Biden and Abu Dhabi crown prince discuss Iran threat to region

Biden and Abu Dhabi crown prince discuss Iran threat to region
Biden and Sheikh Mohammed discussed a number of regional issues in the phone call. (AFP/File)
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Updated 04 May 2021

Biden and Abu Dhabi crown prince discuss Iran threat to region

Biden and Abu Dhabi crown prince discuss Iran threat to region

LONDON: President Joe Biden and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed discussed on Tuesday the threat posed by Iran, the White House said.

"They discussed regional and global challenges, including Afghanistan, the nuclear and regional dimensions of the threat posed by Iran, as well as the common quest for de-escalation and peace in the Middle East," the statement said.

Biden underlined the "strategic importance" of the UAE establishing relations with Israel last year and expressed his full support for expanding these arrangements.

They also agreed on the priority of working together to address conflicts, including the humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.


Yemeni minister: Iran’s Quds Force commander acting as de facto ruler of Houthi-held areas

Yemeni minister: Iran’s Quds Force commander acting as de facto ruler of Houthi-held areas
Updated 06 May 2021

Yemeni minister: Iran’s Quds Force commander acting as de facto ruler of Houthi-held areas

Yemeni minister: Iran’s Quds Force commander acting as de facto ruler of Houthi-held areas

DUBAI: Iran’s Quds Force commander Hassan Erlo is acting as de facto ruler of areas controlled by the Houthi militia, a senior Yemeni official was cited by state news agency SABA.

Erlo’s movements are highlighted through the Houthis’ media outfit, confirm that he is acting as a leader, Muammar Al-Eryani, Yemen’s minister of information, culture and tourism, said on Wednesday.

Eryani added that these actions affirm that the Houthi leadership take political, military and administrative orders from the Iranian regime.

The Iranian regime sends orders through Erlo, Eryani added.

The minister claimed that these practices reveal to the international community Iran’s attempts to impose its control on Yemen as part of its “expansion project in the entire region,” the report said, and that the Houthi militia was “a dirty tool to implement this project.”


Sudan PM stresses need to reach binding agreement on Renaissance Dam

Sudan PM stresses need to reach binding agreement on Renaissance Dam
Updated 06 May 2021

Sudan PM stresses need to reach binding agreement on Renaissance Dam

Sudan PM stresses need to reach binding agreement on Renaissance Dam

DUBAI: Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok has stressed the importance of reaching a binding agreement regarding the Renaissance Dam, which would allow better planning for agricultural development and production, state news agency SUNA reported on Wednesday.

Sudan will always be at the mercy of Ethiopia for water without an agreement, Hamdok said, as he demanded for a binding accord within the framework of international law.

The issues related to the Renaissance Dam were serious and related to the security and safety of millions in Sudan and Egypt, SUNA reported, quoting Hamdok’s earlier CNN interview.  

The Prime Minister indicated that Sudan proposed to transform the role of observers into mediators to help reach a binding agreement on the dam.

Hamdok also highlighted Sudan’s current border crisis with Ethiopia, pointing out that it had been resolved since 1902 by the pact demarcating the borders on the map and that successive Ethiopian governments have recognized these borders.


Yemen PM visits Marib in show of strength as Houthi assault falters

Yemen PM visits Marib in show of strength as Houthi assault falters
Updated 06 May 2021

Yemen PM visits Marib in show of strength as Houthi assault falters

Yemen PM visits Marib in show of strength as Houthi assault falters
  • Iran-backed militia refuse to meet UN, US envoys for peace talks in Oman

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s prime minister visited the battleground city of Marib on Wednesday in a show of strength amid growing signs that an Iran-backed Houthi militia offensive to capture the province is faltering.
Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed chaired a meeting of senior government and military officials in the city, and said President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi had ordered increased military support to government troops fighting the Houthis.
“History is being written now in Marib. All of Yemen is following Marib and we came to Marib to be part of this important moment … the state and its capabilities are with you,” the prime minister said.
Saeed said the government wanted a sustainable peace agreement that established a strong division between Yemen and Iran. “We are not begging for peace that establishes a fragile and racist state on Iran’s model and its militias in the region,” he said.
Marib Governor Marib Sultan Al-Arada said the Houthi offensive had triggered “huge” displacement as thousands of people fled the fighting. “Yemenis can never enjoy peace as long as the state’s weapons are in the militia’s hands,” the governor said.
Marib is the Yemeni government’s last bastion in northern Yemen, and has extensive oil and gas reserves. The Houthis are desperate to capture it as leverage in UN-brokered peace talks, but the government is equally determined to defend it.
Martin Griffiths, the UN envoy for Yemen, admitted on Wednesday that the warring sides were no closer to striking a deal to end the conflict despite extensive diplomatic efforts. “We have been discussing these issues for over a year now and the international community has been supporting us in full force,” he said. “Unfortunately, we are not where we would like to be in reaching a deal. Meanwhile, the war continues unabated and causes immense suffering to the civilian population.”
Ending a weeklong round of meetings in Riyadh and Muscat, Griffiths said his latest discussions focused on stopping the Houthi assault on Marib, easing restrictions on the Red Sea port of Hodeidah and reopening Sanaa airport.
“I will keep engaging all involved, concerned actors and stakeholders to offer them opportunities to find common ground to help advance the peace efforts,” Griffiths said.
Officials with knowledge of the discussions told Arab News that the Houthis had refused to meet Griffiths and Tim Lenderking, the US special envoy for Yemen, for talks in Oman. Instead, the militia insisted on reopening Sanaa airport to unlimited destinations, including Iran, lifting restrictions on Hodeidah, and the complete cessation of Arab coalition air strikes before they would consider halting their offensive on Marib.
“We do not trust them — they have never adhered to any deal,” a senior Yemeni official said. The official also said the Yemeni government would agree to open flights from Sanaa airport to India, Egypt, Jordan, and Sudan, and would lift restrictions on ships in Hodeidah, but it believed direct flights from Sanaa to Iran, Syria and Lebanon would enable the Houthis to transport weapons and fighters.


Appeal against detention of ship in Suez Canal rejected

Appeal against detention of ship in Suez Canal rejected
Updated 05 May 2021

Appeal against detention of ship in Suez Canal rejected

Appeal against detention of ship in Suez Canal rejected
  • It has been held in a lake between two stretches of the canal since being dislodged on March 29

CAIRO: The Ismailia Economic Court in Egypt has ruled that the container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March could continue to be held in the waterway, rejecting an appeal by its Japanese owner against its detention.

The Ever Given, one of the world’s largest container ships, became jammed across the canal on March 23 and remained stuck for six days, stopping traffic in both directions.

It has been held in a lake between two stretches of the canal since being dislodged on March 29, amid a dispute over a $916 million claim by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) against Japanese owner Shoei Kisen for compensation over the incident.

The SCA has been conducting investigations into the cause of the ship’s grounding but has yet to announce the results, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The court, which had approved the detention of the ship following the submission of a report by the SCA, upheld that decision on Tuesday, rejecting an appeal made late last month.

The reasoning for the ruling was not immediately clear, but the SCA argued that the plaintiff had not notified all the required parties of its challenge to the ship’s detention within the required time limit.

The court heard the defense of Hazem Barakat, representative of the Japanese owner of the Panamanian ship, who demanded that a copy of the seizure order be provided. He said the captain of the ship has not been notified of the seizure decision.

Barakat demanded a 24-hour period to review and respond to all documents submitted by the SCA and argued that the ship’s seizure is invalid.

The SCA attorney said that an appeal should have been made during the specified dates, but the plaintiff failed to comply with that.

He added that the company’s lawyer should have informed all parties about its demands instead of procrastinating and requesting additional time, even though the company’s shipping agent is present on the ship daily.

The SCA is discussing ways to reach an amicable solution, especially because the ship is intact, loaded with containers and ready to sail, said Osama Rabie, chief of the SCA.

He said that the initial compensation for the accident was estimated at $1 billion and that the amount could change depending on the result of the probe.

He also added that the ship’s black box is being checked to reveal the circumstances of the accident.

The ship’s protection and indemnity insurer, UK Club, said the owners were reviewing their options in light of the decision and had until May 20 to appeal, according to the AP.

UK Club and the Ever Given’s technical manager, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, have expressed disappointment at the ship's detention.

UK Club said last month the appeal was made “on several grounds, including the validity of the arrest obtained in respect of the cargo and the lack of supporting evidence for the SCA’s very significant claim.”


Egypt, Turkey hold ‘exploratory talks’ to mend ties

Egypt, Turkey hold ‘exploratory talks’ to mend ties
Updated 05 May 2021

Egypt, Turkey hold ‘exploratory talks’ to mend ties

Egypt, Turkey hold ‘exploratory talks’ to mend ties
  • Both sides are also expected to discuss security coordination regarding the Muslim Brotherhood

CAIRO: Egyptian-Turkish consultations were held on Wednesday in Egypt’s foreign ministry headquarters for the first time since 2013.

The two sides were set to discuss issues in a “new era of normalization” between Egypt and Turkey.

The Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement before the talks that the two-day “exploratory” consultations will be led by Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister Hamdi Loza and Turkish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sedat Onal, adding that the talks will begin on Wednesday and conclude the following day.

The statement added that discussions will focus on the necessary steps that will lead to the normalization of relations between the two regional rivals.

Experts said that discussions between both countries will focus on regional and international issues, most notably the Eastern Mediterranean gas issue, maritime delimitation and the future of Libya.

Both sides are also expected to discuss security coordination regarding the Muslim Brotherhood, after Egypt demanded the extradition of several members who reside in Turkey.

The issue of hostilities and attacks on Egypt by extremist groups from Turkish territory are also likely to be raised by Cairo in the talks, experts have said.

Last February, Turkey announced the resumption of diplomatic contact with Egypt And ordered Egyptian opposition media outlets operating in its territory to “de-escalate attacks” against Egyptian authorities.