Erdogan tells Trudeau Canada’s suspension of drone exports is against alliance spirit

Erdogan tells Trudeau Canada’s suspension of drone exports is against alliance spirit
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Canada’s suspension of the export of some military goods to Turkey due to the Azerbajian-Armenia conflict ... is against the spirit of alliance. (AFP)
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Updated 17 October 2020

Erdogan tells Trudeau Canada’s suspension of drone exports is against alliance spirit

Erdogan tells Trudeau Canada’s suspension of drone exports is against alliance spirit
  • Canada probes allegations Turkish drones were used by Azeri forces involved in fighting with Armenia
  • Ankara has said it stands firmly beside its close ally in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Canada’s suspension of the export of some drone technology was not in line with the spirit of alliance, Erdogan’s office said late on Friday.
Canada suspended the export of some drone technology to Turkey earlier this month as it probes allegations the equipment was used by Azeri forces involved in fighting with Armenia.
In a phone call on Friday, Erdogan and Trudeau discussed improving relations and increasing bilateral trade, the Turkish presidency said, adding that they also talked about overcoming issues regarding cooperation in the defense sector.
“During the call, President Tayyip Erdogan said Canada’s suspension of the export of some military goods to Turkey due to the Azerbajian-Armenia conflict ... is against the spirit of alliance,” the presidency said.
Turkey and Canada are both members of NATO.
Following Canada’s announcement, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry had said the suspension showed a double standard.
Turkey’s military exports to its ally Azerbaijan have risen six-fold this year, with sales of drones and other military equipment rising to $77 million last month alone before fighting broke out over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to exports data.
Canadian arms control group Project Ploughshares says video of air strikes released by Azerbaijan indicates the drones had been equipped with imaging and targeting systems made by L3Harris Wescam, the Canada-based unit of L3Harris Technologies Inc.
Ankara has said it stands firmly beside its close ally in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.


Lebanon approves law to import vaccines as coronavirus hits new record

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a legislative session, as Lebanon's parliament approved a law that paves the way for the government to ink deals for coronavirus vaccinations, at UNESCO Palace in Beirut, Lebanon January 15, 2021. (Reuters)
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a legislative session, as Lebanon's parliament approved a law that paves the way for the government to ink deals for coronavirus vaccinations, at UNESCO Palace in Beirut, Lebanon January 15, 2021. (Reuters)
Updated 13 min 28 sec ago

Lebanon approves law to import vaccines as coronavirus hits new record

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a legislative session, as Lebanon's parliament approved a law that paves the way for the government to ink deals for coronavirus vaccinations, at UNESCO Palace in Beirut, Lebanon January 15, 2021. (Reuters)

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s parliament approved a draft law allowing imports of coronavirus vaccines as the tiny nation hit a new record in case numbers Friday and more hospitals reported they were at full capacity.
The new daily toll of 6,154 cases and 44 deaths came on the second day of a nationwide 11-day curfew that the government and doctors hope will reign in the dramatic surge of the virus.
Lebanon, a country of about 6 million people, has witnessed a sharp increase of cases in recent weeks, after some 80,000 expatriates flew in to celebrate Christmas and New Year.
During the holiday season, restrictions were eased to encourage spending by expatriates amid a suffocating economic and financial crisis, the worst in Lebanon’s modern history.
On Friday, the American University Medical Center, one of Lebanon’s largest and most prestigious hospitals, said in a statement that its health care workers were overwhelmed. The hospital’s ICUs and regular coronavirus units have reached full capacity and so did the emergency room, it said.
“We are unable to find beds for even the most critical patients,” the hospital said, urging people in Lebanon to help by taking extreme precautionary measures to “overcome the catastrophe we are facing.”
Mazen El-Sayed, an associated professor in the department of emergency medicine, described the situation as “tragic,” anticipating that the next two weeks would be even more dire.
In southern Lebanon, the Ragheb Harb Hospital also said that its COVID-19 units were now. “We are working beyond our capacity. The situation is very dangerous,” the hospital said in a statement.
The curfew, which began Thursday, is the strictest measure Lebanon has taken since the start of the pandemic. But many have expressed concern the measures have come too late — many hospitals have already reached maximum capacity for coronavirus patients, some have run out of beds, oxygen tanks and ventilators while others have halted elective surgeries.
Lebanon was able to contain the virus in its early stages but the numbers started climbing after measures were eased in early July and following the massive deadly blast at Beirut’s port in August.
Following bureaucratic delays, the country now is putting hopes on vaccines that are expected to start arriving next month.
Parliament’s approval opens the way for imports of vaccines from around the world, including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Health Minister Hamad Hassan, who is hospitalized with the coronavirus, had said that once the draft law is approved, the first deliveries of vaccines should start arriving in February.
Lebanon has reserved 2.7 million doses of vaccines from multiple international companies and 2.1 million to be provided by Pfizer, Diab’s office says.
Lebanon has registered nearly 243,000 coronavirus cases and some 1,825 confirmed deaths.