UK’s Prince William kicks off solo Middle East tour in Kuwait

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The UK’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, met with the Emir of Kuwait on Monday during his solo Middle East tour. (KUNA - Kuwait News Agency)
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Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, meeting with Kuwait's Minister of the Amiri Diwan (Royal Palace) Affairs, Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah. (KUNA - Kuwait News Agency)
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Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, meeting with Kuwait's Minister of the Amiri Diwan (Royal Palace) Affairs, Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah. (KUNA - Kuwait News Agency)
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Prince William uses a monocular during a visit at Kuwait's Jahra Pools nature reserve, 35kms north of the Kuwaiti capital. (AFP)
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Duke of Cambridge Prince William and director of Kuwait's environment public authority Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah. (AFP)
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Prince William walks with Sheikh Mohammed Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, deputy minister for royal affairs, and Sahar Al-Aqab, the director of cultural centres department at the royal palace. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2019

UK’s Prince William kicks off solo Middle East tour in Kuwait

  • Emir sent cable of condolence to Queen Elizabeth II and UK prime minister Boris Johnson after London Bridge attack
  • The Duke will also visit Oman on his journey to the region

KUWAIT CITY: The UK’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, met with the Emir of Kuwait on Monday during his solo Middle East tour.

The Duke of Cambridge was received by Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at the Bayan Palace, where the two enjoyed a five-course lunch.

During their meeting, which was attended by dignitaries, government ministers, ambassadors and religious leaders from the Muslim and Christian faiths, the Emir expressed his sympathies for the recent London Bridge Attack in which two people were killed.

He had sent a cable of condolence to Queen Elizabeth II and UK prime minister Boris Johnson on Saturday.

Also on Monday, Prince William visited the Jahra Nature Reserve where he was briefed on Kuwait’s efforts to preserve its natural habitats.

The Duke will also visit Oman on his journey to the region, which Kensington Palace said was a mission of strengthening British-Gulf cooperation.

“Throughout the tour, the Duke's programme will pay tribute to the historic ties Britain shares with Kuwait and Oman, and will highlight strong links and cooperation in many areas, including education, the environment, and defence,” a statement read.

“From the modern capitals of Kuwait City and Muscat, to the vast Kuwaiti deserts and stunning wadis in the Omani mountains, the visit will take in both countries' unique cultures, their beautiful landscapes, and diverse communities,” it added.


Iran’s top leader praises attack on US bases in Iraq

Updated 17 January 2020

Iran’s top leader praises attack on US bases in Iraq

  • Iran’s supreme leader delivered a Friday sermon in Tehran for the first time since 2012

DUBAI: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a Friday prayers sermon that Iran’s missile strikes on US targets in Iraq showed it had divine support in delivering a “slap on the face” to a world power.

Making the main weekly sermon in Tehran for the first time since 2012, with Iran and its clerical rulers under pressure at home and abroad, Khamenei also said that US sanctions imposed in a row over its nuclear program would not make Iran yield.

Thousands had gathered inside a large prayer hall in central Tehran and packed the area and streets outside the building, chanting “Death to America.”

The sermon was delivered after Iran’s rulers faced days of often violent protests after the military admitted to mistakenly shooting down an airliner in the tense hours after the missile strikes, which were in turn launched in retaliation for the US killing on Jan. 3 of a top Iranian commander, close to Khamenei.

“The fact that Iran has the power to give such a slap to a world power shows the hand of God,” Khamenei, saying the US killing of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, showed Washington’s “terrorist nature.”

US President Donald Trump, who pulled Washington out of a nuclear deal with Iran in 2018 and ratcheted up tension by reimposing US sanctions, had ordered the drone strike that killed Soleimani, who built up proxy militias across the region.

After days of denying a role in the plane crash, the Revolutionary Guards, a parallel military force answering directly to Khamenei that acts as guardian of Islamic Republic, finally admitted on Jan. 11 that one of its air defense operators mistakenly shot down Ukraine Airlines International flight 752.

Vigils for the 176 victims swiftly turned into protests against Iran’s rulers. “Death to Khamenei” was chanted at protests and spray painted on walls of Tehran and other cities. Such public criticism can result in a jail term in Iran.

Khamenei described the crash as a tragedy and a very sad incident that was used by Iran’s “enemies,” used to describe the United States and its allies, to overshadow the killing of Soleimani, whose funeral drew huge crowds onto the streets.

In the demonstrations after the downing of the airliner, police launched a sometimes crackdown and deployed riot police outside universities, where many students had protested.