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 crown prince calls for establishing health center dedicated to Pakistani hero

Updated 12 min 2 sec ago
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Saudi crown prince calls for establishing health center dedicated to Pakistani hero

  • The directive was issued during the crown prince’s visit to Pakistan on the first leg of his Asia tour
  • Khan managed to save 14 lives, but he drowned as he attempted to rescue the 15th person.

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has called for the creation of a health center in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province dedicated to the memory of a Pakistani hero who saved 14 lives in Jeddah’s 2009 floods, Saudi state-news agency SPA reported.

The directive was issued during the crown prince’s visit to Pakistan on the first leg of his Asia tour.

In November 2009, as flash floods roared through the port city, Farman Ali Khan secured a rope to his waist and jumped into the water to rescue people.

He managed to save 14 lives, but he drowned as he attempted to rescue the 15th person.

He was posthumously awarded the King Abdul Aziz Medal of the First Order by the Saudi government and Pakistan’s Tamgha-e-Shujat by then President Asif Ali Zardari. 

“What this man displayed is a rare act of heroism,” said Rania Khaled, an account executive in Jeddah. “He didn’t pause to think of where these people came from or their nationality — all he cared about was that everyone survived the terrible flood. As a result, he lost his life and that’s what makes his tale so heroic. He cared for humanity, not just his own well-being and safety.
“He set a very high example of what a human should aspire to be. Your background, race and nationality shouldn’t matter; what matters is that we all stand together and help each other. I think if people lived with a similar mindset to that of Khan, the world would be a better place.”
Razan Sijjeeni, a photography instructor in Jeddah, said: “I think what Khan did was not only heroic but also human. It says a lot about the kind of person he was in that moment when he chose to risk his life to save others. He gives us a lot to reflect on — who we are today and how much we should value human lives that are not necessarily related to us.”
Nora Al-Rifai, who is training to be a life coach, said that she hopes Khan’s widow and three daughters continue to receive the help and support they deserve.
“It’s a nice gesture that a Jeddah street was named after him as a reminder to all of us and the next generations of his selflessness and heroism.”