Hariri goes on charm offensive in Davos

Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon at WEF 2018. (Screen grab)
Updated 24 January 2018
0

Hariri goes on charm offensive in Davos

DAVOS: Saad Hariri, the prime minister of Lebanon, went on a charm offensive at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, with a series of high-level meetings with world leaders and the declaration: “My relationship with Saudi Arabia is at its best.”
Hariri, who resigned his position in Riyadh in November, but reversed that decision back in Lebanon, told a session at the meeting: “What has happened in the past is in the past. We now have to look to the future.”
He said that Lebanon’s economic and fiscal challenges were pressing, and pinned his faith on an investor conference due to take place in Paris, and on his country’s relationship with its Gulf neighbors — singling out Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“The relationship with the Gulf countries has brought many benefits and helped Lebanon on many occasions. In 2006, when there was a war in my country, who came to help us? The Gulf states,” he said.
Hariri said that he was seeing lots of things in Saudi Arabia “that I never thought I’d see. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is doing it with a lot of openness. I think what is happening in Saudi Arabia is good and the youth, in particular, agree with it.”
It is understood that the Lebanese prime minister also met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir who addressed the gathering earlier in the day.
After meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan and his wife, Queen Rania, Hariri stressed that “Lebanon is keen on ensuring excellent relations with all Arab countries,” according to an official Lebanese government statement.
He said: “We have confirmed that all political components are committed to Lebanon’s self-distancing policy, and the king of Jordan has shown great support for Lebanon. Soon, there will be official visits to Jordan for discussing the issue of displaced people.”
Hariri’s activities on the sidelines of the forum started by meeting with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. 
He also warned that Iran was “a country that has to be dealt with — and each country must find its own way of doing this.”
Speaking about US President Donald Trump’s policy toward Iran over the nuclear issue, he said: “I don’t know where the Trump policy is going, but there are issues that have to be resolved. Iran cannot meddle in other countries’  affairs, like Yemen.”


India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

Updated 22 September 2019

India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

  • India’s coast guard seized $42 million worth of ketamine

NEW DELHI: India’s coast guard has arrested six Myanmar men and seized $42 million worth of ketamine after spotting a suspicious vessel in the Indian Ocean near the Nicobar Islands.
The 1,160-kilogram drug haul came after coast guard aircraft spotted the boat, which had its lights off, on Wednesday in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the defense ministry said in a statement.
The boat’s crew did not respond to radio calls and the coast guard eventually boarded it, with officials finding “57 gunny bundles of suspicious substance” on Friday.
“Preliminary analysis ... revealed that the suspicious substance was ketamine and there were 1,160 packets of 1kg each onboard the vessel,” the ministry added.
The six Myanmar men and cargo were taken to Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where they were questioned by investigators.
They claimed they left Myanmar on September 14 and were due to rendezvous with another boat “operating near the Thailand-Malaysia maritime border line” on Saturday, the statement said.
The Nicobar Islands are located near Southeast Asia, off Myanmar’s coast.
Parts of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand are in the lawless “Golden Triangle” zone, the world’s second-largest drug-producing region after Latin America.
Large amounts drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine are churned out in remote jungle labs each year and smuggled across Asia and beyond.