UK envoy slams Russian ‘lack of humanity’ in Syria

UK envoy slams Russian ‘lack of humanity’ in Syria
Russia has been accused of a “lack of humanity” in the Syrian conflict by the UK’s Ambassador to the UN Karen Pierce after it was revealed that more than half of displaced people in Idlib province are children. (AFP)
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Updated 21 February 2020

UK envoy slams Russian ‘lack of humanity’ in Syria

UK envoy slams Russian ‘lack of humanity’ in Syria
  • Nearly 1 million people forced to flee Idlib since Dec. 1 amid regime attacks supported by Russia
  • 60 percent of that number are children

LONDON: Russia has been accused of a “lack of humanity” in the Syrian conflict by the UK’s Ambassador to the UN Karen Pierce after it was revealed that more than half of displaced people in Idlib province are children.
Pierce said the UN had recently been given a “sobering and frightening” briefing about the humanitarian crisis in Syria, where nearly 1 million people have been forced to flee Idlib since Dec. 1 amid attacks by regime forces supported by Russia.
She added that the report had revealed that more than 900,000 people were in “grave danger” as they escaped from the attacks in freezing winter conditions. Around 60 percent of that number are children.
Pierce, the UK’s ambassador-designate to the US, has been consistently critical of Russia’s involvement in the conflict, and accused Moscow of abusing the UN veto system to protect and help Syrian President Bashar Assad, who she said was “attacking his own people.”
She called on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Assad to “end indiscriminate and inhumane attacks” in the northwest of the country, which have led to innocent civilian casualties.
Pierce told Sky News: “I think it’s cynical of the Russians. I think it shows the lack of humanity. They would’ve seen the same footage and the scenes you’ve just shown your viewers, and yet they don’t want to do anything to try to protect civilians.”
She said the UN was ready and willing to back a cease-fire, but it could not happen until Moscow agreed to back it too.
“The UN wants to act and 13 members of the Security Council want to act, but we’re stopped from acting because of Russia, supported by China,” Pierce added.
“That’s the main thing — to get the Russians to restrain the Syrians and stop aiding them in the bombings that they’re doing, including the bombing of hospitals, which is against the Geneva Convention. Russia and the Syria regime don’t really care what price has to be paid by civilians.”
She also accused Assad of using the blocking of vital medical supplies to those in need as leverage in an attempt to regain control of rebel-held areas of the country.
“If Assad can’t put right the problems that led to the crisis in 2011-2012, then Syria will never be stable and the government of Syria will never be able to govern the whole of Syria,” Pierce said.
“So there are some very pressing, long-term questions to sort out as well as these immediate short-term needs.”
Her comments came after Russia on Friday proposed a summit on Syria that would include French, German and Turkish officials.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “concrete support” from France and Germany would be needed to bring an end to the conflict, and confirmed there would be no Turkish troop withdrawal from Idlib.


Turkey says it may negotiate maritime demarcation with Egypt if conditions allow

Turkey says it may negotiate maritime demarcation with Egypt if conditions allow
Updated 28 sec ago

Turkey says it may negotiate maritime demarcation with Egypt if conditions allow

Turkey says it may negotiate maritime demarcation with Egypt if conditions allow

ANKARA: Turkey and Egypt could negotiate a maritime demarcation agreement in the eastern Mediterranean if their ties, which have been strained, allow for such a move, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.
Last month, Egypt announced the start of a bid round for oil and natural gas exploration and exploitation in 24 blocks including some in the Mediterranean.
Speaking at a news conference with his Georgian counterpart in Ankara, Cavusoglu said Egypt’s exploration bids had respected Turkey’s continental shelf and that Ankara viewed this positively. 


UAE confirms 2,692 new COVID-19 cases, 16 deaths in last 24 hours

UAE confirms 2,692 new COVID-19 cases, 16 deaths in last 24 hours
Updated 17 min 11 sec ago

UAE confirms 2,692 new COVID-19 cases, 16 deaths in last 24 hours

UAE confirms 2,692 new COVID-19 cases, 16 deaths in last 24 hours
  • The country’s COVID-19 caseload is now at 399,463

DUBAI: The UAE confirmed 2,692 new coronavirus cases and 16 deaths on Wednesday as the Emirates continues to expand its testing of citizens and residents for the early detection of the highly contagious disease.

The country’s COVID-19 caseload is now at 399,463, with a total of 1,269 fatalities related to coronavirus.

Health officials have conducted 218,351 additional COVID-19 tests overnight, state news agency WAM said, with the total number of tests now over 31 million.

The UAE leads the world in terms of conducting coronavirus tests relative to the size of population, with infection rates compared to the total tests being among the lowest in the region and the entire world, WAM earlier said.

It is also tops the global tally on COVID-19 vaccinations after implementing a vaccination campaign to for residents and citizens to achieve mass immunity. More than six million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been provided and 3,614,070 people have been vaccinated to date, which accounts for 46.61 percent of the target population.


Pope says will make Iraq trip despite rocket attack

Pope says will make Iraq trip despite rocket attack
Updated 03 March 2021

Pope says will make Iraq trip despite rocket attack

Pope says will make Iraq trip despite rocket attack

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis said Wednesday he still expected to make his historic visit to Iraq in two days time, after a rocket attack on a military base hosting US-led coalition troops.
"The day after tomorrow, God willing, I will go to Iraq for a three-day pilgrimage. For a long time I have wanted to meet these people who have suffered so much," the 84-year-old Francis said in his weekly Wednesday address.
The Argentine pontiff asked for prayers for the trip, the first ever by a pope to Iraq, through which he hopes to encourage the dwindling Christian community to remain in their ancient homeland while broadening his outreach to Islam.
"I ask you to accompany this apostolic journey with your prayers so that it may take place in the best possible way and bear the hoped-for fruits," the pope said.
He added: "The Iraqi people are waiting for us, they were waiting for Saint John Paul II, who was forbidden to go. One cannot disappoint a people for the second time. Let us pray that this journey will be successful."
At least 10 rockets slammed into a military base in western Iraq hosting US-led coalition troops earlier on Wednesday, security sources said, leaving one civilian contractor dead.
The attack on the sprawling Ain al-Assad base in Iraq's western desert comes after several weeks of escalating US-Iran tensions on Iraqi soil.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for Francis said the pope would be travelling by armoured vehicle and that he would not be meeting crowds.
"This is a particular situation, that's why the transports will all be in a closed vehicle, meaning it will be complicated to see the pope on the streets," spokesman Matteo Brunei said.
"There will be a number of meetings but none will be more than a few hundred people," he said.


New government takes oath before Kuwait emir

New government takes oath before Kuwait emir
Updated 03 March 2021

New government takes oath before Kuwait emir

New government takes oath before Kuwait emir

DUBAI: Kuwait Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah called on the executive and legislative authorities in his country to cooperate as a new government took oath before him, according to state-run news agency KUNA. 

Sheikh Nawaf received at his Bayan Palace the prime minister, Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah to swear-in as head of cabinet.
Ministers of the new government were also sworn in.

The previous government had resigned in January.
Oil Minister Mohammad Abdulatif Al-Fares, Finance Minister Khalifa Hamade and Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah were reappointed in the new cabinet.

 


COVID-19: UAE soon one of first countries to vaccinate most of population

COVID-19: UAE soon one of first countries to vaccinate most of population
Updated 03 March 2021

COVID-19: UAE soon one of first countries to vaccinate most of population

COVID-19: UAE soon one of first countries to vaccinate most of population
  • The UAE has been ranked as one of the top countries in coronavirus jabs by Our World in Data
  • It has also approved four coronavirus vaccines

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates will soon be one of the first countries in the world to vaccinate most of its population against coronavirus, TV channel Al-Arabiya reported.
“With the dedicated effort of the UAE government to combat the pandemic – for which we are truly thankful for, and the willingness of the general public to support the programs led by the government, UAE may soon be the first country to vaccinate its entire population and hence, reach herd immunity,” specialist in emergency medicine at Bareen International Hospital Fouad Al-Rahal told Al-Arabiya English.
The UAE has been ranked as one of the top countries in coronavirus jabs by Our World in Data, a collaboration between researchers at the University of Oxford and the non-profit Global Change Data Lab.
According to Our World in Data, UAE has administered at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to more than 60 percent of its population.
The Gulf state’s National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority reported that over six million vaccine doses have been administered across the seven emirates, with a rate of 60.82 doses per 100 people.
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The UAE has approved four coronavirus vaccines, the Chinese Sinopharm, US-German Pfizer-BioNTech, UK-Swedish Oxford-AstraZeneca and Russian Sputnik V.