Russia urges Gulf nations to consider a joint security mechanism

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was attending a security conference in New Delhi, India. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 January 2020

Russia urges Gulf nations to consider a joint security mechanism

  • Tensions in the Gulf have risen following the US killing of Iranian military commander General Qassem Soleimani
  • Lavrov said unilateral sanctions were a problem in today’s world

NEW DELHI: Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday Moscow has been urging Gulf countries to consider a common security mechanism for the region and it was time the world got rid of unilateral measures such as sanctions.
“We have been suggesting to the Gulf countries to think about collective security mechanisms ... starting with confidence building measures and inviting each other to military exercises,” Lavrov told a security conference in Delhi.
Tensions in the Gulf have risen following the US killing of Iranian military commander General Qassem Soleimani and a retaliatory missile attack by Iran on US forces in Iraq.
“Since I mentioned about Arabian Gulf, we are very much concerned about what is going in there,” Lavrov said.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is also attending the conference in Delhi that comes just a day after Britain, France and Germany formally accused Iran of violating the terms of its 2015 agreement to curb its nuclear program, which eventually could lead to the reimposing of UN sanctions.
Iran’s Fars news agency quoted Zarif as saying overnight that the use of the dispute mechanism was legally baseless and a strategic mistake.
Lavrov said unilateral sanctions were a problem in today’s world.
“So the 21st century is the time when we must get rid of any methods of dealing in international relations which smack of colonial and neo-colonial times. And sanctions, unilaterally imposed sanctions, they are not going to work.”
After pulling out of the Iran deal, the United States slapped sanctions back on Iran and has gradually increased its “maximum pressure” campaign targeting the Islamic Republic’s revenues from oil, mining and other industries. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Tuesday for US President Donald Trump to replace the Iranian nuclear deal with his own new pact to ensure the Islamic Republic does not get an atomic weapon.
Trump said in a tweet he agreed with Johnson for a “Trump deal.”
US Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger will also be addressing the Delhi meeting on Thursday.

Iran’s president warned Wednesday that European soldiers in the Mideast “could be in danger” after the three nations challenged Tehran over breaking the limits of its nuclear deal.

President Hassan Rouhani’s remarks in a televised Cabinet meeting represent the first direct threat he’s made to Europe as tensions remain high between Tehran and Washington over President Donald Trump withdrawing the US from the deal.

“Today, the American soldier is in danger, tomorrow the European soldier could be in danger,” Rouhani said. He did not elaborate, though European forces have deployed alongside Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rouhani separately criticized Europe’s “baseless” words regarding the nuclear deal. Iran had been holding out for Europe to offer a means by which Tehran could sell its oil abroad despite US sanctions. However, a hoped-for trading mechanism for other goods hasn’t taken hold and a French-pitched line of credit also hasn’t materialized.

After Soleimani’s killing, Iran announced it would no longer abide by any of the nuclear deal’s limits, which had been designed to keep Tehran from having enough material to be able to build an atomic bomb if it chose. However, Iran has said it will continue to allow the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog access to its nuclear sites. Rouhani on Wednesday also reiterated a longtime Iranian pledge that Tehran doesn’t seek the bomb.

The European nations reluctantly triggered the accord’s dispute mechanism on Tuesday to force Iran into discussions, starting the clock on a process that could result in the “snapback” of UN and EU sanctions on Iran.

The Europeans felt compelled to act, despite objections from Russia and China, because every violation of the deal reduces the so-called “breakout time” Iran needs to produce a nuclear bomb, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told parliament. Under the deal’s limits, experts believed Iran needed a year to be able to have enough material for a weapon.


Yemeni president in US for annual medical checkup

Updated 13 August 2020

Yemeni president in US for annual medical checkup

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi touched down in the US for his annual medical checkup on Thursday, the Yemeni Embassy in the US said.
Ambassador Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak received Hadi at the airport in Cleveland, Ohio, where the appointment is due to take place, and “reaffirmed his utmost best wishes to the president for continued good health,” the embassy said in a brief statement.
Hadi left for the US after appointing a new governor and a new security chief in Aden, and mandating new Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed to form a new government. Hadi has travelled regularly to Cleveland for medical treatment since becoming president in early 2012, reportedly suffering from heart problems.
Saeed asked the governor, Ahmed Hamid Lamlis, to focus his efforts on reviving public institutions in Aden, restoring peace and security and fixing basic services that have been hit hard by years of instability. The official Saba news agency reported that the prime minister pledged Lamlis his government’s full support.
Saeed also entered discussions with various political factions in Yemen with a view to forming his government. Abdul Malik Al-Mekhlafi, an adviser to President Hadi, said on Twitter that the administration would be announced within a month, as the internationally recognized government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) enacted security and military components of the Riyadh Agreement.
The STC recently rescinded a controversial declaration of self-rule under a new Saudi-brokered proposal to accelerate the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.
Signed by both sides in late 2019, the agreement was designed to end hostilities in Aden and other southern provinces. Under the deal, the government and the STC were agreed to withdraw their forces from contested areas in southern Yemen, move heavy weapons and military units from Aden and allow the new government to resume duties.
Meanwhile, a judiciary committee assigned by the country’s attorney general to investigate reports of thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate stored at Aden’s port found hat the material was in fact a different fertilizer, urea, which could also prove hazardous if mixed with other materials.
In a letter addressed to the Yemen Gulf of Aden Ports Corporation, Judge Anes Nasser Ali, a local prosecutor, ordered the port’s authorities to remove the urea from the city.
Shortly after the tragic explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut last Tuesday, Fatehi Ben Lazerq, editor of the Aden Al-Ghad newspaper, ignited public uproar after suggesting 4,900 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in 130 containers had been gathering dust at the port for the last three years, which could cause an equally destructive explosion. The story prompted the country’s chief prosecutor, politicians and the public to call for an investigation.