Egypt, Cyprus, Greece look to step up military cooperation

Egypt, Cyprus, Greece look to step up military cooperation
The three countries reviewed regional and international defense situation and its implications for security and stability in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. (AFP)
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Updated 21 June 2022

Egypt, Cyprus, Greece look to step up military cooperation

Egypt, Cyprus, Greece look to step up military cooperation
  • Exchange of skills, joint exercises among plans to face security challenges
  • Mutual efforts aimed at ‘regional peace and stability,’ defense minsters say

CAIRO: Egypt, Cyprus and Greece have discussed strengthening joint military cooperation to face security challenges and threats.

This came during Egypt’s hosting of the fifth meeting of the defense ministers, as well as leaders of the armed forces, of the three countries.

Egyptian military spokesman Col. Arkan Harb Gharib Abdel Hafez said in a statement that the meeting dealt with a number of topics and issues related to defense cooperation.

Lt. Gen. Mohamed Zaki, commander-in-chief of Egypt’s armed forces, and minister of defense and military production, held a bilateral meeting with the Cypriot Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides to discuss the transfer and exchange of information and skills between the armed forces of both countries.

Zaki also held talks with Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, Greek minister of defense, to review the regional and international defense situation and its implications for security and stability in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean.

In his opening address, Zaki highlighted “the importance of supporting means of cooperation and partnership between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece, which contributes to achieving security and stability in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean region, praising the fruitful cooperation the Egyptian-Cypriot-Greek relations are witnessing during recent times.”

The Cypriot defense minister supported extended partnership and cooperation, especially with joint exercises and the exchange of experiences between the armed forces.

The Greek defense minister expressed his appreciation for Egypt’s influential and active role to achieve security and stability in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean.

At the conclusion of the discussions, a joint statement was signed within the framework of the efforts of the Egyptian, Cypriot and Greek armed forces to support cooperation in defense and security in order to confront challenges and threats, and support peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean.


Kurdish officials: Death toll climbs in Iranian drone attack

Kurdish officials: Death toll climbs in Iranian drone attack
Updated 1 min 5 sec ago

Kurdish officials: Death toll climbs in Iranian drone attack

Kurdish officials: Death toll climbs in Iranian drone attack
  • Kurdish regional government ‘strongly condemns’ repetitive violations of its sovereignty
  • Iranian artillery fire has hit border districts of Iraqi Kurdistan on several occasions in recent days

KOYA, Iraq: An Iranian drone bombing campaign targeting the bases of an Iranian-Kurdish opposition group in northern Iraq Wednesday has killed at least nine people and wounded 32 others, the Kurdish Regional Government’s Health Ministry said.

The strikes took place as demonstrations continued to engulf the Islamic Republic after the death of a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who was detained by the Iranian morality police.

Iran’s attacks targeted Koya, some 65 kilometers east of Irbil, said Soran Nuri, a member of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan. The group, known by the acronym KDPI, is a leftist armed opposition force banned in Iran.

Iraq’s Foreign Ministry and the Kurdistan Regional Government have condemned the strikes.

“Attacks on opposition groups through the Islamic Republic of Iran’s missiles, under any pretext, is an incorrect stance which promotes a misleading interpretation of the course of events,” the Kurdistan Regional Government said.

“We strongly condemn these continuous attacks which result in the death of civilians and we call for an end to these violations.”

Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its statement condemned “in the strongest terms the artillery and missile targeting by the Iranian side, which affected four areas in the Kurdistan Region.”

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency and broadcaster said the country’s Revolutionary Guard targeted bases of a separatist group in the north of Iraq with “precision missiles” and “suicide drones.”

The Iranian drone strikes targeted a military camp, homes, offices and other areas around Koya, Nuri said. Nuri described the attack as ongoing.

Following the first series of strikes, Iran then shelled seven positions in Koya’s stronghold in Qala, a KDPI official told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity in order to speak publicly. The Qala area includes the party’s politburo.

An Associated Press journalist saw ambulances racing through Koya after the strikes. Smoke rose from the site of one apparent strike as security forces closed off the area.

On Saturday and Monday, Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard unleashed a wave of drone and artillery strikes targeting Kurdish positions.

The attacks appear to be a response to the ongoing protests roiling Iran over the death of a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who was detained by the nation’s morality police.

The United Nations Secretary-General called on Iran early Wednesday to refrain from using “unnecessary or disproportionate force” against protesters as unrest over a young woman’s death in police custody spread across the country.

Antonio Guterres said through a spokesman that authorities should swiftly conduct an impartial investigation of the death of Mahsa Amini, which has sparked unrest across Iran’s provinces and the capital of Tehran.


Lebanon to apply weaker official exchange rate, finance minister says

Lebanon to apply weaker official exchange rate, finance minister says
Updated 6 sec ago

Lebanon to apply weaker official exchange rate, finance minister says

Lebanon to apply weaker official exchange rate, finance minister says
BEIRUT: Lebanon's central bank will use an official exchange rate of 15,000 pounds to the dollar instead of 1,507, Finance Minister Youssef Khalil told Reuters on Wednesday, calling it a step towards unifying the country's numerous exchange rates.
The step will come into effect from the end of the October, Khalil said.
Lebanese authorities introduced the 1,507 rate in 1997.
But the pound has slumped by more than 95% from the official rate since Lebanon fell into financial crisis three years ago, currently changing hands at around 38,000 on a parallel market.
Unifying the numerous exchange rates is one of several conditions set by the IMF for Lebanon to secure a badly needed aid package. Last week, the IMF said Lebanon's progress in implementing reforms remained very slow.

Japan exempts UAE nationals from visa requirements upon entry

Japan exempts UAE nationals from visa requirements upon entry
Updated 13 min 26 sec ago

Japan exempts UAE nationals from visa requirements upon entry

Japan exempts UAE nationals from visa requirements upon entry

DUBAI: Japan announced the exemption of UAE nationals from visa requirements for holders of ordinary passports on Wednesday.

The date of the new entry rules will be announced within the next few days, according to the Emirates News Agency (WAM.)

In a meeting with Japan Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa, UAE Special Envoy to Japan Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber stressed that Japan’s announcement is a result of the UAE’s diplomacy efforts under the supervision of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

He added that the step contributes to facilitating cooperation and mobility, and will encourage tourism, cultural and academic exchanges, in addition to finding new cooperation opportunities for the establishment of business, trade and investment.

Al Jaber also stressed that the UAE and Japan have strong strategic relations, which aims to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries to serve common interests by encouraging more diplomatic, economic and political participation, trade and investment.

The Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology also met the Japanese Minister of Digital Transformation KONO Taro in Tokyo on Sept. 28.

Kono also expressed his appreciation to Al Jaber for attending the former prime minister’s state funeral; both ministers exchanged gratitude for this year’s 50 year anniversary that ties both countries together representing a milestone for exploring new opportunities.

 

*This article was originally published on Arab News Japan


Egypt retrieves smuggled ancient statue from Switzerland

Egypt retrieves smuggled ancient statue from Switzerland
Updated 28 September 2022

Egypt retrieves smuggled ancient statue from Switzerland

Egypt retrieves smuggled ancient statue from Switzerland
  • Swiss customs found artifact in 2018 during routine inspection
  • From Late Period, it depicts goddess Isis carrying her son Horus

CAIRO: Egypt has recovered from Switzerland an ancient bronze statue taken out of the country illegally. It dates to the Late Period of around 664 to 332 B.C. and depicts the goddess Isis carrying her son Horus.

Wael Gad, Egypt’s ambassador to Switzerland, received the statue, which was kept at the embassy in preparation for its return to the country.

In November 2018, Swiss customs officials discovered the statue during a routine inspection.

An Egyptian committee of experts confirmed that the seized statue was surreptitiously excavated and smuggled out of the country.

Egypt’s foreign ministry said the efforts were indicative of “the utmost importance that Egypt attaches to … recovering smuggled antiquities and returning them to the homeland.”

Earlier this month, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities recovered 16 artifacts from the US. This was in coordination with Egypt’s foreign ministry and New York’s public prosecutor.

“During the past year, Egypt recovered more than 5,300 antiquities from America, France, Spain and Canada,” said Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, general supervisor of the administration of recovered antiquities at the Supreme Council of Antiquities.


Pope Francis to visit Bahrain in November: Vatican

Pope Francis to visit Bahrain in November: Vatican
Updated 28 September 2022

Pope Francis to visit Bahrain in November: Vatican

Pope Francis to visit Bahrain in November: Vatican

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis will in November visit Bahrain, home to the biggest Catholic church in the Arabian peninsula, the Vatican said Wednesday.

Francis, 85, will be the first pope ever to visit the majority-Muslim Arabian Gulf country, according to Vatican News.

He has been under doctor’s orders to slow down, after suffering from a painful knee that has forced him to use a wheelchair and cancel some events.

Francis will visit the capital of Manama and city of Awali during the November 3 to 6 trip, and will attend the “Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence.”

Further details of the visit — the 39th international trip of Francis’s papacy — will be released at a later date.

But the pontiff is likely to visit the cavernous Cathedral of Our Lady of Arabia, in Awali, which opened its doors last year.

The modern-style church lies about 1.6 kilometers from a large mosque and a stone’s throw from an oil well, in the south of the state.

It was built to serve the country’s 80,000 or so Catholics, mainly workers from Asia, mostly India and the Philippines.

The pontiff received Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa at the Vatican in 2014.

The pair discussed “peace and stability in the Middle East” and the Christian community’s positive contribution to the country, the Holy See said at the time.

The trip comes on the back of another journey to a Muslim-majority country, following Francis’s visit to Kazakhstan earlier this month.