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.


France urged to suspend boat delivery to Libya over migrant concerns

Updated 16 sec ago
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France urged to suspend boat delivery to Libya over migrant concerns

  • The demand was laid out in a legal challenge that was filed at the administrative court in Paris on Thursday morning

PARIS: Eight international NGOs including Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) demanded on Thursday that France suspend the delivery of boats to Libya’s coast guard on concerns they would be used to intercept migrants.

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly had in February agreed to donate six boats to the Libyan navy, under which the coast guard operates, in a move she said was aimed at helping them “in the fight against illegal immigration.”

But the offer angered rights groups who said they would be used to block migrant boats seeking to reach Europe, forcing those on board to return to war-torn Libya.

The demand was laid out in a legal challenge that was filed at the administrative court in Paris on Thursday morning.

In it, the groups demand “the suspension of the decision” until the court decides whether or not the donation is legal. The court has 48 hours to make a decision.

The NGOs believe forcing people to return to Libya would expose them to “serious human rights violations.” Massimo Moratti, regional director for research at Amnesty International, said the pledge to deliver boats to the Libyan coast guard was “an unlawful and reckless decision.”

He said it was all the more dangerous at a time when fighting has intensified after Eastern commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on the capital Tripoli earlier this month.

“Doing it now, as the armed conflict in Libya escalates, is even more callous and irresponsible,” Moratti said in a statement, warning the donation would make France “complicit” in trapping people inside the country.

The NGOs accused the coast guard of having a bad track record in respecting those in distress at sea, saying it should not be given the logistical means to step up such abuses.

The statement accused the coast guard of abuses including pushing those in distress back into the water, threatening them with weapons and firing toward them.

The six vessels, which are to be delivered in the coming weeks, are 12-meter, semi-rigid boats made by French specialist Sillinger.

Besides Amnesty and MSF, the legal petition was joined by France’s Human Rights League, immigrant support group GISTI, Lawyers Without Borders, migrant aid groups La Cimade and Migreurop and Italian research and aid group ASGI.