Qatar emir to visit White House in July

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 10 June 2019

Qatar emir to visit White House in July

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump will host Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the White House next month, the White House said in a statement on Friday.

The two leaders will discuss "economic and security ties" and counterterrorism issues during the July 9 visit, the White House said, amid a US effort to build pressure on the Iranian regime.

Qatar has maintained cordial relations with Tehran even as other Arab states led by Saudi Arabia have cooperated with Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran.

Saudi Arabia and its allies the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have boycotted Qatar for two years, unhappy about Doha's insistence on maintaining its own approach to regional relations and links with Iran and terrorist organizations. Doha denies any such links.

Qatar is also slated to take part in the June 25-26 Bahrain conference on the Trump administration's Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, where Washington hopes to raise financial pledges to support the Palestinian economy


Lebanon president to chair crisis talks over weekend violence

Updated 16 min 50 sec ago

Lebanon president to chair crisis talks over weekend violence

  • The meeting will touch on “security developments” in the country
  • Lebanon has been without a government since outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri resigned on October 29

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s under-fire president is set to meet Monday with top security officials to discuss rare violence over the weekend that left hundreds wounded in the protest-hit country.

Michel Aoun will be joined by the care-taker ministers of the interior and defense as well as the chiefs of the military and security agencies in the early afternoon, his office said in a statement.

The meeting will touch on “security developments” in a country rocked since October 17 by unprecedented protests against a political class deemed incompetent, corrupt and responsible for an ever-deepening economic crisis.

It will also address “measures that need to be taken to preserve peace and stability,” the state-run National News agency (NNA) reported.

Demonstrators at the weekend lobbed stones, firecrackers and street signs at riot police, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets to clear a flashpoint road near parliament.

Over the most violent weekend in three months of street protests, some 530 were wounded on both sides, according to a toll compiled by AFP from figures provided by the Red Cross and Civil Defense.

Lawyers and rights groups have condemned the “excessive” and “brutal” use of force by security forces.

Human Rights Watch accused riot police of “launching tear gas canisters at protesters’ heads, firing rubber bullets in their eyes and attacking people at hospitals and a mosque.”

Internal Security Forces, for their part, have urged demonstrators to abstain from assaulting riot police and damaging public or private property.
Protesters had called for a week of “anger” over the political leadership’s failure to form a new government even as the debt-ridden country sinks deeper into a financial crisis.

Lebanon has been without a government since outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri resigned on October 29 in the face of popular pressure.

Political factions agreed on December 19 to appoint former education minister Hassan Diab as the new premier but have since squabbled over ministerial posts and portfolios.

Protesters have demanded a new government be comprised solely of independent experts, and exclude all established political parties.

The United Nations’ envoy to Lebanon pinned the blame for the violence on politicians.

“Anger of the people is understandable, but it is different from vandalism of political manipulators, that must be stopped,” Jan Kubis wrote on Twitter on Saturday.