Lebanon needs to show that Hezbollah can change behavior, Bahrain minister says

Lebanon needs to show that Hezbollah can change behavior, Bahrain minister says
Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani (R) talks to his Brazilian counterpart Carlos Alberto França during the inauguration of the Brazilian embassy in the Bahraini capital Manama, on November 16, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 20 November 2021

Lebanon needs to show that Hezbollah can change behavior, Bahrain minister says

Lebanon needs to show that Hezbollah can change behavior, Bahrain minister says

DUBAI: Bahrain’s foreign minister, Abdullatif Al Zayani, said on Saturday that Lebanon needs to demonstrate that its powerful Iran-allied Hezbollah movement can change its behavior to mend a rift with Gulf Arab states.
Lebanon is facing a diplomatic crisis with Gulf states, triggered by a minister’s critical comments about the war in Yemen that prompted Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait to expel Lebanon’s top diplomats and recall their own envoys.
Concerned about Hezbollah’s growing influence, Gulf states — traditional aid donors to Lebanon — have been withholding support to the country which is suffering a deep economic crisis.
“We (can) extend support and try to find solutions in the future, but once it is demonstrated that Hezbollah can be changing its behavior,” Zayani told the IISS Manama Dialogue security forum in Bahrain.
Riyadh, locked in a regional rivalry with Iran, has said its measures last month against Lebanon, including an import ban, were not only in response to the minister’s remarks, but were also to demonstrate unease over Hezbollah’s “domination” of Lebanese politics.
Lebanon’s newly appointed information minister George Kordahi said his remarks were made in an interview before he joined the cabinet and has refused to apologize or step down. Hezbollah’s leader has supported him in the diplomatic row and rejected calls for his resignation.


US studying Iran’s response to EU proposal to save nuclear deal

US studying Iran’s response to EU proposal to save nuclear deal
Updated 10 sec ago

US studying Iran’s response to EU proposal to save nuclear deal

US studying Iran’s response to EU proposal to save nuclear deal

WASHINGTON: The United States is studying Iran’s response to the European Union’s proposal to save a nuclear deal and is sharing its views with the bloc, a US State Department spokesperson said on Tuesday, after receiving Iran’s comments from the EU.
Iran responded to the European Union’s “final” draft text to save a 2015 nuclear deal on Monday, an EU official said, as the Iranian foreign minister called on the United States to show flexibility to resolve three remaining issues.


Iran identifies its first case of monkeypox

Iran identifies its first case of monkeypox
Updated 17 min 1 sec ago

Iran identifies its first case of monkeypox

Iran identifies its first case of monkeypox

DUBAI: Iran has identified its first case of monkeypox, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.
A 34-year-old woman in the southwestern city of Ahvaz has been put under quarantine after testing positive for the disease, Fars added. 


Iraq’s Sadr backtracks on call for huge protest

Iraq’s Sadr backtracks on call for huge protest
Updated 34 min 5 sec ago

Iraq’s Sadr backtracks on call for huge protest

Iraq’s Sadr backtracks on call for huge protest
  • The populist cleric's announcement came amid behind the scenes talks aimed at steering Iraq out of crisis
  • Sadr wants parliament dissolved to pave the way for new legislative elections

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr backtracked Tuesday after earlier urging his supporters to join a massive rally as a standoff with his political rivals appeared to be getting worse.
The populist cleric’s announcement came amid behind the scenes talks aimed at steering Iraq out of crisis, with the country’s two branches of Shiite Islam jockeying for supremacy.
More than 10 months on from elections, Iraq still has no government, new prime minister or new president, because of disagreement between factions over forming a coalition.
Sadr wants parliament dissolved to pave the way for new legislative elections, but his rivals the pro-Iran Coordination Framework want to set conditions and are demanding a transitional government before new polls.
The cleric’s bloc emerged from last October’s elections as parliament’s biggest, but still far short of a majority.
Sadr, whose supporters have been staging a sit-in protest outside parliament in Baghdad’s high security Green Zone for more than two weeks, had called for a “million-man demonstration” in the capital on Saturday.
But on Tuesday he announced on Twitter “the indefinite postponement of Saturday’s protest.”
“If you had been betting on a civil war, I am betting on preserving social peace. The blood of Iraqis is more precious than anything else,” Sadr said.
Late on Monday, a committee organizing demonstrations in support of the Coordination Framework also announced new gatherings, but without setting a date.
The Coordination Framework launched their own Baghdad sit-in on Friday, camping out on an avenue in the capital.
The Coordination Framework comprises former paramilitaries of the Tehran-backed Hashed Al-Shaabi network and the party of former premier Nuri Al-Maliki, a longtime Sadr foe.
So far, the rival Shiite protests have been peaceful, with attempts at mediation ongoing.
Hadi Al-Ameri, leader of a Hashed faction, has also called for calm and for dialogue. He has had a series of meetings with political leaders including allies of Sadr.
Also on Tuesday, Finance Minister Ali Allawi who is in the current government submitted his resignation to the Council of Ministers, the INA state news agency reported.
Iraq has been ravaged by decades of conflict and endemic corruption.
It is blighted by ailing infrastructure, power cuts and crumbling public services, and now also faces water shortages as drought ravages swathes of the country.
Despite its oil wealth, many Iraqis are mired in poverty, and some 35 percent of young people are unemployed, according to the United Nations.


Fire breaks out at church in Minya days after church blaze in Egyptian capital

Fire breaks out at church in Minya days after church blaze in Egyptian capital
Updated 31 min 13 sec ago

Fire breaks out at church in Minya days after church blaze in Egyptian capital

Fire breaks out at church in Minya days after church blaze in Egyptian capital
  • A person was treated on the scene for suffocation but did not require hospital treatment
  • Abdel Ghaffar said that ambulances will continue to be stationed at the scene until the the area is deemed safe

CAIRO: Four ambulances were sent to the site of a fire that broke out in a church in Egypt’s Minya governorate on Tuesday, the Health Ministry said.

The fire at Anba Bishoy church comes two days after a blaze ripped through the Abu Sefein Coptic Church in Cairo’s Imbaba neighborhood on Sunday, killing 41 people.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Population, Hossam Abdel Ghaffar, said that although the fire did not result in any deaths, a person was treated on the scene for suffocation but did not require hospital treatment.

Abdel Ghaffar said that ambulances will continue to be stationed at the scene until the the area is deemed safe in case of further developments.

He added the ambulances arrived at the site of the fire within six minutes of receiving an alert at 2.30 p.m.

The spokesman said that Minister of Health and Population Khaled Abdel Ghaffar is following the incident and has directed hospitals in the area to raise their degree of preparedness.


Kuwait appoints Naser Al-Hain as UN representative

Kuwait appoints Naser Al-Hain as UN representative
Updated 41 min 45 sec ago

Kuwait appoints Naser Al-Hain as UN representative

Kuwait appoints Naser Al-Hain as UN representative
  • UN chief praises Kuwait’s humanitarian efforts

GENEVA: Kuwait has appointed Naser Al-Hain as its permanent representative to the United Nations.

The ambassador submitted his credentials to the head of the UN Office in Geneva, Tatiana Valovaya, on Monday, the Kuwait News Agency reported.

Al-Hain acknowledged the UN’s pivotal contributions in a variety of fields and in particular its humanitarian efforts.

Valovaya praised Kuwait’s humanitarian efforts and emphasized the country’s strong ties to the UN and other international organizations.

Al-Hain is a time-served diplomat and has represented his country at multiple international events.