Qatar hands response to Gulf, Arab demands to Kuwait

Qatar on Monday handed its official response to a list of demands by Saudi Arabia and its allies to the emir of Kuwait, delivered by the Qatari foreign minister who made a short visit to Kuwait, which is acting as a mediator to resolve the diplomatic rift. (AFP/ HO / EMIRI DIWAN)
Updated 03 July 2017

Qatar hands response to Gulf, Arab demands to Kuwait

KUWAIT: Qatar on Monday handed its official response to a list of demands by Gulf, Arab to the emir of Kuwait, a Gulf official told AFP.
The response was delivered by Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani who made a short visit to Kuwait, which is acting as a mediator to resolve the diplomatic rift, the Gulf official said, requesting anonymity.
The official KUNA news agency reported that Sheikh Mohammed arrived in Kuwait earlier in the day to deliver a message from Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
No details were provided about the Qatari response but the foreign minister said on Saturday that the demands by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt “were made to be rejected.”
The Qatari response was delivered hours after the four nations accepted a call by Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to extend the 10-day deadline for another 48 hours.
The demands include Doha ending support for the Muslim Brotherhood, closing broadcaster Al Jazeera, downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran and shutting down a Turkish military base in the emirate.


New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company

Updated 08 July 2020

New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company

  • Regulation of electricity sector a key condition of international bailout for collapsing economy

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s government finally appointed a new board of directors on Tuesday to control the state-owned electricity company.
Electricite du Liban (EDL) has long been mired in allegations of corruption and fraud. Its annual losses of up to $2 billion a year are the biggest single drain on state finances as Lebanon faces economic collapse and the plunging value of its currency.
Reform of the electricity sector has been a key demand of the International Monetary Fund and potential donor states before they will consider a financial bailout.
“Lebanon’s electricity policy has been inefficient and ineffective for decades — always on the brink of collapse, but staying afloat with last minute patchwork solutions,” said Kareem Chehayeb of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington, DC.
“The economic crisis has made fuel imports more expensive, causing a shortage, with external generator providers hiking their prices or seeking business in Syria. It is a wake-up call to decades of overspending and poor planning of a basic public service.”
The World Bank has described the electricity sector in Lebanon as “tainted with corruption and waste,” and the IMF said “canceling the subsidy to electricity is the most important potential saving in spending.”
Electricity rationing was applied for the first time to hospitals and the law courts, but Minister of Energy Raymond Ghajar said: “The first vessel loaded with diesel for power plants has arrived, and as of Wednesday the power supply will improve.”
Prime Minister Hassan Diab promised the Lebanese people on Tuesday that they would see the results of government efforts to resolve the country’s financial chaos “in the coming weeks.”
Addressing a Cabinet meeting, Diab said: “The glimmer of hope is growing.” However, the appointment of an  EDF board of directors was criticized by opposition politicians. Former prime minister Najib Mikati said the appointments meant “the crime of wrong prevailing over right … is being repeated.”