Macron urges Tehran to 'pressure' Syria to halt Eastern Ghouta offensive

French President Emmanuel Macron. (AFP)
Updated 04 March 2018

Macron urges Tehran to 'pressure' Syria to halt Eastern Ghouta offensive

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron has asked his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani to put pressure on the Syrian government to end attacks against Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta region and allow humanitarian aid to flow.
In a phone conversation on the eve of Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian's trip to Tehran, the two presidents agreed to work together in the coming days with the United Nations, Damascus and other countries who are involved to improve the situation for civilians and make a ceasefire effective.
France also expects Iran to make a "constructive contribution" to solving crises in the Middle East, the presidency statement said.
Violence has escalated in eastern Ghouta, despite a U.N. ceasefire call a week ago and the bombing of the besieged Syrian enclave represents a "simply unacceptable" punishment of civilians, the United Nations said on Sunday.
Le Drian also said that Iran needed to address concerns over its ballistic missile programme or risk new sanctions.
Iran said France's concern over its ballistic missile programme was "wrong", the semi-official Fars News agency said. 


Oman’s ruler back home after medical checkup in Belgium

Updated 13 December 2019

Oman’s ruler back home after medical checkup in Belgium

  • Sultan Qaboos has ruled Oman since he succeeded his father in 1970
  • The sultan has no known successor for his throne in Oman

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Oman’s 79-year-old ruler has returned to his sultanate after traveling to Belgium for a medical checkup, the sultanate’s state-run news agency reported Friday.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said left “for some medical checks that will take a limited period, God willing,” the Oman News Agency reported a week earlier, citing a royal court statement. A similar royal statement announced his return, without elaborating.

Bin Said has taken medical trips abroad in the past. The sultan has ruled Oman since he succeeded his father in 1970. He has no known successor for his throne in Oman, a country on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula that’s home to some 4.6 million people.