Prince Philip and the Gulf: The story of an enduring friendship

Picture taken on September 26, 1952 in Balmoral castle park showing Queen Elizabeth II walking along with her daughter Princess Ann (2nd R), Prince Philip (R), King Faisal II of Iraq (2nd L) and the regent of Iraq. (AFP/File Photo)
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Picture taken on September 26, 1952 in Balmoral castle park showing Queen Elizabeth II walking along with her daughter Princess Ann (2nd R), Prince Philip (R), King Faisal II of Iraq (2nd L) and the regent of Iraq. (AFP/File Photo)
The British Royal Family walk in the park of Balmoral castle along with King Faisal II of Iraq, on September 26, 1952. (AFP/File Photo)
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The British Royal Family walk in the park of Balmoral castle along with King Faisal II of Iraq, on September 26, 1952. (AFP/File Photo)
King Hussein of Jordan (2nd L) and his wife Queen Dina (R) pose with Queen Elizabeth II (L),  Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne on June 19, 1955 at Windsor Castle. (AFP/File Photo)
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King Hussein of Jordan (2nd L) and his wife Queen Dina (R) pose with Queen Elizabeth II (L), Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne on June 19, 1955 at Windsor Castle. (AFP/File Photo)
The Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince Philip pose with Iran Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his wife Farah Pahlavi during their state visit, March 1961 in Tehran. (AFP/File Photo)
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The Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince Philip pose with Iran Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his wife Farah Pahlavi during their state visit, March 1961 in Tehran. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L-R) with King Abdullah ll and Queen Rania of Jordan and the Duke of Edinburgh pose before attending a State Banquet at Windsor Castle 06 November 2001. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L-R) with King Abdullah ll and Queen Rania of Jordan and the Duke of Edinburgh pose before attending a State Banquet at Windsor Castle 06 November 2001. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and her husband Prince Philip (R) stand next to the President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan during a Ceremonial Welcome in the town of Windsor on April 30, 2013. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and her husband Prince Philip (R) stand next to the President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan during a Ceremonial Welcome in the town of Windsor on April 30, 2013. (AFP/File Photo)
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (R) talks with Queen Elizabeth II (C) and The Duke of Edinburgh (L) before the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London after the first day of the Saudi King's visit. (AFP/File Photo)
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King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (R) talks with Queen Elizabeth II (C) and The Duke of Edinburgh (L) before the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London after the first day of the Saudi King's visit. (AFP/File Photo)
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, (front center) accompanied by Britain's Prince Philip, (Front R) reviews a Guard of Honor in Horse Guards, before a state carriage procession along the Mall, in London, 30 October 2007. (AFP/File Photo)
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King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, (front center) accompanied by Britain's Prince Philip, (Front R) reviews a Guard of Honor in Horse Guards, before a state carriage procession along the Mall, in London, 30 October 2007. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (3rd L) and Prince Philip (L) welcome King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (2nd L) to Buckingham Palace in London, 30 October 2007. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (3rd L) and Prince Philip (L) welcome King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (2nd L) to Buckingham Palace in London, 30 October 2007. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (3rd R) and Prince Philip (2nd R) greet Bahrain's King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa (2nd L) and Sheikha Sabika bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa (3rd L) at Windsor Castle on May 18, 2012. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (3rd R) and Prince Philip (2nd R) greet Bahrain's King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa (2nd L) and Sheikha Sabika bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa (3rd L) at Windsor Castle on May 18, 2012. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (L) stand with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan upon their arrival to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the Emirati capital on November 24, 2010. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (L) stand with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan upon their arrival to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the Emirati capital on November 24, 2010. (AFP/File Photo)
Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said welcomes Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (C) upon their arrival at Muscat on November 25, 2010 following her trip to the UAE. (AFP/File Photo)
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Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said welcomes Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (C) upon their arrival at Muscat on November 25, 2010 following her trip to the UAE. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth ll and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh (L) are welcomed by Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said (R) at an official welcoming ceremony ceremony on November 26, 2010, in Muscat. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth ll and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh (L) are welcomed by Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said (R) at an official welcoming ceremony ceremony on November 26, 2010, in Muscat. (AFP/File Photo)
Britain’s' Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (L) attends an equestrian show which included the Omani Royal Cavalry in the presence of Oman’s leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said (R) at Madinat al-Hidayat on November 27, 2010. (AFP/File Photo)
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Britain’s' Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (L) attends an equestrian show which included the Omani Royal Cavalry in the presence of Oman’s leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said (R) at Madinat al-Hidayat on November 27, 2010. (AFP/File Photo)
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh stand next to the then-Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, after he arrived at Balmoral Castle for lunch during a visit to the UK. (AFP/File Photo)
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The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh stand next to the then-Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, after he arrived at Balmoral Castle for lunch during a visit to the UK. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 13 April 2021

Prince Philip and the Gulf: The story of an enduring friendship

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (R) talks with Queen Elizabeth II (C) and The Duke of Edinburgh (L) before the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London after the first day of the Saudi King's visit. (AFP/File Photo)
  • The royal couple attached special importance to maintaining Britain’s historic relationship with Gulf monarchies
  • In February 1965 Prince Philip flew to Riyadh as guest of King Faisal, and returned with the queen in 1979 on a state visit

LONDON: The death on Friday of Britain’s Prince Philip, the “strength and stay” of Queen Elizabeth II through the long years of her reign, is being mourned throughout the world, and nowhere more so than in the Gulf states, with which the royal couple had such an enduring and warm relationship.

The leaders of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman sent messages of condolence to the queen.

From the UAE, cables were sent by President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan; Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai; and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

In his condolence message to the queen, the British government and the people, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa lauded Philip’s efforts to serve the UK and its friendly people. An Oman News Agency statement said “Sultan Haitham bin Tarik sent a cable of condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the President of the Commonwealth.”

Born on June 10, 1921, the Duke of Edinburgh’s death — he had recently spent a month in hospital — came just two months short of his 100th birthday. His was a remarkable century.

PRINCE PHILIP: KEY DATES

* June 10, 1921 - Born on Greek island of Corfu.

* Dec 5, 1922 - Family flees to Paris when King Constantine I is overthrown.

* 1939 - Joins the Royal Navy.

* 1947 - Renounces Greek, Danish royal titles, becomes naturalized Briton.

* 1947 - Marries Princess Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey, becomes Duke of Edinburgh.

* 1952 - Wife Elizabeth becomes queen.

* 1956 - Founds Duke of Edinburgh Award, a youth self-improvement scheme.

* 1961 - Becomes first president of the World Wildlife Fund UK.

* 2017 - Steps back from royal duties, age 96.

* April 9, 2021 - Dies at Windsor Castle, age 99.

Born in Corfu as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1939 he joined the British Royal Navy and served with distinction during the Second World War, seeing action in the North Sea, Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, where he took part in the Battle of Crete.

He was mentioned in despatches for his service during the Battle of Cape Matapan, which also earned him the Greek War Cross, and on board the HMS Wallace he took part in the Allied invasion of Sicily.

On board the destroyer HMS Whelp with the British Pacific Fleet, he was present in Tokyo Bay to witness the formal surrender of the Japanese on Sept. 2, 1945, and the end of the Second World War.

As Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, he had first met Princess Elizabeth, Britain’s future Queen, in 1934. At the outbreak of war, Philip, then 18, and the 13-year-old Princess began writing to each other. As he sailed the world with the Royal Navy, and she served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women’s branch of the British Army, and braved the bombs of the Blitz, their letters raised each other’s spirits and they became firm friends.

INNUMBERS

* 143 - Countries visited by Prince Philip in official capacity.

* 22,191 - Solo engagements as longest-serving consort in UK history.

In July 1947, two years after the cessation of hostilities, they became engaged.

Before the engagement was announced, the prince renounced his Greek and Danish titles, adopted his maternal grandparents’ name, Mountbatten, and became a naturalized British subject.

With his dashing good looks and outstanding military record, the queen’s fiance immediately won the hearts of the British public.

On the eve of the wedding — a glittering ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London on Nov. 20, 1947, that raised the spirits not only of the British, but also a war-weary British Empire — Philip was appointed Duke of Edinburgh by the princess’s father, King George VI, and granted the title His Royal Highness.




King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, (front center) accompanied by Britain's Prince Philip, (Front R) reviews a Guard of Honor in Horse Guards, before a state carriage procession along the Mall, in London, 30 October 2007. (AFP/File Photo)

On Feb. 6, 1952, a few days after the prince and the princess had set out on their first tour of the Commonwealth, the couple received the news that Elizabeth’s father, the king, had died.

They flew straight home and from that moment on the man who had served Britain so valiantly throughout the Second World War had a new, vitally important role to play.

For the next 69 years, the great, great-grandchild of Queen Victoria would never be far from Queen Elizabeth’s side, supporting her in everything she did, from entertaining visiting heads of state to making state visits around the world.




The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh stand next to the then-Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, after he arrived at Balmoral Castle for lunch during a visit to the UK. (AFP/File Photo)

A terrific conversationalist, with a quick wit, dry sense of humor and mischievous disregard for stuffy protocol, it was often Philip who put a human face on the potentially intimidating countenance of monarchy, lightening the mood and putting at ease all those daunted by the prospect of meeting the Queen.

Throughout those years both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip attached a special importance to maintaining Britain’s special relationship with the monarchies of the Gulf.

State visits by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to Arab countries

* Kuwait: Feb. 12-14, 1979.

* Bahrain: Feb. 14-17, 1979.

* Saudi Arabia: Feb 17-20, 1979.

* Qatar: Feb. 21-24, 1979.

* UAE: Feb. 24-27, 1979.

* Oman: Feb. 28-March 2, 1979.

* Tunisia: Oct. 21-23, 1980.

* Algeria: Oct. 25-27, 1980.

* Morocco: Oct. 27-30, 1980.

* Jordan: March 26-30, 1984.

* UAE: Nov. 24-25, 2010.

* Oman: Nov. 25-28, 2010.

In one early solo visit to the region, in February 1965 Prince Philip flew to Riyadh as the guest of Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal. Two years later, King Faisal renewed his acquaintance with the prince when he made a state visit to London.

For over 150 years Britain had had the closest ties, sealed by treaties signed in the 19th century, with what it termed the Trucial States, but on Dec. 1, 1971, those treaties were revoked.




Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and her husband Prince Philip (R) stand next to the President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan during a Ceremonial Welcome in the town of Windsor on April 30, 2013. (AFP/File Photo)

Led by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi, the Trucial States became the United Arab Emirates. However, the bonds between Britain and the Gulf states, and between the monarchy of Britain and the crowns of all the Gulf states, remained strong, thanks in no small part to the efforts of the royal couple.

Key Britain-Saudi royal visit dates

* May, 9-17, 1967: King Faisal makes UK state visit.

* Feb. 17-20, 1979: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit Saudi Arabia.

* June, 9-12, 1981: King Khalid makes UK state visit.

* March 24-27, 1987: Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd makes UK state visit.

* Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2007: King Abdullah makes UK state visit.

In 1979 Prince Philip was by the queen’s side when she visited the UAE, entertaining Sheikh Zayed on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, which had sailed to the Gulf for the occasion.

Thirty-one years later, there was a poignancy to the occasion when Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip returned to Abu Dhabi in 2010, to visit Sheikh Zayed’s tomb and Grand Mosque in the company of his son, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan.




Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (L) stand with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan upon their arrival to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the Emirati capital on November 24, 2010. (AFP/File Photo)

Some of the photographs in the album of Prince Philip’s many meetings with the states and leaders of the Middle East are overshadowed by the events that followed.

A black-and-white photograph taken on Sept. 26, 1952, for example, shows Philip, holding the hand of his daughter, Princess Ann, walking in the grounds of Balmoral Castle in Scotland with the Queen and their guests, the young King Faisal II and Prince Abdullah, the regent of Iraq. Both men, along with members of their family and staff, were brutally murdered in July 1958 when Faisal was overthrown in a bloody coup.

In March 1961, the royal couple flew to Iran for a state visit to a country that 18 years later would undergo a shocking transformation. Photographs of the visit show Prince Philip and Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi grinning broadly alongside the queen and Farah Pahlavi at a state occasion. In 1979 the Iranian monarchy would be swept aside by an Islamic revolution that would send shockwaves around the region.

State visits by Middle East and North African leaders to the UK

* July 16-19, 1956: Iraq’s King Faisal II.

* May 5-8, 1959: Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

* July 19-28, 1966: Jordan’s King Hussein I and Princess Muna.

* May, 9-17, 1967: Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal.

* June, 9-12, 1981: Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid.

* March, 16-19, 1982: Oman’s Sultan Qaboos.

* April, 10-13, 1984: Bahrain’s Emir Sheikh Isa.

* Nov. 12-15, 1985: Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Khalifa.

* March 24-27, 1987: Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd.

* July 14-17, 1987: Morocco’s King Hassan II.

* July 18-21, 1989: UAE’s President Sheikh Zayed.

* July 23-26, 1991: Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak and First Lady Suzanne Mubarak.

* May 23-26, 1995: Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Jaber.

* Nov. 6-9, 2001: Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Queen Rania.

* Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2007: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah.

* Oct. 25-28, 2010: Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad.

* Nov. 27-29, 2012: Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah.

* April 30-May 1, 2013: UAE’s President Sheikh Khalifa.

But in the main, the photographic record of Prince Philip’s long relationship with the region evokes only happy memories — such as of the honeymoon visit to Britain in 1955 of King Hussein of Jordan and his wife Queen Dina, the four-day state visit to Britain in 2001 of King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan, and the state visit of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in 2007.

The happy, laughing faces in so many of the photographs taken of Prince Philip over the years, whether on state visits or during walkabouts, also captured something of the essence of the man and the part he played in maintaining the bonds between royal families, and helping to make the monarchy accessible.

Queen Elizabeth, in a speech to mark the couple’s golden wedding anniversary in 1997, put it this way: “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.”

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Twitter: @JonathanGornall


Three Iranian dissidents to be honored by PEN America

Iranians wearing protective masks cross a main road in Tehran during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (AFP file photo)
Iranians wearing protective masks cross a main road in Tehran during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (AFP file photo)
Updated 37 sec ago

Three Iranian dissidents to be honored by PEN America

Iranians wearing protective masks cross a main road in Tehran during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (AFP file photo)
  • The PEN gala is scheduled for Oct. 5 at its longtime venue the American Museum of Natural History, with Awkwafina serving as host

NEW YORK: Three imprisoned Iranian dissidents will be honored next month at Pen America’s annual gala.
The literary and human rights organization announced on Thursday that writer-filmmaker Baktash Abtin, novelist-journalist Keyvan Bajan and author-critic Reza Khandan Mahabadi are this year’s recipients of the 2021 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award.
All three are members of the anti-censorship Iranian Writers Association and are serving a collective 15.5 years on charges including endangering national security and “spreading propaganda.”
“Baktash Abtin, Keyvan Bajan, and Reza Khandan Mahabadi are embodiments of the spirit that animates our work at PEN America. They are writers who are called not only to offer prose and ideas on a page, but to live fearlessly — and sacrifice immensely in service of the liberties that underpin free thought, art, culture, and creativity,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement.
“By taking up the mantle of leadership within Iran’s literary community, they have served as beacons for countless authors and thinkers whose ability to imagine, push boundaries, and challenge repression under the most dangerous conditions is fed by the knowledge that they do not stand alone.”
The PEN gala is scheduled for Oct. 5 at its longtime venue the American Museum of Natural History, with Awkwafina serving as host.


Ex-Algerian leader Bouteflika, ousted amid protests, dies

Ex-Algerian leader Bouteflika, ousted amid protests, dies
Updated 55 min 8 sec ago

Ex-Algerian leader Bouteflika, ousted amid protests, dies

Ex-Algerian leader Bouteflika, ousted amid protests, dies

ALGIERS, Algeria: Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who fought for independence from France in the 1950s and 1960s and was ousted amid pro-democracy protests in 2019 after 20 years in power, has died at age 84, state television announced Friday.
The report on ENTV, citing a statement from the office of current President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, did not provide the cause of death or other details.
Bouteflika had suffered a stroke in 2013 that had badly weakened him. Concerns about his state of health, kept secret from the Algerian public, helped feed public frustration with his rule that erupted in mass public protests in 2019 that led to his departure.
Earlier in his life, Bouteflika fought for independence from colonial ruler France, successfully negotiated with the terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal to free oil ministers taken hostage in a 1975 attack on OPEC headquarters, and helped reconcile Algerian citizens with each other after a decade of civil war between radical Muslim militants and Algeria’s security forces.


Erdogan and Putin to discuss Syria in Sochi

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Russia. (REUTERS file photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Russia. (REUTERS file photo)
Updated 18 September 2021

Erdogan and Putin to discuss Syria in Sochi

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Russia. (REUTERS file photo)
  • The March 2020 agreement followed weeks of fighting that brought Turkey and Russia close to conflict and displaced nearly a million people

ANKARA: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will visit Russia later this month for talks with President Vladimir Putin about the violence in northwestern Syria, where Moscow and Ankara back opposing sides, two Turkish officials said on Friday.
Turkey supports fighters who sought to topple President Bashar Assad, while Russia has helped shore up Assad after a decade of conflict.
Both sides have complained about violations of a truce they agreed 18 months ago in the northwestern Idlib region, the last rebel bastion left in Syria, where Ankara says two Turkish troops were killed in an attack on Saturday.
“The main agenda point is Syria, namely Idlib,” a senior Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said of the planned talks in Russian resort of Sochi. “The conditions set out in the Idlib agreement have not been fully implemented.”
The March 2020 agreement followed weeks of fighting that brought Turkey and Russia close to conflict and displaced nearly a million people.
“There should not be any new instability in Syria,” another Turkish official said.
Erdogan’s planned two-day visit will follow his trip to the UN General Assembly in New York next week, the officials said, without specifying exact dates.
Despite backing opposing sides in both the Syrian and Libyan conflicts, Turkey and Russia have forged close cooperation in the defense, energy and tourism sectors.


Israeli grandfather says he saved, not kidnapped, grandson in Italy

Israeli grandfather says he saved, not kidnapped, grandson in Italy
Updated 17 September 2021

Israeli grandfather says he saved, not kidnapped, grandson in Italy

Israeli grandfather says he saved, not kidnapped, grandson in Italy
  • Eitan Biran's parents, younger brother and 11 other people all died when a gondola plunged to the ground in northern Italy in May
  • Italian media said Shmuel Peleg had driven with his grandson across the nearby border to Switzerland and flown on a private jet to Tel Aviv

JERUSALEM: The grandfather of a six-year-old boy who is the only survivor of an Italian cable car disaster said he was looking out for his grandson’s wellbeing by bringing him to Israel.
He did so against the will of the boy’s family in Italy.
Eitan Biran’s parents, younger brother and 11 other people all died when a gondola plunged to the ground in northern Italy in May. He is now at the center of a custody battle.
The boy moved in with his paternal aunt, Aya Biran, in northern Italy after the accident. A week ago his maternal grandfather, Shmuel Peleg, picked him up for a planned family trip but they never returned, according to the aunt.
Italian media said Peleg had driven with his grandson across the nearby border to Switzerland and flown on a private jet to Tel Aviv.
“What is good for the boy outweighs my personal interests,” Peleg said when told during an interview on Israel’s Channel 12 that Italian authorities are calling his action kidnapping.
“So I decided that I am saving the boy and bringing him to Israel,” Peleg said during the TV interview that aired on Friday. “I took a car, a KIA. I drove with Eitan. The passports were checked at the embassy in Switzerland. Approved. And we took off in a completely legal manner to Israel.”
The boy’s family in Italy has filed a petition in a Tel Aviv family court for his return. Their Israeli lawyer said the court had set a hearing for Sept. 29. It is required to make a ruling within six weeks.
A legal source has said prosecutors in the northern Italian city of Pavia had opened a kidnapping investigation. The prosecutors’ office declined to comment.
Israeli police have said they had received a complaint that a minor had been kidnapped and flown to Israel, and had questioned an unidentified 58-year-old man on suspicion of involvement.
Asked why he did not wait for an Italian court to make a decision, Peleg said “I must say that I lost faith in the Italian judicial system.”
Peleg’s family, through a public relations firm, said earlier in a statement that the Italian consul in Israel came to Peleg’s house to meet with Eitan.
“The message from the consul was that the foreign ministries are working to try to find a compromise between the families,” according to the statement.
Magistrates are still investigating why the cable car, on a line connecting Stresa on the shores of Lake Maggiore to the nearby Mottarone mountain, plunged to the ground.


Amal Clooney named Sudan adviser to ICC prosecutor

In this Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 file photo, attorney Amal Clooney listens during a panel discussion on media freedom at United Nations headquarters. (AP)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 file photo, attorney Amal Clooney listens during a panel discussion on media freedom at United Nations headquarters. (AP)
Updated 18 September 2021

Amal Clooney named Sudan adviser to ICC prosecutor

In this Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 file photo, attorney Amal Clooney listens during a panel discussion on media freedom at United Nations headquarters. (AP)
  • The UN says 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million people were displaced in the 2003-4 Darfur conflict

THE HAGUE: The International Criminal Court’s new prosecutor on Friday named prominent rights lawyer Amal Clooney as a special adviser on Sudan’s Darfur conflict.
Clooney has previously been involved in a number of cases at the Hague-based ICC, the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal.
Her post focusing on Darfur is one of several new special portfolios created by ICC prosecutor Karim Khan, a Briton who took office in July.
“I am delighted to welcome such an outstanding group of experts and I am grateful for their willingness to serve as my special advisers,” Khan said in a statement.
Clooney’s husband, the Hollywood actor George Clooney, is a longtime campaigner for human rights in the Darfur region.
The UN says 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million people were displaced in the 2003-4 Darfur conflict.
Fighting broke out when black African rebels, complaining of systematic discrimination, took up arms against deposed dictator Omar Bashir’s Arab-dominated regime.
London-based Amal Clooney represented Darfur victims in a case at the ICC against Ali Kushayb, a leader of the Janjaweed militia — a notorious armed group created by the government.
She has also been involved in a string of human rights cases involving countries including Iraq, Myanmar and the Philippines, and criminal cases covering Lebanon and the former Yugoslavia.
Last year she garnered headlines after resigning her post as a British envoy for media freedom, in protest at the government’s “lamentable” decision to breach its EU divorce treaty.