Crown prince of Abu Dhabi departs Islamabad after day-long visit

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, leaves Islamabad after his one-day long visit to Islamabad on Jan.06, 2019. (Photo courtesy: UAE Embassy Pakistan)
Updated 07 January 2019

Crown prince of Abu Dhabi departs Islamabad after day-long visit

  • Government’s talks with the UAE on setting up an oil refinery in Pakistan “reached final stage” during visit
  • Implementation of 40 development and humanitarian projects worth $200mn launched in the country

ISLAMABAD: Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan departed from the capital after his day-long official visit to Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan received the crown prince at the Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi where an artillery unit honored him with a 21-gun salute, and the PM himself drove his guest to the Prime Minister House.

A Pakistani minister, speaking to Associated Press (AP), says the government’s talks with the UAE on setting up an oil refinery in Pakistan “reached their final stage” during the visit of the crown prince.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Faisal said on Sunday: “The crown prince, upon the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, is visiting Pakistan after nearly 12 years.”

“This is the third interaction between the leadership of the two countries in less than three months, a testimony to the special nature of brotherly relations with the GCC country,” the statement added.

PM Khan, in order to acquire financial assistance to tackle Pakistan’s economic crisis, has visited the UAE twice since assuming office in August. In return, the UAE pledged $3billion in balance of payments support and oil supply on deferred payments.

“We are hoping the crown prince’s visit will result in Pakistan getting oil on a deferred payment facility, forex assistance to ease balance of payment’s difficulties, preferred investment contracts for UAE firms willing to work in Pakistan and cooperation on exchange of information on Pakistani persons holding assets in the UAE,” Dr Vaqar Ahmed, an economist who is also the joint executive director of a think-tank named Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), told Arab News.

During PM Khan’s visit to the UAE in November, the two countries agreed to chalk out a comprehensive roadmap to accelerate cooperation and partnership in areas specific to the trade, investment, economic development, energy, infrastructure, and agricultural sectors.

PM Khan and Sheikh Mohammed had also decided to hold the next Pakistan-UAE Joint Ministerial Commission, to be co-chaired by the respective Foreign Ministers, in Abu Dhabi, in February next month.

“A new page is being turned between both countries, $3 billion support to new Pakistani government proved to be a lifeline for the incumbent fiscal year,” Qamar Cheema, a strategic and political analyst, told Arab News.

“Pakistan needs to develop strategic partnership with the UAE as it’s too important to be ignored,” Cheema added.

Women cleared of defamation in French sexual misconduct case

In this Sept. 21, 2014 file photo, Denis Baupin, a prominent Green Party member and former Paris city official, takes part in a climate change demonstration in Paris. (AP)
Updated 20 April 2019

Women cleared of defamation in French sexual misconduct case

  • The court considered that the women and journalists acted in good faith, which is a defense for defamation under French law

PARIS: A Paris court has dismissed a defamation case against six women who accused a former French lawmaker of sexual misconduct and the journalists who reported the allegations.
The court on Friday ordered Denis Baupin to pay 1,000 euros ($1,120) in damages to each of the 12 people he sued.
In May 2016, investigative website Mediapart and radio station France Inter published and broadcast accounts from 14 women who alleged Baupin had groped, sexted or otherwise harassed them.
The prominent Green Party member resigned as vice president of the lower House of Parliament but denied wrongdoing and launched a defamation lawsuit against the six women who were identified in the reports, some witnesses and journalists.
The case had been under particular scrutiny in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
Women rights activists have seen it as a test of French women’s ability to speak out when they think powerful men have sexually harassed or abused them — and how journalists can report it.
The court considered that the women and journalists acted in good faith, which is a defense for defamation under French law.
In addition, it considered France Inter and Mediapart respected their additional obligations: the legitimacy of journalists’ goals in producing a story, demonstrating an absence of personal animosity, prudence and balance, and the quality of the investigation.
Most of the women who spoke about Baupin’s alleged behavior from 1998 to 2013 were fellow Green Party members, and outrage greeted their descriptions.
Four filed criminal complaints for sexual harassment at the time. A nine-month judicial investigation ended without charges. Prosecutors said the three-year statute of limitations had expired, but released a statement saying the women’s “measured, constant statements” and witness corroboration created a set of facts to support allegations of actions that “may for some of them be classified as criminal.”
The cleared women greeted the ruling with tears of joy and relief.
Lawyer Claire Moleon, a lawyer for one of them, told The Associated Press that “this is a great victory.”
“This is a very strong signal given by justice. It’s putting an end to a move that we were noticing to use defamation lawsuits to put more pressure on the victims of sexual harassment and sexual abuse,” she said.
Moleon stressed that Baupin’s order to pay damages to the people he sent on trial shows that “sanctions apply” to such cases.
During the February trial, women had described, often with lots of emotion, their alleged harassment through text messages and inappropriate comments, and in some cases, alleged sexual assault attempts.
Some former officials of France’s Green Party also testified in court, saying they should have acted earlier on reports of sexual misconduct. They stressed that the #MeToo movement has raised their awareness.
Baupin’s lawyer Emmanuel Pierrat, had argued his client did nothing illegal and had filed a defamation lawsuit to “fully clear his name.”
Baupin had decided not to attend the trial.