14 deals signed as UAE aims $75bn investments in India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan shake hands following a meeting in New Delhi on January 25, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 27 January 2017

14 deals signed as UAE aims $75bn investments in India

NEW DELHI: The UAE and India signed 14 pacts, including defense and energy, as part of groundwork for a strategic partnership between the two countries.
The pacts were signed following a meeting between Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The agreements aim at establishing cooperation in defense manufacturing and technology, research, innovation, and cooperation between public and private sector institutions of the two countries.
The two countries will also collaborate in armaments, defense industries and transfer of technology.
In a joint statement issued at the end of the state visit, the two leaders reviewed the progress in realizing the $75 billion target for UAE investments in India’s plans for rapid expansion of next generation infrastructure development, as reported by WAM.
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd. (ISPRL), agreed to establish a strategic crude oil storage in the southern Indian city of Mangalore.
ADNOC will store about 6 million barrels of oil at Mangalore, taking up about half of the site’s capacity, said Sunjay Sudhir, joint secretary for international cooperation at the Indian Oil Ministry.
The agreement with ISPRL, an Indian government-owned company mandated to store crude oil for emergency needs, covers the storage of 5.86 million barrels of ADNOC crude oil in underground facilities, at the Karnataka facility.
Copies of the agreement were exchanged by Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO, and India’s Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, at a ceremony in New Delhi.
Dr. Al-Jaber said: “This agreement, championed by the leadership of both countries, introduces a new strategic energy partnership with India that leverages the UAE and ADNOC’s expertise and oil resources.
“This mutually beneficial partnership will create opportunities for ADNOC to increase its market share in delivering high quality crude to India’s expanding refining industry, while also helping India meet its growing energy demand and safeguard its security.
“India is an important energy market and this storage agreement reinforces ADNOC’s role as one of the world’s most trusted and reliable suppliers of oil. We will utilize the Mangalore facility to not only build on our existing business relationships across India but also to explore new downstream opportunities for ADNOC’s expanding range of refined and petrochemical products,” he added.
Pradhan said: “It is our hope that this strategic agreement will build on the strong bonds of cooperation between our two nations and provide the foundation for a mutually beneficial energy partnership.”


UN agency for Palestinian refugees on tenterhooks over probe

A Palestinian refugee holds a placard at a school belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in the town of Sebline east of the southern Lebanese port of Saida, on March 12, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 October 2019

UN agency for Palestinian refugees on tenterhooks over probe

  • UNRWA’s budget for this year is $1.2 billion, with around 90 percent of that being linked to paying for the 30,000 staff it employees, most of them teachers, doctors and nurses

BRUSSELS: The UN agency for Palestinian refugees is waiting anxiously on the outcome this month of a probe into alleged mismanagement that has dented its already severely depleted funding, one of its top officials said Monday.
The UN Relief and Works Agency hopes the results of the investigation will enable it to get past the scandal that has worsened a cash crunch threatening the school and health services it provides to 5 million Palestinians.
UNRWA’s director for West Bank operations Gwyn Lewis told AFP in Brussels: “We’re waiting with bated breath because it obviously has financial implications.”
She said the conclusions of the probe are expected to be delivered “around the end of October” to UN chief Antonio Guterres, who would then issue public and internal “follow-up steps.”
The timing is crucial as the agency’s three-year mandate is up for renewal this month, and money is tight.
UNRWA has been skating on very thin financial ice since last year, after US President Donald Trump decided to suspend, then yank entirely his country’s contribution to the agency’s budget, robbing it of its top donor.
Those woes were compounded by the allegations of abuse by the agency’s management, leading other key donors — the Netherlands and Switzerland — to snap shut their purses.
That has left the agency struggling to provide the schooling, medical and sanitary programs it runs for Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza.
According to a copy of an internal UN report obtained by AFP in July, senior management at UNRWA engaged in “sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain.”

FASTFACT

The UN Relief and Works Agency hopes the results of the investigation will enable it to get past the scandal that has worsened a cash crunch threatening the school and health services it provides to 5 million Palestinians.

Lewis did not confirm those allegations, noting only “rumors” and leaks to the media.
“None of us have actually seen it,” she said of the report, adding: “Our sense is that it’s not about financial misappropriation or corruption, it’s linked to management and human resources issues.”
She did note that the agency’s deputy chief, Sandra Mitchell, had been replaced in August by an acting deputy commissioner-general tasked with strengthening human resources and financial oversight.
Lewis said she was in Brussels for two days of meetings with European Commission officials to shore up UNRWA’s mandate renewal and, importantly, to maintain funding.
Despite program cutbacks, the agency faces an $89 million shortfall for the rest of this year, she said, and “financial uncertainty” beyond that.
UNRWA’s budget for this year is $1.2 billion, with around 90 percent of that being linked to paying for the 30,000 staff it employees, most of them teachers, doctors and nurses. Making up for the pulled US funding was a “challenge,” she said.