Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait and Jordan hold Arab security talks

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, (second left) with foreign ministers from other Arab countries at the talks in Jordan. (AFP)
Updated 01 February 2019
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Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait and Jordan hold Arab security talks

  • The meeting covered the goal of achieving “security and stability in the interest of Arab benefit.” 
  • The six-hour talks were “positive, constructive”

AMMAN: Top diplomats from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan concluded talks on Thursday aimed at coordinating policy on the multiple conflicts gripping the region.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the ministers “exchanged views on regional issues and ways of cooperation to overcome regional crises.” He said the meeting was “positive and productive.”

The meeting at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Center on the Dead Sea also covered the goal of achieving “security and stability in the interest of Arab benefit.” 

The six-hour talks were “positive, constructive, and allowed a wide dialogue with an open agenda on the developments in the region and ways to face common challenges and enhance cooperation and coordination to serve Arab issues and interests,” Safadi said.

He described the meetings as a “consultation between brothers and friends.”

The meeting was attended by Sameh Shoukri of Egypt, Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah of Kuwait, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of the UAE, Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa of Bahrain and the Kingdom’s Adel Al-Jubeir. 

“The meeting was aimed at finding ways of bringing Syria back to the Arab fold,” former Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Mamdouh Abadi told Arab News, adding that the focus had been the future of Syria not Iran.

But a former Jordanian royal adviser, Adnan Abu Odeh, said the Syria issue was complicated. “Everyone is thinking now of bringing Syria back to the Arab League and the rebuilding efforts in Syria. But the Syrians threw a monkey wrench into the process when they signed a long-term agreement with Iran regarding economic cooperation and the rebuilding of Syria,” he told Arab News.

Former Jordanian Minister Asma Khader said the aim of such meetings was reaching a consensus on difficult issues.

The Dead Sea six-party meeting did not have any Palestinian representation, for example. 

“While the event was held on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea it would have been more productive if a Palestinian official was invited,” she told Arab News. “Any meeting without Palestinians will not be able to confront the biggest regional challenge of the Palestinian cause. Ordinary Arabs are supportive of Iran and Turkey precisely because of their position on the Palestinian issue.”

The foreign ministers also met Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who urged “the importance of coordinating Arab positions on regional issues,” according to the royal court.


Turkey bans rally for Kurdish MP on hunger strike

A member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) reacts next to policemen during a demonstration in solidarity with a HDP lawmaker on hunger strike in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir, on February 15, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 16 February 2019
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Turkey bans rally for Kurdish MP on hunger strike

  • Ocalan, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Turkish police on Friday prevented supporters from rallying outside the home of a pro-Kurdish lawmaker on hunger strike for 100 days.
The protest bid coincides with the 20th anniversary of the capture of Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is jailed in a notorious prison island near Istanbul.
Leyla Guven of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), launched her action on Nov. 8 while in jail to protest against Ocalan’s prison conditions.
She was freed last month under judicial supervision but continued her protest, refusing any treatment. Guven, 55, is consuming only sugared or salted water.
Police on Friday blocked supporters from approaching Guven’s house in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir after a rally called by the HDP, an AFP correspondent said.
“The biggest task ahead of us today is to turn every aspect of life into an arena for struggle and support hunger strikes at the highest level,” HDP MP Dilan Dirayet Tasdemir said.
“This dark picture and severe conditions of fascism can only be broken through our organized struggle,” Tasdemir said.
More than 200 prisoners are on hunger strike to protest what they call Ocalan’s isolation, according to the HDP.
Ocalan, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011.
The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
Ocalan was caught in Kenya outside the Greek Embassy in Nairobi on Feb. 15, 1999 by Turkish secret service agents after attempting to seek asylum in Europe.
Turkish authorities last month allowed Ocalan’s brother Mehmet to see him, the first visit in over two years.