Pompeo thanks Saudi crown prince for supporting UN Yemen envoy Griffiths during Middle East tour

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seen during a news conference with Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah (not pictured) in Kuwait City. (Reuters)
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Mike Pompeo and Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah exchange a signed document in Kuwait City. (AP)
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Mike Pompeo and Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah are seen during a news conference in Kuwait City. (AP)
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Mike Pompeo (L) and Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah give a joint press conference in Kuwait City. (AFP)
Updated 20 March 2019

Pompeo thanks Saudi crown prince for supporting UN Yemen envoy Griffiths during Middle East tour

  • Said he would discuss "strategic dialogue" and the need to combat "the threat posed by Iran"
  • Stops include Kuwait, Israel and Lebanon

LONDON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for supporting the efforts of the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths during his stop in Kuwait on a Middle East tour.

Speaking on Wednesday in Kuwait City, Pompeo said he and the crown prince both agreed on the need for both parties in the Yemeni conflict to commit to the regulations of the Sweden agreement of 2018.

Pompeo is visiting the region to bolster a united front against Iran, kicking off his regional trip in Kuwait where he met Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

Pompeo told reporters on the flight from the US that he would discuss "strategic dialogue" and the need to combat "the threat posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran" with leaders in the region.

After Kuwait Pompeo will fly to Israel before heading to Lebanon.

Pompeo is also pushing for a greater role for the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a US-sponsored Arab NATO aimed at uniting Washington's Arab allies against Tehran.

"We all have the same set of threats, threats from Al-Qaeda, from Daesh, threats from the Islamic Republic of Iran," Pompeo said at a joint press conference with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah.

Pompeo expressed hope that a regional rift between Gulf states and Qatar would abate, saying that resolving the issue would be in the region's best interests.

The foreign minister of Kuwait said he had also discussed with Pompeo the Gulf dispute, as well as the ongoing situations in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah said: "We hope the plan will take into account the situation in the region and all the relevant parties.

"We believe the strong relationship between the United States and several countries will lead to an acceptable resolution to all parties and to reaching a political solution that has been long waited for."

Pompeo said his talks on Wednesday also focused on enhancing defence and cybersecurity cooperation with Kuwait.

(With Agencies)


Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

Updated 23 August 2019

Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

  • The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide

CAIRO: Egypt is seeking Japan’s help to improve its education system, which has fallen to 130th place in international rankings.

The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide, and Cairo is hoping to apply key aspects of Japan’s approach to the Egyptian curriculum.

Education has played a major role in transforming Japan from a feudal state receiving aid following World War II to a modern economic powerhouse. 

During a visit to Japan in 2016, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi discussed political and economic development with Japanese officials, and was also briefed on the Japanese education system.

The Egyptian leader visited Japanese schools and called on Japan to help Egypt introduce a similar system in its schools.  

As part of Egyptian-Japanese cooperation, Japan’s embassy established cultural cooperation as well as technical and professional education links between the two countries. Collaboration has been strengthened from kindergarten to post-university, with Japanese experts contributing in various education fields.

Japanese experts have held seminars in schools across the country, focusing on basic education. 

During one seminar, Japan highlighted the importance of enhancing education by playing games during kindergarten and primary school, encouraging children’s ability and desire to explore.  

Education expert Ola El-Hazeq told Arab News that the Japanese system focuses on developing students’ sense of collective worth and responsibility toward society. This starts with their surrounding environment by taking care of school buildings, educational equipment and school furniture, for example.

“Japanese schools are known for being clean,” El-Hazeq said. “The first thing that surprises a school visitor is finding sneakers placed neatly in a locker or on wooden shelves at the school entrance. Each sneaker has its owner’s name on it. This is a habit picked up at most primary and intermediate schools as well as in many high schools.”

Japanese students also clean their classrooms, collect leaves that have fallen in the playground and take out the garbage. In many cases, teachers join students to clean up schools and also public gardens and beaches during the summer holidays.

El-Hazeq added that neither the teachers nor the students find it beneath their dignity to carry out such chores.

The academic year in Japan continues for almost 11 months, different from most other countries, with the Japanese academic year starting on April 1 and ending on March 31 the following year.

Japan’s school days and hours are relatively longer in comparison with other countries. Usually the school day is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Teachers normally work until 5 p.m. but sometimes up to 7 p.m. Holidays are shorter than in other countries. Spring and winter holidays are no longer than 10 days, and the summer holiday ranges from 40 to 45 days.