Putin hosts Erdogan for talks on trade, Ukraine, Syria

Putin hosts Erdogan for talks on trade, Ukraine, Syria
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin prior to their meeting at the Rus sanatorium in Sochi on Aug. 5, 2022. (Turkish Presidency via AP )
Putin hosts Erdogan for talks on trade, Ukraine, Syria
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Turkish military vehicles during a joint patrol in Syria’s northeastern Hasakeh province on the border with Turkey on July 14, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 05 August 2022

Putin hosts Erdogan for talks on trade, Ukraine, Syria

Putin hosts Erdogan for talks on trade, Ukraine, Syria
  • They adopted a statement pledging to boost political and economic cooperation
  • The talks came as Russia’s isolation grows following its intervention in Ukraine

MOSCOW: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Russia Friday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin focusing on a grain deal brokered by Turkey and the UN, prospects for talks on ending hostilities in Ukraine, the situation in Syria and growing economic ties between Moscow and Ankara.
Speaking at the start of the meeting at Putin’s Black Sea residence in Sochi, Erdogan said their negotiations would help “put forward the role that Turkey and Russia play in the region.” He cast the talks as pivotal, saying they were being watched closely by the rest of the world.
“Today, of, course, the world’s eye is on Sochi,” Erdogan said. “They are following it, wondering what is being discussed and done in Sochi.”
The two sides adopted a statement pledging to boost political and economic cooperation including in energy and trade.
The talks between Putin and Erdogan came as Russia’s isolation grows following its intervention in Ukraine.
“Despite the current regional and global challenges, the leaders reaffirmed their common will to further develop Russian-Turkish relations,” the Kremlin said in a statement following the four-hour talks.
While Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine was not explicitly mentioned in the statement, the leaders stressed the resumption of Ukrainian grain shipments, pointing to the two countries’ “constructive relations” that they stressed made the agreement possible.
The statement also made no direct mention of any new offensive that Turkey might be planning against Kurdish militants in Syria.
“The parties confirmed that they attach great importance to advancing the political process” in Syria, the statement said.
“The determination to act jointly and in close coordination with each other in the fight against all terrorist organizations was reaffirmed.”
At the start of the talks Putin also praised the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project, saying Europe should be grateful to Turkey for uninterrupted supplies of Russian gas.
Last month, Turkey and the United Nations helped broker agreements between Russia and Ukraine to clear the way for Ukraine to export 22 million tons of agricultural products stuck in its Black Sea ports since Moscow sent troops into the country more than five months ago. The deals also allow Russia to export grain and fertilizer.
Three more ships carrying thousands of tons of corn left Ukrainian ports Friday. The first vessel to depart under the terms of the deal left Ukraine earlier in the week.
Putin thanked Erdogan for helping to negotiate the grain deal, which is overseen from Istanbul by officials from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN Cargo vessels are accompanied by Ukrainian pilot ships for safe passage because of explosive mines strewn in the Black Sea.
Speaking to reporters after the talks, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said the leaders agreed that Turkey will start partly paying in rubles for Russian gas supplies. Moscow has previously switched to rubles in its trade with EU customers to avoid Western sanctions that blocked most payments in euros and froze Russian hard currency reserves abroad.
Novak also said “big” agreements were reached in the financial sphere to facilitate payments by Russian companies and citizens.
“Very important decisions that were reached during today’s talks will take our economic and trade ties to a new level in practically all areas,” he told reporters.
While Moscow and Ankara have backed the opposite sides in the Syrian conflict, with Russia shoring up President Bashar Assad’s government with Iranian assistance while Turkey supported the opposition, the two countries cooperated closely to negotiate a cease-fire deal in northwestern Syria.
Speaking to Putin Friday, Erdogan voiced hope that their discussion on Syria would “bring relief to the region.”
In a statement after the talks, the two leaders underlined the need for “close cooperation and coordination in the fight against all terrorist organizations.”
(With AP and AFP)


Lebanon receives US mediator proposals for maritime border with Israel

Lebanon receives US mediator proposals for maritime border with Israel
Updated 10 sec ago

Lebanon receives US mediator proposals for maritime border with Israel

Lebanon receives US mediator proposals for maritime border with Israel
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has received a letter from US mediator Amos Hochstein regarding proposals for the demarcation of a maritime border with Israel, the presidency said on Saturday on Twitter.
A deal could defuse a potential source of conflict between Israel and the heavily armed, Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah, which has warned against any Israeli exploration and extraction in the disputed waters.

Arab states condemn terrorist attack on educational center in Kabul

Arab states condemn terrorist attack on educational center in Kabul
Updated 11 min 52 sec ago

Arab states condemn terrorist attack on educational center in Kabul

Arab states condemn terrorist attack on educational center in Kabul

DUBAI: Arab states have condemned Friday’s terrorist attack that targeted an educational center in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, which killed teenage students, most of them girls.

The bombing happened in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood of western Kabul, a predominantly Shiite Muslim area home to the minority Hazara community, the target of some of Afghanistan’s most deadly attacks.

The bomber shot dead two security guards before entering the gender-segregated hall where students were sitting for a practice college examination, earlier reports said.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.

The Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, in a statement, condemned the attack which killed and injured “scores of innocent people.”

The ministry voiced its rejection of all forms of violence and terrorism.

Bahrain also condemned the suicide blast, and in a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the kingdom’s “deep condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims.”

It also wished a speedy recovery for those injured.

Kuwait similarly denounced the attack as the Gulf state renewed its “firm and principled stance against all forms of violence and terrorism.”


Turkey rejects Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory

Turkey rejects Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory
Updated 40 min 37 sec ago

Turkey rejects Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory

Turkey rejects Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory
  • Turkey, a NATO member, has conducted a diplomatic balancing act since Russia invaded Ukraine

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday it rejects Russia’s annexation of four regions in Ukraine, adding the decision is a “grave violation” of international law.
Turkey, a NATO member, has conducted a diplomatic balancing act since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Ankara opposes Western sanctions on Russia and has close ties with both Moscow and Kyiv, its Black Sea neighbors. It has also criticized Russia’s invasion and sent armed drones to Ukraine.
The Turkish ministry said on Saturday it had not recognized Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, adding that it rejects Russia’s decision to annex the four regions, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
“This decision, which constitutes a grave violation of the established principles of international law, cannot be accepted,” the ministry said.
“We reiterate our support to the resolution of this war, the severity of which keeps growing, based on a just peace that will be reached through negotiations,” it added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of the regions on Friday, promising Moscow would triumph in its “special military operation” even as he faced a potentially serious new military reversal.
His proclamation came after Russia held what it called referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine. Western governments and Kyiv said the votes breached international law and were coercive and non-representative.
The United States, Britain and Canada announced new sanctions in response.
Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky said on Friday his country had submitted a fast-track application to join the NATO military alliance and that he would not hold peace talks with Russia while Putin was still president.


UAE provides aid to those affected by floods in Mauritania

UAE provides aid to those affected by floods in Mauritania
Updated 01 October 2022

UAE provides aid to those affected by floods in Mauritania

UAE provides aid to those affected by floods in Mauritania
  • According to UN OCHA, at least 19 people have died, 38,000 people have been affected

The UAE sent a plane carrying food items on Friday to various cities and villages affected by the torrential rains that recently struck southern and eastern Mauritania, state news agency WAM reported. 

Since late July, heavy rainfall and widespread floods hit several parts of Mauritania. According to UN OCHA, at least 19 people have died, 38,000 people have been affected, and almost 4,000 houses destroyed.

“The provision of these supplies reflects the strong relations between the two countries and underscores the UAE’s humanitarian role in providing relief to those in need and those affected by disasters that threaten food security,” said Hamad Ghanem al-Mehairi, UAE Ambassador to Mauritania. 

The UAE previously sent aid to Mauritania in April 2021, as well as medical aid to support the country's efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.


Iran arrests artist whose viral song became protest anthem

Iran arrests artist whose viral song became protest anthem
Updated 01 October 2022

Iran arrests artist whose viral song became protest anthem

Iran arrests artist whose viral song became protest anthem
  • A few days before his arrest on September 29, Shervin Hajipour posted the moving song on Instagram
  • Iranian authorities have also arrested female artist Donya Rad, Radio Farda reported

DUBAI: Shervin Hajipour, whose viral song became the anthem for anti-government protests in Iran, has been arrested by police with his whereabouts currently unknown.

It was also unclear what were the charges brought against the young singer, news website Radio Farda reported.

A few days before his arrest on September 29, Hajipour posted the moving song on Instagram describing the current situation in the Islamic Republic, which was triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini while in custody of the morality police.

Hajipour’s song had garnered more than 40 million views on Instagram, and has spread on other social media platforms, before it was removed.

The lyrics of Hajipour’s song was woven from tweets posted by Iranians following Amini’s death, many of them blaming the country’s clerical leadership for the current social, economic and political problems.

 

 

“For the shame of having no money,” read one of the tweets in Hajipour’s song.

“For the fear of kissing a lover on the street,” said another tweet.

“For the political prisoners,” another part of the lyrics said.

Iranian authorities have also arrested female artist Donya Rad, Radio Farda reported, after she posted a photo of herself eating out in Tehran without a head scarf and the image going viral on social media.

Rad’s sister claimed Donya was taken to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.