Iraq’s top cleric Al-Sistani discharged from hospital

Shiite pilgrims pass a poster of Shiite spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, as they head to the shrine of Imam Moussa Al-Kadhim in Baghdad, Iraq. (File/AP)
Short Url
Updated 17 January 2020

Iraq’s top cleric Al-Sistani discharged from hospital

  • Al-Sistani underwent surgery Thursday at the Kafeel hospital in Karbala and was sent home Friday, officials at the hospital said
  • The cleric has been critical in calming tensions in recent months as the country faced crisis after crisis

KARBALA: Iraq’s most powerful cleric was discharged Friday from a hospital following a risky surgery for a fractured bone and returned to his home in southern Iraq, medical officials said.
Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, who turns 90 later this year, fractured a thigh bone when he slipped while bathing before evening prayers Wednesday night. The surgery was considered risky for his age and came amid ongoing tensions in Iraq following the US killing of a top Iranian general and a popular protest movement against the country’s ruling elite.
Al-Sistani’s opinion is often sought during troubled times and news that his surgery was successful prompted a flurry of well-wishes from senior officials.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “My prayers are extended along with the millions of Iraqis to whom he is a source of guidance and inspiration,” in a tweet early Friday.
Al-Sistani underwent surgery Thursday at the Kafeel hospital in Karbala and was sent home Friday, officials at the hospital said. He returned to his home in the holy city of Najaf. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.
The cleric has been critical in calming tensions in recent months as the country faced crisis after crisis beginning with mass protests seeking to unseat the political establishment and the recent US drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.


Egypt hosts talks over Libyan reconciliation process

Updated 11 min ago

Egypt hosts talks over Libyan reconciliation process

  • The Red Sea coast city of Hurghada has been playing host to discussions over stabilizing a cease-fire in the country

CAIRO: Talks aimed at paving the way for a political and economic solution to the conflict in Libya have been taking place in Egypt.

The Red Sea coast city of Hurghada has been playing host to discussions over stabilizing a cease-fire in the country, securing oil fields and oil installations, and establishing government institutions and infrastructure.

Officials taking part in the security meeting are working to set up military committees in the east and west of Libya with a view to them forming a unified force for the country and reaching a comprehensive settlement based on the outcomes of January’s Berlin Conference and the resulting Cairo Declaration.

Political adviser to the speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives, Fathi Al-Marimi, said all Libyan forces were currently gearing up for a meeting in Geneva next month with talks on the selection of a new presidential council — which would consist of a president, two deputies, a prime minister and two deputies representing the regions of Cyrenaica, Fezzan, and Tripoli — and economic, military, and security issues going forward.

During the first half of October, Cairo will host the largest conference for the Libyan national reconciliation process with the participation of officials, tribal elders, and other representatives, to map out a comprehensive peace plan.

Hassan Al-Mabrouk, a member of the preparatory committee for the reconciliation conference, said: “The committee contacted many leaders from various Libyan regions, including Misrata, Tripoli, and all regions of the west, south, and east, and they expressed their willingness to participate in the reconciliation conference in Cairo in October.”

He added that the committee urged Libyan authorities, the international community, and all relevant organizations to help solve the Libyan crisis and preserve the unity and sovereignty of the country without external interference. This would include the removal of mercenaries and the disbanding of militias.

National reconciliation could only be achieved through the immediate release of prisoners and detainees, Al-Mabrouk said, along with the implementation and generalization of a general amnesty law issued by the Libyan Parliament, and the return of displaced people.

He added that social leaders, scholars, and imams had a religious and social duty to succeed in bringing the nation together in peace and that 10 years of war, blood, destruction, waste of wealth and hatred among Libyans should provide sufficient food for thought.

“Holding the conference before the Geneva meeting will contribute to creating an atmosphere for the political transition by representing all groups in the next stage,” he said.