Iraq asks Turkey to release more water along Tigris, Euphrates

The dam will be Turkey's second largest and has been built downstream of the Tigris. (AFP)
The dam will be Turkey's second largest and has been built downstream of the Tigris. (AFP)
Updated 17 July 2022

Iraq asks Turkey to release more water along Tigris, Euphrates

The dam will be Turkey's second largest and has been built downstream of the Tigris. (AFP)
  • Both sides agreed that an Iraqi “technical delegation” would visit Turkey and allowed to “evaluate Turkish dam reserves on site”

BAGHDAD: Iraq on Saturday asked Ankara to increase the flow of water downstream along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, as both countries face droughts and tensions over resource management.
Baghdad regularly complains that dams constructed in neighboring countries impact its river levels.
Water Minister Mehdi Al-Hamdani and the Turkish president’s special representative for Iraq, Veysel Eroglu, discussed “quantities of water arriving in Iraq through the Tigris and Euphrates” from Turkey, an Iraqi statement said.
Hamdani asked Turkey via videoconference “to re-examine the amounts of water released, in order to allow Iraq to overcome the current water shortage,” it added.
Eroglu said he would pass on the request to water authorities in Ankara to “increase the amounts of water released in the coming days, according to (Turkey’s) available reserves,” according to the Iraqi statement.

HIGHLIGHT

The UN classifies Iraq as the ‘fifth most vulnerable country in the world’ to climate change, having already witnessed record low rainfall and high temperatures in recent years.

Both sides agreed that an Iraqi “technical delegation” would visit Turkey and allowed to “evaluate Turkish dam reserves on site.”
The UN classifies Iraq as the ‘fifth most vulnerable country in the world’ to climate change, having already witnessed record low rainfall and high temperatures in recent years.
The issue of managing water resources has raised tensions between Baghdad and Ankara.
On Tuesday, Turkey’s Ambassador to Iraq, Ali Riza Guney, sparked anger by accusing Iraqis of “squandering” water resources, calling on Twitter for “immediate measures to reduce the waste” including “the modernization of irrigation systems.”
Hamdani responded that Ankara was assuming “the right to reduce Iraq’s water quota.”
Iraq has seen three years of successive droughts and has halved cultivated agricultural areas for its 42 million inhabitants.
“Water reserves have dropped 60 percent compared to last year,” a government official said this Wednesday, Iraq’s INA news agency reported.
Water levels arriving from the Tigris and the Euphrates were around a third of the average over the past century, according to the figures.


Jordan’s King Abdullah meets with sultan in Oman

Jordan’s King Abdullah meets with sultan in Oman
Updated 04 October 2022

Jordan’s King Abdullah meets with sultan in Oman

Jordan’s King Abdullah meets with sultan in Oman
  • King Abdullah expressed appreciation for Oman’s efforts to bolster security and stability in the region
  • Two leaders agreed to advance joint economic cooperation in trade, investment, and industry

RIYADH: Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq on Tuesday expressed keenness to bolster bilateral relations in all fields during a meeting in Muscat.

During talks held at Al-Alam Palace in Muscat, the two leaders agreed to advance joint economic cooperation in trade, investment, and industry, Jordan News Agency reported.

King Abdullah and Sultan Haitham stressed the need to step up the trade exchange between their countries and called for the Oman-Jordan Joint Committee to reconvene after the king’s visit.

The importance of bolstering cooperation between the private sectors in the two countries and maintaining coordination and consultation on various issues of mutual concern including food security and energy was also discussed.

King Abdullah expressed appreciation for Oman’s continuous efforts to bolster security and stability in the region.

The monarch also highlighted the importance of supporting the Palestinians to seek their just and legitimate rights, and the need to achieve a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution.

The meeting was attended by Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II.


Yemen govt slams Houthi threats to attack oil ships

Yemen govt slams Houthi threats to attack oil ships
Updated 04 October 2022

Yemen govt slams Houthi threats to attack oil ships

Yemen govt slams Houthi threats to attack oil ships
  • Houthis ordered operators to stop shipping oil and minerals from government-controlled regions
  • Militia group refused to renew UN truce and resumed aggressive military operations in Marib, Taiz, and Dhale

AL-MUKALLA: The internationally recognized government of Yemen has slammed Houthi threats to attack oil ships and called for international action to stop the group from damaging civilian infrastructure and power sources.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak described the threats as “criminal and terrorist activity,” adding that the Iran-backed Houthis had no respect for international agreements prohibiting attacks on civilian facilities.

“Such a threat is unmistakable evidence of these groups’ terrorist nature, which is nothing new to Yemenis. It is crucial that the world understands how this terrorist organization operates and how it disregards fundamental international laws and conventions,” he told Arab News on Tuesday.

The minister’s comments came as the Aden-based Ministry of Transportation urged foreign shipping companies to continue their operations despite Houthi demands that they stop movements of the country’s oil.

In a letter sent on Monday to agents of shipping firms operating in Yemen, the ministry’s Maritime Affairs Authority said they should carry on exporting the nation’s oil, gas, and minerals from government-controlled ports and not comply with Houthi demands or threats.

“Memoranda or circulars will not be considered unless they are issued by Aden’s Presidency of the General Authority for Maritime Affairs,” the government’s maritime body said in the letter seen by Arab News.

The Yemen government’s request came a day after the Houthis officially ordered ship operators to stop transporting oil and minerals from government-controlled regions, threatening to target their vessels if the demand was ignored.

On Sunday, hours before a UN-brokered truce expired, the Houthis’ Minister of Transport Abdul-Wahab Yahya Al-Durra sent a letter requesting firms to cease shipping the country’s oil and other natural resources by 6 p.m., accusing them of looting Yemen’s resources.

“Any navigation activity that violates standard procedures will be treated as an illegal act that jeopardizes national interests, and we hold you fully responsible for violating it,” the Houthi minister said in his letter, also seen by Arab News.

The Yemeni militia group has refused to renew the UN truce and has resumed aggressive military operations in Marib, Taiz, and Dhale.

The Houthis threatened to target oil ships docking in government-controlled areas in a bid to deprive the government of financial resources unless it paid all public employees in areas under the group’s control, reopened Sanaa airport, and lifted alleged restrictions on fuel ship movements through Hodeidah port.

The Houthis’ refusal to open roads in Taiz has also hampered efforts to keep the truce in place.

The Yemeni government has said that the Houthis should pay public employees in their areas with the millions of dollars earned from fuel ships passing through Hodeidah port during the truce.

Yemen’s Oil Minister Saeed Al-Shumasi recently told Al-Ghad Mushreq TV that the country exported 2 million barrels of oil every two months from oil fields in the southeastern province of Hadramout, plus 600,000 barrels from the southern province of Shabwa.

The Dhaba oil terminal in Hadramout province handles most of the country’s oil exports to international markets.


UAE provides aid to Somali people hit by drought

UAE provides aid to Somali people hit by drought
Updated 04 October 2022

UAE provides aid to Somali people hit by drought

UAE provides aid to Somali people hit by drought
  • Relief efforts continue to pour in to meet the needs of more than 2.5 million
  • The aid is a collaborative effort between UAE relief agencies and the Somali Disaster Management Authority

ABU DHABI: A ship carrying nearly 1,000 tons of aid to Somali people hit by drought is the latest contribution of the UAE to the relief effort.
The ship, which docked in Mogadishu last month, will distribute its cargo to help meet the needs of more than 2.5 million people, reported Emirates News Agency (WAM).
The aid effort is part of a coordinated project with the Emirates Red Crescent Authority, the Zayed Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation and the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan Foundation for Humanitarian Works.
The distribution has been expanded in the past week to camps in the most badly hit areas, including Mogadishu and in the Mahas and Mataban areas of Hiran governorate in the Hirshabelle region.
The aid is a collaborative effort between UAE relief agencies and the Somali Disaster Management Authority.
The drought facing Somalia is the worst in decades. The UN World Meteorological Organization has predicted the country will face a fifth successive failed rainy season.
More than 7 million Somalis face humanitarian issues and are in need of food, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
 


Savers storm Lebanese banks to demand their money

Savers storm Lebanese banks to demand their money
Updated 04 October 2022

Savers storm Lebanese banks to demand their money

Savers storm Lebanese banks to demand their money
  • Retired diplomat entered the IBL branch in Hazmieh and refused to leave until he was given his savings
  • A retired security officer entered BLC Bank in Bekaa and demanded that $4,300 be transferred to his son in Ukraine

BEIRUT: A former police officer brandishing a weapon and a retired ambassador were among savers who stormed banks in Lebanon after they partially reopened following a week’s closure after earlier raids.
Georges Habib Siam, 76, the honorary consul general of Ireland and former protocol director at Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry, entered the IBL branch in Hazmieh, Mount Lebanon, and refused to leave until he was given his savings.
Ali Deeb Al-Sahli, a retired member of the Internal Security Forces, entered the Chtaura branch of the BLC Bank in the Bekaa, and demanded that $4,300 be transferred to his son in Ukraine, who was evicted from his house and expelled from university due to a lack of money.
A video shared on social media showed other savers cheering Al-Sahli, before bank employees are seen taking his weapon, before detaining and then handing him over to security forces. Another video showed Al-Sahli saying he would sell his kidney for money.
Ali Hassan Hodroj, another saver, demanded that staff in the Byblos Bank branch in Tire, southern Lebanon, hand over his savings of around $44,000. He was able to recover some money, which he handed over to another protester outside before surrendering himself to police.
Meanwhile, dozens of employees of the Kadisha Electricity Co. stormed the FNB’s Tripoli branch, demanding their full salaries and allowances after the bank deducted 3 percent.
The latest attempts by Lebanese to get their money came two weeks after hold-ups at seven branches, which led to banks closing for a week in protest.
The Lebanese financial system has been in turmoil since 2020, with the Lebanese pound losing most of its value. The country’s banks have restricted depositor withdrawals from their dollar accounts and any money taken out in local currency has been subject to exchange rates that have rendered it almost worthless. Meanwhile, authorities have yet to enact a recovery plan.
Hassan Moghnieh, the head of Lebanon’s Depositors Association, told Arab News: “The situation is going to get worse as long as there is no radical solution to the issue of withholding deposits.
“Ignoring this will lead to more chaos, despite all the measures taken, since all people have deposits in banks.”
Assad Khoury, the head of the Syndicate of Bank Employees in Lebanon, said: “Things will not be resolved by storming banks. A comprehensive solution is required. The responsibility lies primarily with the political authority, which is still trying to deny its responsibilities.”
The Association of Banks in Lebanon said that it had no control over financial or monetary policies, and its members were not the decision-makers.
In a statement, it said: “The state withdrew $62.6 billion from the central bank. These sums were spent on maintaining subsidies, stabilizing the exchange rate, high interests, electricity, the state’s import needs, and others.
“When the crisis began, the central bank had reserves of about $33 billion. Today, reserves have fallen to about $10 billion.
“When banks tried to speak up in an effort to change the situation, the head of the ABL was prosecuted.
“If the situation continues, the International Monetary Fund will stop negotiating with Lebanon, the central bank’s reserves will be depleted, and the state will be unable to secure any purchases from abroad.
“Lebanon would thus be unable to secure the minimum necessities of living, such as electricity, water, medicine, telecommunications, etc., and hope of recovering deposits would fade, and the local currency would depreciate even further,” the association statement added.
 


Egypt, Greece reject Turkish-Libyan MoU for oil-gas exploration

Egypt, Greece reject Turkish-Libyan MoU for oil-gas exploration
Updated 04 October 2022

Egypt, Greece reject Turkish-Libyan MoU for oil-gas exploration

Egypt, Greece reject Turkish-Libyan MoU for oil-gas exploration
  • The dispute between Egypt and Greece on one side and Turkey on the other dates back to November 2019
  • Turkey supports the Tripoli-based GNU, whose legitimacy is contested by the Libyan parliament

CAIRO: Egypt and Greece have rejected a memorandum of understanding signed in Tripoli between Libya’s Government of National Unity and Turkey for gas and oil exploration in Libyan waters.

Libya is split between two rival administrations. One is the Government of National Unity of Abdul Hamid Dbeibah in Tripoli, who refused to step down after Libya failed to hold elections last year.

A second administration is led by Fathi Bashagha who operates from the eastern city of Benghazi after failed efforts to install his government in the capital.

Turkey supports the Tripoli-based GNU, whose legitimacy is contested by the Libyan parliament.

At a joint press conference with GNU counterpart, Najla El-Manqoush, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced the signing of a “memorandum of understanding for oil and gas exploration in territorial waters and on Libyan territory by joint Turkish-Libyan companies.”

Cavusoglu stressed that the MoU is “an affair of the two countries, and no country has the right to interfere,” noting that his country “does not suffer from any shortage of energy,” and expecting that “the trade exchange between Libya and Turkey will increase to $4 billion.”

El-Manqoush said the MoU between the two countries “is in their interests.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry received a phone call from his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias to discuss regional issues. They stressed that the regime in Tripoli does not have the authority to conclude any international agreements or memoranda of understanding, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Dendias later tweeted: “Ι spoke with Egypt counterpart Shoukry regarding the recent developments in Libya. We both challenged the legitimacy of the Libyan Government of National Unity to sign the said MoU.”

He said he will visit Cairo on Sunday for further consultations.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ahmed Abu Zeid, said Dbeibah does not have the authority to sign new agreements, especially about the future of the Libyan people and the management of their resources.

The Greek Foreign Ministry said that Greece is “closely following developments in Libya, particularly signing of an MoU on hydrocarbons between the Government of National Unity of Libya and Turkey.

“Greece has sovereign rights in the area, which it intends to defend using all legal means, with full respect for the international law of the sea,” it added.

It said Greece “will continue to inform its partners and allies about Turkey’s destabilizing role.”

The dispute between Egypt and Greece on one side and Turkey on the other dates back to November 2019, when the Turkish government and the Libyan Government of National Accord signed an MoU on sovereignty over the maritime areas in the Mediterranean.

Greece said: “It is noted that the Turkish-Libyan memorandum of 2019 is illegal, invalid and non-existent. Therefore, no one has any right to invoke it.”

A high-level Turkish delegation arrived on Monday in Tripoli, headed by Ibrahim Kalin, the chief adviser to the Turkish president.

The Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh said that “any agreement, treaty or MoU made by the PM of the Government of National Unity is rejected and illegal due to the expiry of her mandate on Dec. 24, 2021.”

Saleh also warned that the signing of any MoU, treaty or agreement by the Dbeibah regime “is not binding on the state of Libya and the Libyan people.”

Saleh pointed out that any MoU signed must be made through the head of state or parliament, or through the legitimate government that has won the confidence of parliament, represented by the government of Bashagha.

Greece welcomed the statement.

The Bashagha government said that it “will begin direct consultations with national, regional, and international partners to respond appropriately to these abuses.”

It described the MoU as “threatening the interests of peace and security in Libya and the region.”

The spokesman for the GNU, Mohamed Hammouda, said the MoU between the Libyan and Turkish sides strengthens cooperation.

The political deadlock over control of the government has frustrated efforts to hold national elections in Libya and raised fears that the country could return to conflict.