, Iran and Israel’s security needs.”
Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also traveled to Moscow on Wednesday for a meeting with Putin.
Both the United States and Israel are concerned about Iran’s growing military presence in Syria, where it has provided crucial aid to President Bashar Assad’s forces. Russia, another key ally of Assad, has said it is unrealistic to expect Iran to fully withdraw from the country.


Skepticism over whether Zardari will pursue united opposition

Zardari described the PTI leader as “prime minister-select.” (AFP)
Updated 41 min 49 sec ago
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Skepticism over whether Zardari will pursue united opposition

  • Pakistan Peoples Party leader, and former president, Asif Ali Zardari said on Sunday he is willing to talk to Nawaz Sharif despite political reservations
  • Some analysts believe the emergence of an opposition alliance remains unlikely for the foreseeable future

KARACHI: Senator Mushahidullah Khan, a leading figure in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, said on Monday that the actions of former president Asif Ali Zardari will show whether he is genuinely interested in forging a united opposition front against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led administration of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Zardari, the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, described the PTI leader as “prime minister-select” during a news conference on Sunday. He also voiced his grievances against Nawaz Sharif but added that it was still possible to have talks with the former prime minister.
“Nawaz Sharif is responsible for whatever is happening to me today,” he said, complaining that the legal cases he faces were lodged against him under Sharif’s administration.
However, Mushahidullah Khan said that it was not the PML-N leader who was responsible for the cases against Zardari, but the corrupt practices of the former president that created a situation where he now has to face National Accountability Bureau and anti-graft tribunals.
“We may proceed toward a joint opposition against the incumbent government,” he added. “Zardari’s statement is important but it will be his conduct in the next few days that will show how seriously he wants it to happen.”
“Unlike our political faction, Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party has formed its government in the province of Sindh, so it is unlikely to join the combined opposition at the very first instance. Still, it is good that he has realized the need to join hands with the rest of the opposition to oust Imran Khan since the PTI government has a fake mandate that can be undone.”
Zarrar Khuhro, a political analyst in Karachi, said: “When Imran Khan came to power, the opposition was fragmented. Now it seems to be moving a bit closer together.
“If it suits the political interests of political parties, they will join hands against Prime Minister Imran Khan — but it will depend on the political calculations and circumstances that can change.”
Afrasiab Khattak, a senior member of the Awami National Party, said it was important to build a strong opposition alliance.
“The challenges of Pakistan have compounded,” he said. “They can only be fixed when all democratic forces join hands together and sign a new charter of democracy like they did in 2006.
“If political parties fail to play their role in the current situation, they will become irrelevant. They must unite for the sake of democracy.”
However, Mazhar Abbas, a senior political analyst, said that the emergence of a major opposition alliance is not very likely in the foreseeable future.
“The speed of fake account cases against Zardari will determine the pace of his movement toward the joint opposition,” he said. “If there will be any opposition, it will be inside the parliament and not outside of it.”
He added that the coming sessions of parliament will determine whether Zardari’s statement was anything more than just talk.
“We will see if they move any joint resolution in parliament,” he said.