GCC slams Syrian elections as ‘farce’

Updated 03 June 2014
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GCC slams Syrian elections as ‘farce’

Foreign ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have labeled the elections in Syria as a farce.
They dismissed the vote as a way for President Bashar Assad to stay in power and prolong the country’s bloody three-year conflict.
The final communiqué released after the GCC ministerial meeting here Monday night said that holding the elections and the resulting nomination of Assad would “undermine Arab and international efforts to solve the ongoing crisis.”
The Saudi delegation to the GCC ministerial meeting was led by Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, deputy minister of foreign affairs.
A GCC official said that “no credible vote can be held in Syria when several regions of the country are outside state control and millions of people have left the country to live as refugees.”
The GCC also stressed the importance of turning war criminals in Syria over to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The foreign ministers expressed concerns over the Russian and Chinese “vetoes against any UN Security Council draft resolution regarding the Syrian issue.”
The GCC foreign ministers also urged the international community to take strong punitive action against Syria because Assad’s actions pose a direct threat to the security of neighboring countries.They also called on the P-5+1 group of nations to ensure that Iran scales down its uranium enrichment program.
In his opening speech at the GCC ministerial meeting, Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s foreign minister, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the GCC, urged the international community to “take measures to protect unarmed citizens and to ensure delivery of humanitarian assistance to Syrian citizens in besieged areas.”
Sabah said the GCC countries were looking forward to Iranian talks on a host of regional issues including Syria to ensure “security and stability” in the region. On the Palestinian issue, he reaffirmed the GCC support for a viable Palestine state.
On Egypt, Sabah praised the government there for holding successful elections and hoped that the country’s strategic role would be enhanced regionally and internationally.
The meeting was attended by Omani Foreign Minister Yousef bin Alawi, Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah. Abdullateef Al-Zayani, the GCC secretary general, also attended the session.


Saudi defense partnerships signed at Paris Air Show

Updated 52 min 38 sec ago
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Saudi defense partnerships signed at Paris Air Show

PARIS: Saudi defense chiefs signed a number of strategic partnerships with major global companies while taking part in the prestigious Paris Air Show.
The pavilion of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) company received a succession of key aerospace-industry figures during the Kingdom’s first exhibition appearance at the world’s largest aviation event.
High-profile visitors welcomed by SAMI chief executive offer, Andreas Schwer, included chairman of the SAMI board of directors, Ahmad Al-Khatib, deputy chairman of the SAMI board of directors and chairman of the board of directors of the Local Content and Government Procurement Commission, Dr. Ghassan Al-Shibl, and president of the General Authority for Civil Aviation, Abdulhadi bin Ahmed Al-Mansouri.
The pavilion also received a senior delegation from the Saudi Presidency of State Security, along with the director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser.
During the second day of the air show, which runs until June 23 at Le Bourget airport in Paris, SAMI officials took part in meetings and signed strategic partnerships with global businesses involved in the four areas of the company’s work, namely air and ground systems, weapons, missiles and defense electronics.
At a signing ceremony in the SAMI pavilion, company chiefs also put pen to paper on a joint project agreement with US aerospace and defense company L3 Technologies for cooperation in the field of electro-optical and infra-red technology and special task systems inside Saudi Arabia. In February, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the joint project.