Egypt slams Israeli escalation against Palestinians

Egypt slams Israeli escalation against Palestinians
Israeli security forces check Palestinians heading to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound for Friday prayers on April 1, 2022 in the Old City of Jerusalem. (AFP)
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Updated 04 April 2022

Egypt slams Israeli escalation against Palestinians

Egypt slams Israeli escalation against Palestinians
  • Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed “the need to avoid escalation immediately”

CAIRO: Egypt has strongly condemned Israel’s escalation in the occupied Palestinian territories in recent days, its targeting of civilians, and incursions by settlers — under police protection — into the courtyards of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez stressed “the need to avoid escalation immediately, especially during the holy month of Ramadan and Christian and Jewish holidays, while not slipping into cycles of violence that prevent achieving the desired stability.”

He also stressed “the importance of adhering to the rules of international law to provide protection for Palestinian civilians and to stop any practices that violate the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque and other religious sanctities and the identity of East Jerusalem.”


German Chancellor arrives in UAE after Saudi Arabia visit

German Chancellor arrives in UAE after Saudi Arabia visit
Updated 16 sec ago

German Chancellor arrives in UAE after Saudi Arabia visit

German Chancellor arrives in UAE after Saudi Arabia visit
  • Scholz is scheduled to visit Qatar before going back to Berlin on Sunday night

DUBAI: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in the UAE Saturday night on the second leg of a two-day tour to the Gulf region.

Scholz was welcomed by the UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, and several officials at the Presidential Terminal of the Abu Dhabi International Airport, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

Earlier, Scholz left Saudi Arabia after meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Both leaders reviewed aspects of Saudi-German relations and areas of partnership between the two countries, in addition to discussing prospects for bilateral cooperation and opportunities for its development in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Scholz, accompanied by a large delegation that includes representatives of several economic sectors, is scheduled to visit Qatar before going back to Berlin on Sunday night.


Amid unrest, Iranian Guard attacks militant group in Iraq

Amid unrest, Iranian Guard attacks militant group in Iraq
Updated 14 min 3 sec ago

Amid unrest, Iranian Guard attacks militant group in Iraq

Amid unrest, Iranian Guard attacks militant group in Iraq
  • The Guard’s ground forces fired artillery from positions within Iran’s West Azerbaijan province
  • Some members of a separatist group were arrested by intelligence forces

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Saturday attacked a Kurdish militant group’s base located in the north of neighboring Iraq, state media said, a week after widespread anti-government protests began over a young woman’s death in police custody.

IRNA said the Guard’s ground forces fired artillery from positions within Iran’s West Azerbaijan province, attacking what it described as a “terrorist group” based across the border in Iraq. The report did not elaborate.

IRNA also said some members of a separatist group, so-called “Komleh” in Iran, were arrested by intelligence forces, without giving details.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency, believed to be close to Iran’s military, quoted the Guard’s statement as saying the operation will continue in order to ensure border security.

Tasnim added that the attack targeted the bases of Kurdish separatist groups in the north of Iraq and took place at 16:00 local time, and caused serious damage to them.

The Guard’s attacks were in response to the support of the separatist group for the recent unrest in the country, as well as their attempt to import weapons into Iran, the report said.
The death of a 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini, who died in custody after being detained by Iranian morality police, has launched unrest across Iran’s provinces and capital of Tehran. Amini’s family hails from Iran’s Kurdish region.

State TV suggested Saturday that 41 protesters and policemen have been killed since the protests erupted last Saturday. He said official statistics would be released by the Interior Ministry. According to a tally by The Associated Press, there have been at least 11 deaths from both sides since protests began after Amini’s funeral.


Saudi FM calls for global support amid MENA security pressures

Saudi FM calls for global support amid MENA security pressures
Updated 25 September 2022

Saudi FM calls for global support amid MENA security pressures

Saudi FM calls for global support amid MENA security pressures
  • Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud covered security pressures in Lebanon, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen
  • Urges global community to ‘cooperate for progress’ in combating the proliferation of weapons

NEW YORK CITY: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud has reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to the UN charter, calling on the international community to strengthen cooperation amid several global challenges.

In a wide-ranging speech on the fifth day of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York City, the minister covered several major geopolitical issues across the region and the world.

Outlining how the Kingdom’s commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and its charter is underpinned by Saudi Arabia’s Islamic and Arab values, Prince Faisal said that his country supports all efforts to “silence the guns, protect civilians, and provide prospects for development and peace.”

He added that the Kingdom supports “all efforts that can bring about a political solution to put an end to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis in order to stop the fighting and preserve international and regional peace and security.”

Moving to issues in the Middle East, the foreign minister said that the Jeddah Summit for Security and Development, which saw the participation of the US and nine Arab states, was an opportunity to “confirm collective action for a better world in the region for our peoples and our countries.”

He added that “security and stability in the Middle East requires a just and global solution for the Palestinian question,” calling for Palestinian state.

Commenting on Lebanon, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, he said these countries must not become a “breeding ground” for terrorists as they endure various crises of peace and stability.

“Afghanistan must not become a basis for terrorist operations,” the prince said.

Earlier in the day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres praised the Kingdom’s efforts campaigning for a truce in Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis in the war-torn country.

Guterres made the remarks during a meeting with Prince Faisal, who covered the Yemeni crisis during his speech. The foreign minister reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to a truce in Yemen.

Prince Faisal continued on the theme of Yemen’s crisis, telling the UN General Assembly that roads must be reopened, especially around Taiz, the country’s third-largest city.

He urged partners at the 77th UN General Assembly to “cooperate for progress” in the security field, calling on “the international community to counter the proliferation of weapons,” adding that the Kingdom is campaigning for “the Middle East to become free from these weapons.”

The foreign minister also referred to Sudan and Egypt, reaffirming the Kingdom’s support for the water needs of both countries.

He added that the Kingdom is committed to fighting climate change, with Saudi Arabia making particular contributions to the Paris Agreement.

The foreign minister said that the Kingdom is committed to “gradual and responsible change to diversified energy sources that are more sustainable,” noting that the global community must take into account the different economic and energy situations in every country.

He referred to the Kingdom’s Green Initiative, adding that Saudi Arabia is focussed on protecting the environment and green areas.

Prince Faisal concluded that he hoped the Kingdom’s “spirit of partnership and respect for a better world” would help to deliver Saudi Arabia’s message to the international community.


Morocco’s appeals court sentences 12 more migrants

Morocco’s appeals court sentences 12 more migrants
Updated 25 September 2022

Morocco’s appeals court sentences 12 more migrants

Morocco’s appeals court sentences 12 more migrants
  • The AMDH human rights group said the 12 migrants would be jailed for three years without parole after being prosecuted for “illegal entry onto Moroccan soil” and “violence against law enforcement officers”

RABAT: A Moroccan appeals court has sentenced 12 Sudanese migrants to three years in jail over violence in the run-up to a June 24 border tragedy in which two dozen migrants died, a rights group said.
Around 2,000 people, many of them Sudanese, stormed the frontier on June 24 in an attempt to reach Spanish territory across one of the EU’s two land borders with Africa.
Rights groups have accused both Moroccan and Spanish security forces of responding with excessive force, leaving at least 23 migrants dead, the worst toll in years of such attempted crossings.
The AMDH human rights group said the 12 migrants would be jailed for three years without parole after being prosecuted for “illegal entry onto Moroccan soil” and “violence against law enforcement officers.”
“It’s a very harsh and unexpected sentence, given that they had initially been sentenced to 11 months in prison,” said Omar Naji of AMDH in the border town of Nador.
The June 24 tragedy followed days of clashes between Moroccan security forces in a forest near Melilla where migrants often spend months living rough before attempting to cross the heavily fortified barrier.
Naji said the 12 had been arrested in one of the clashes, six days before the border incident.
Since the tragedy, Morocco has sentenced dozens of migrants to prison terms of up to two and a half years on charges including illegal entry and belonging to criminal gangs.
The Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta have long been a magnet for people fleeing violence and poverty across Africa to seek refuge in Europe.


Iran lead negotiator to meet UN nuclear watchdog chief

Iran lead negotiator to meet UN nuclear watchdog chief
Updated 25 September 2022

Iran lead negotiator to meet UN nuclear watchdog chief

Iran lead negotiator to meet UN nuclear watchdog chief
  • The UN watchdog said early this month it was ‘not in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful’

TEHRAN: The head of Iran’s atomic energy agency said on Saturday he will meet next week the chief of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, as attempts to revive the country’s nuclear deal stall.
“I will go to Austria to take part in the annual general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, where I will meet with Director General Rafael Grossi,” Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Mohammad Eslami told state television.
The Vienna-based IAEA’s annual conference takes place this year from Sept. 26-30.
The UN watchdog said early this month it was “not in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.”
It has been pressing for answers on the presence of nuclear material at three undeclared sites and the issue led to a resolution that criticized Iran being passed at a June meeting of the IAEA’s board of governors.
The three sites represent a key sticking point in negotiations to restore a tattered 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
Those negotiations began in Vienna in April 2021 but have repeatedly stalled. The US walked out of the original deal under then-President Donald Trump in 2018 and re-imposed biting sanctions, provoking Tehran into incrementally stepping back from its nuclear commitments.
Iran has repeatedly said it wants the IAEA to drop its interest in the three sites — a position that the nuclear watchdog says lacks credibility.
“I hope that my talks will put an end ... to the false accusations about certain (nuclear) sites stemming from political pressure and psychological operations exerted against Iran,” Eslami added.
In a speech at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi reiterated his country’s long-held insistence that it is not seeking a nuclear weapon.