Saudi foreign minister leads calls for unity at Arab League summit

Saudi foreign minister leads calls for unity at Arab League summit
Calls for unity at the summit were led by the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan. (SPA)
Short Url
Updated 03 November 2022

Saudi foreign minister leads calls for unity at Arab League summit

Saudi foreign minister leads calls for unity at Arab League summit
  • Reject internal differences and prioritize our common interests, Prince Faisal says
  • Kingdom strives to facilitate conditions for successful Arab economic integration: FM

JEDDAH: Arab leaders on Wednesday called for unity in defense of the Palestinian cause and the protection of Jerusalem.

The Arab League summit in Algiers concluded with a pledge of continued Arab support for Palestine, and condemnation of Israel’s use of violence and its blockade of Gaza.

Calls for unity were led by the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan. “We must intensify coordination and consultation and reject our internal differences and prioritize our common interests,” Prince Faisal said.

“We stress the importance of continuous coordination among our Arab countries to enhance our national and regional security and renew our total rejection and response to the approach of expansion and domination at the expense of others.

“We will not allow others to impose their values on us, and since we respect the values and cultures of others, we hope others will respect that.”

Deputizing for King Salman, Prince Faisal said that the Palestinian cause will always remain at the center of the Arab nation’s concerns, until the establishment of an independent and sovereign state along June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

He added: “The Kingdom welcomes the results of the meetings hosted by Algeria as part of the reconciliation efforts between the Palestinian factions, and hopes that these efforts will lead to the unity of the Palestinian ranks.”

Prince Faisal addressed food security, saying that global crises highlighted the importance of economic integration among Arab countries, stressing that Saudi Arabia always attempts to create favorable conditions for this to occur.

He added that the country values collective Arab action, utilizing the potential of natural resources in oceans, investing in human resources, promoting biological and food diversity, and meeting the needs of food markets. 

The foreign minister added that in line with Vision 2030, the Kingdom seeks to advance in various fields, in collaboration with its Arab brothers, and in a way that contributes to confronting challenges that directly affect its citizens.

Prince Faisal said that the Kingdom continues to support efforts to achieve peace in Yemen, and that it has made every effort to support the UN envoy's proposal to extend the armistice there.

While highlighting the rejection of the Houthis to the proposal, he emphasized the importance of the international community maintaining political pressure on them. 

He went on to say that achieving long-term peace in Yemen should be based on the Gulf initiative and its implementation mechanism, as well as the outcomes of the comprehensive Yemeni national dialogue and relevant UN Security Council resolutions. 

He also stressed the importance of providing necessary support to Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council, noting Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian, relief, and development assistance to Yemen. 

Prince Faisal welcomed the formation of the new Iraqi government and wished it success.

He reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to assisting the country in achieving security, stability and future development, while in the process deepening bilateral cooperation in a variety of fields. 

The foreign minister also said Lebanon’s sovereignty, security and stability are critical to the Kingdom, and that Saudi Arabia was looking forward to the election of a president who can unite the Lebanese people and work to resolve the current crisis. 

Regarding Libya, he said his country’s position was that the solution to its conflict must be found away from external interference. 

Prince Faisal said that the Kingdom supports all Arab and international efforts to find a political solution to Syria’s crisis which preserves its identity, unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

He also expressed support for Sudan, noting that the Kingdom provides significant humanitarian assistance there.

The foreign minister concluded by expressing Saudi Arabia’s hope that the summit’s outcomes will contribute to the Arab world’s prioritized issues.


Gulf Air steward dies mid-air after suffering heart attack

Gulf Air steward dies mid-air after suffering heart attack
Updated 28 November 2022

Gulf Air steward dies mid-air after suffering heart attack

Gulf Air steward dies mid-air after suffering heart attack
  • Plane landed in Erbil and was immediately met by medical team
  • Al-Yazidi was pronounced dead on arrival in nearby hospital

LONDON: Air steward Yasser Saleh Al-Yazidi died mid-air after suffering a heart attack on a Gulf Air flight from Bahrain to Paris on Tuesday, Mail Online reported. 

The Airbus A321 was flying at 34,000 feet over Iraq when Al-Yazidi became ill, Erbil International Airport Director Ahmed Hoshyar told Iraqi media.

The pilots were forced to make an emergency landing in Erbil, Kurdistan, so that the crew member could receive medical treatment, Mail Online reported.

When the plane touched down, a medical team immediately transferred Al-Yazidi to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The plane was grounded for nearly four hours in Erbil before continuing on its way to Paris.

In the wake of Al-Yazidi’s death, the Bahrain-owned airline issued a statement.

“The national carrier expresses its deepest condolences to the crew member’s family and loved ones and confirms that the flight resumed to Paris as scheduled,” it read.

“Gulf Air reassures that the safety of its passengers and crew comes at the top of its priorities and thanks the affected flight’s passengers for their patience and understanding.”

Flight attendants with Gulf Air go through an intensive eight-week program in which they are trained in first aid, safety and emergency procedures.

As most commercial flights do not carry specialized medical equipment, however, pilots are generally required to perform an emergency landing if any serious medical issues arise, Mail Online said.

 


Senate slams European Parliament decision criticizing Egypt’s human rights record

Senate slams European Parliament decision criticizing Egypt’s human rights record
Updated 28 November 2022

Senate slams European Parliament decision criticizing Egypt’s human rights record

Senate slams European Parliament decision criticizing Egypt’s human rights record
  • Senate Speaker Abdel Wahab Abdel Razek accused the European Parliament of continually adopting positions and policies based on ‘fragile assumptions and misconceptions’
  • Abdel Razek: ‘Unfortunately, these policies are outdated, reminiscent of a European colonial legacy, and reveal nothing but a hidden desire to spread the culture of a particular civilization’

CAIRO: The Egyptian Senate has branded a European Parliament resolution criticizing Egypt’s progress on improving its human rights record as being based on “fragile assumptions and misconceptions.”

Senate Speaker Abdel Wahab Abdel Razek told a House of Representatives plenary session that the decision was unacceptable and went against “international rules and norms.”

The European Parliament resolution highlighted what it described as a lack of improvement in Egypt’s human rights situation including on the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly or association, and media freedoms.

Calling for a review of the EU’s relations with Egypt in light of “very limited progress on its human rights record,” the European Parliament also demanded the “immediate and unconditional release of a number of political activists, journalists, lawyers, and social media influencers.”

In a speech, Abdel Razek said: “We all received with displeasure the decision issued by the European Parliament on Nov. 24 regarding the human rights situation in Egypt.”

He accused the European Parliament of continually adopting positions and policies based on, “fragile assumptions and misconceptions and an attempt to claim that it has the authority to evaluate and hold others accountable outside the borders of its members, in violation of international rules and norms.

“Unfortunately, these policies are outdated, reminiscent of a European colonial legacy, and reveal nothing but a hidden desire to spread the culture of a particular civilization. These are issues that no free country, particularly Egypt, will accept,” he added.

In a statement on Friday, the Egyptian Parliament said the resolution, “shows again that the European Parliament insists on adopting an arrogant approach toward Egypt, giving itself the right to use a host of sheer lies to deliver a judgement regarding some recent developments inside Egypt.”

Abdel Razek noted that Egypt had sought to strengthen efforts to improve the lives of its citizens.

He highlighted the Decent Life Initiative as one of the country’s most important projects bringing together the public and private sectors, and civil society, to help boost living standards for Egypt’s neediest groups.

He added that Egypt had launched a national dialogue to identify issues of concern to citizens and had also reactivated the Presidential Pardon Committee which had previously worked to grant amnesty to convicts and reintegrate them into society.

In addition, millions of refugees and asylum seekers had been welcomed to Egypt, Abdel Razek said, adding that efforts to promote and preserve all human rights within the framework of a national vision were ongoing.


Iran frees hundreds after World Cup win over Wales

Iran frees hundreds after World Cup win over Wales
Updated 28 November 2022

Iran frees hundreds after World Cup win over Wales

Iran frees hundreds after World Cup win over Wales
  • 709 detainees were freed from different prisons in the country
  • Prominent Iranian actor Hengameh Ghaziani had also been released on bail

TEHRAN: Iran has released more than 700 prisoners after the national team’s World Cup football victory over Wales, the judiciary’s Mizan Online website said Monday.
It announced that “709 detainees were freed from different prisons in the country” following the 2-0 victory on Friday.
Among those are “some arrested during the recent events,” Mizan Online said, making indirect reference to demonstrations which have shaken Iran for more than two months.
It gave no further detail.
The ongoing protests were triggered by the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, after her arrest by morality police for an alleged breach of Iran’s strict dress rules for women.
Other Iranian media separately reported that prominent Iranian actor Hengameh Ghaziani had been released on bail after her arrest for having supported the protests.
Two of the most prominent figures detained over the demonstrations — former international footballer Voria Ghafouri and dissident Hossein Ronaghi — were also let out on bail, reports said.
State news agency IRNA reported on Monday that former state television host Mahmoud Shahriari, 63, had been released after two months in prison for “encouraging riots.”
Iran on Friday scored twice deep into stoppage time to stun Wales and breathe new life into its World Cup campaign ahead of a politically charged showdown Tuesday against the United States.
Iran lost its first World Cup match to England, 6-2.
Iran’s judiciary says more than 2,000 people have been charged since the start of the protests.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk last week said around 14,000 people have been arrested.

Related


Turkiye, Egypt to re-appoint ambassadors “in coming months”

Turkiye, Egypt to re-appoint ambassadors “in coming months”
Updated 28 November 2022

Turkiye, Egypt to re-appoint ambassadors “in coming months”

Turkiye, Egypt to re-appoint ambassadors “in coming months”

ANKARA: Turkiye and Egypt may restore full diplomatic ties and re-appoint ambassadors mutually “in coming months,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.
Ankara and Cairo may re-start diplomatic consultations led by deputy foreign ministers as part of a normalization process “soon,” Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara.
After years of tension, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan shook hands with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Qatar this month in what was described by the Egyptian presidency as a new start in bilateral relations.


Turkish forces nearly ready for a Syria ground operation – officials

Turkish forces nearly ready for a Syria ground operation – officials
Updated 28 November 2022

Turkish forces nearly ready for a Syria ground operation – officials

Turkish forces nearly ready for a Syria ground operation – officials
  • Eescalation comes after a deadly bomb attack in Istanbul two weeks ago that Ankara blamed on the YPG militia

ONCUPINAR, Turkiye: Turkiye’s army needs just a few days to be ready for a ground incursion into northern Syria and such a decision may come at a cabinet meeting on Monday, Turkish officials said, as Turkish forces bombarded a Kurdish militia across the border.
Howitzers fired daily from Turkiye have struck Kurdish YPG targets for a week, while warplanes have carried out airstrikes.
The escalation comes after a deadly bomb attack in Istanbul two weeks ago that Ankara blamed on the YPG militia. The YPG has denied involvement in the bombing and has responded at times to the cross-border attacks with mortar shelling.
“The Turkish Armed Forces needs just a few days to become almost fully ready,” one senior official said, adding that Turkiye-allied Syrian rebel fighters were ready for such an operation just a few days after the Nov. 13 Istanbul bomb.
“It won’t take long for the operation to begin,” he said. “It depends only on the president giving the word.”
Turkiye has previously launched military incursions in Syria against the YPG, regarding it as a wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Turkiye, the United States and European Union designate a terrorist group.
The PKK has also denied carrying out the Istanbul attack, in which six people were killed on a busy pedestrian avenue.
President Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkiye would launch a land operation when convenient to secure its southern border. He will chair a cabinet meeting at 3:30 p.m. (1230 GMT).
“All the preparations are complete. It’s now a political decision,” another Turkish official told Reuters, also requesting anonymity ahead of the meeting.
Erdogan said back in May that Turkiye would soon launch a military operation against the YPG in Syria, but such an operation did not materialize at that time.
The first Turkish official said a ground operation, targeting the areas of Manbij, Kobani and Tel Rifat, was inevitable to link up the areas brought under the control of Turkiye and its Syrian allies with incursions since 2016.
Ankara had been in contact with Moscow and Washington about its military activities, the person added.
The United States has told NATO member Turkiye it has serious concerns that an escalation would affect the goal of fighting Daesh militants in Syria.
Russia asked Turkiye to refrain from a full-scale ground offensive. It has supported Syrian President Bashar Assad in the country’s 11-year war, while Ankara has backed rebels fighting to topple him.
On Monday, the defense ministry said Turkiye’s army had “neutralized” 14 YPG militants preparing to carry out attacks in Syrian areas under Turkiye’s control. It typically uses the term to describe casualties.
The defense ministry said on Saturday three Turkish soldiers had been killed in northern Iraq, where the military has been conducting an operation against the PKK since April.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, having traveled to the Iraqi border area, was quoted as telling military commanders on Sunday that Turkiye will “complete the tasks” of the mission.