Russia, China to stop bid to ‘sabotage’ Iran deal: Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi exchange documents in Beijing's Great Hall of the People in 2016. (File/AFP)
Updated 24 April 2018

Russia, China to stop bid to ‘sabotage’ Iran deal: Lavrov

  • Russian FM: Iran agreement “one of the biggest achievements in international diplomacy in recent times"
  • Trump has threatened to abandon the accord unless European capitals agree to supplement it with tougher controls on Iran’s missile program

BEIJING: China and Russia will block any attempts to “sabotage” the Iran nuclear agreement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday, as US President Donald Trump mulls whether to scrap the deal.

Trump has set a May 12 deadline to “fix” the 2015 accord, which curbs Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief and was the fruit of intense diplomacy involving the US, European powers, Russia and China.

“There are attempts to interfere with the international order upon which the United Nations depends,” Lavrov said after talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing.

“We said clearly with China that we will stop attempts to sabotage these agreements that were passed in a UN Security Council resolution,” Lavrov said.

He was speaking on the eve of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security bloc spearheaded by Moscow and Beijing.

Calling the Iran agreement “one of the biggest achievements in international diplomacy in recent times,” Lavrov said that “revising this document is unacceptable.”

Trump has threatened to abandon the accord unless European capitals agree to supplement it with tougher controls on Iran’s missile program and its future ability to enrich nuclear fuel.

His partners maintain that implementation of the agreement under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best way to prevent Tehran from seeking an atomic bomb.

Iran warned Saturday it was ready to “vigorously” resume nuclear enrichment if the US ditches the deal.

 

Putin visit

Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart also discussed an upcoming visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to China. Putin will travel to China in June and his visit will be in connection with a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Lavrov said.

“Today we focused on preparations for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to China,” Lavrov said during a press conference in Beijing, after a meeting with China’s top diplomat.

Earlier this month, Putin said he plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping several times this year: At the SCO, at a meeting of BRICS countries, at the G-20 Summit and at an Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, TASS cited him as saying.

Also on Monday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said German and French leaders will urge Trump not to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal since doing so could cause major problems.

Maas was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations in Canada, 

He also said the G-7 would formally call on Russia to contribute to solving the crisis in Syria.

Maas said that in upcoming meetings in Washington, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron would urge Trump to stay in the deal. The agreement offered Tehran relief from sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

“We believe it is extremely important to uphold this agreement. Were it to fail or the US to drop out, we would not have anything comparable to it and we fear that the situation would significantly deteriorate with everything that goes with it,” he said.


Archaeologist Zahi Hawass: ‘There isn’t a country that doesn’t love Egyptian archaeology’

Updated 17 October 2019

Archaeologist Zahi Hawass: ‘There isn’t a country that doesn’t love Egyptian archaeology’

  • With only 30 percent of Egyptian monuments discovered, there is no rush to pursue the remaining 70 percent which remain hidden underground, says Hawass

 CAIRO: World-renowned Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass has affirmed the importance of Egyptian archaeology around the globe.

“There isn’t a country that does not love Egyptian archaeology,” Hawass, who was minister of state for antiquities affairs, told Arab News.

With only 30 percent of Egyptian monuments discovered, Hawass said there was no rush to pursue the remaining 70 percent which remain hidden underground.

“We don’t want to discover everything. We want to start by preserving and preparing the historical monuments which we have discovered, then start thinking about what is still undiscovered,” Hawass said.

So, restoration and preservation are the main goals for now.

With the new Grand Egyptian Museum still in the works, it seems likely that archaeology will be put in the spotlight once again, with more room for Egyptian artifacts to be showcased and appreciated rather than hidden, as in the old Tahrir museum.

“No one in the world doesn’t know Egypt. Egyptian archaeology is in the hearts of all people all across the world,” Hawass said.

This explains the immense popularity the new museum is expecting, located as it is, minutes away from the Pyramids of Giza.

Another reason behind its expected popularity is the attention ancient Egyptian figures have received across the years.

“Among the most famous ancient Egyptian figures, even for those who are not interested in monuments, we have King Kufu, who built the greatest pyramid, because that pyramid is something everyone talks about,” Hawass said.

He added that King Tutankhamun was popular because his coffin was restored whole, as was King Ramses II, the most famous of Egyptian kings, and Queen Cleopatra. Each of these figures gained fame due to popular tales and monuments attached to them.

Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass. (AFP)

Hawass plays a crucial role in drawing awareness about Egyptian archaeology around the world as well as focusing on the current situation in Egypt.

“I lecture everywhere (about archaeology)” he said. “Two to three thousand people attend each of my lectures. So I take advantage of to tell people everywhere that Egypt is safe and that Egypt is run by a president whom we have chosen. I am trying to change the perception about Egypt.”

As part of his efforts to promote Egypt and Egyptian culture, Hawass recently visited Japan.

“They (the Japanese) love archaeology. I would never have expected to be famous in Japan, but as a result of their love of Egyptian archaeology, they know me,” Hawass explained.

This is but a speck in the eventful career Hawass has led — which all started by accident.

“As a child I wanted to become a lawyer, so I enrolled in law school at 16 but realized that it wasn’t something I could do. So I left law and decided to study literature. There they told me about a new section called archaeology,” Hawass said.

After graduating Hawass went to work for the government, which he dreaded, until his first project came along. Workers came across a statue hidden inside a coffin which he had to clean. During the process he found his passion for archaeology. He went on to pursue his graduate studies on the subject.

“I went from failure to success thanks to one thing: Passion. When a person is passionate about something, he excels in it.”

Hawass did not point out his most successful or most preferred moment in his career, so full his life has been of memorable events.

“You cannot prefer one of your children over another. They’re all in my heart, all of the discoveries I have made.”