Jordan, UK ministers discuss boosting bilateral relations

Ahmed Safadi, Jordan’s lower house speaker, on Wednesday met Tariq Ahmad, UK’s minister of state for the MENA, South Asia, and the UN. (Twitter: @tariqahmadbt)
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Updated 01 June 2023
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Jordan, UK ministers discuss boosting bilateral relations

  • Ahmad emphasized his country’s enthusiasm for the expansion of bilateral cooperation while expressing “great” appreciation for Jordan’s efforts to assist refugees

AMMAN: Ahmed Safadi, Jordan’s lower house speaker, on Wednesday met Tariq Ahmad, UK’s minister of state for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and the UN, to help boost bilateral relations in parliamentary fields, the Jordan News Agency reported.

Safadi spoke of the “deep-rooted” friendship between Jordan and the UK and emphasized the importance of joint cooperation to serve common interests to achieve regional security and stability and boost support for the Palestinian people’s right to establish an independent state.

Safadi said Jordan was taking “confident” steps toward enhancing its political, administrative, and economic systems, and that the country had undertaken a “comprehensive” national project to achieve its development goals.

Ahmad said that the UK placed “remarkable” importance on Jordan’s role in the region, highlighting Amman’s “central and important” role in achieving security and stability in the Middle East.

He also stressed his country’s support for Hashemite custodianship over Jerusalem’s holy sites, as well as Jordan’s vision based on the two-state solution to achieve comprehensive peace.

Ahmad emphasized his country’s enthusiasm for the expansion of bilateral cooperation while expressing “great” appreciation for Jordan’s efforts to assist refugees.


Mideast faces prospect of ‘environmental catastrophe’: Iraqi PM

Updated 30 sec ago
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Mideast faces prospect of ‘environmental catastrophe’: Iraqi PM

  • Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani highlights Iraqi efforts to create regional group to tackle climate change
  • Report by Ministry of Water Resources warns Tigris, Euphrates rivers could dry out completely by 2040

NEW YORK: The Middle East will be at the forefront of “environmental catastrophe” if the international community fails to get back on track with its efforts to curb climate change, Iraq’s prime minister said on Friday.

Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani told the UN General Assembly in New York that his country is already experiencing the detrimental effects of temperature rises, with low waters on the Tigris-Euphrates river system.

“The environmental catastrophe will be more severe for Iraq and the countries of the region, with an unprecedented rise in temperatures, which render normal forms of life extremely difficult, approaching impossible,” he said.

“Our two rivers are exposed to the brunt of the effects of drought resulting from climate change. We have an urgent need to preserve rights to water resources and international river basins.”

A report by Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources in 2021 warned that the Tigris and Euphrates rivers would dry out completely by 2040 due to the persistence of droughts and declining water levels that are being driven by climate change.

Al-Sudani highlighted Iraq’s efforts to engage with neighboring states to create a regional coordination mechanism for the management of transboundary water systems, and to tackle drought, dust storms and heatwaves.

“We call for the establishment of a regional grouping, which includes the countries of the Gulf shores, from Iraq and Iran, and the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council — those countries most exposed to rising temperatures,” he said.

“At the national level, we’ve taken necessary steps to reduce emissions and stop burning associated gases and polluting the environment.

“We’ve also initiated several projects in the field of waste recycling and encouraging the trend towards clean energy.”

 


Turkish police detain 10 accused of Daesh links, minister says

Turkish police stand guard in Ankara, Turkiye. (AP)
Updated 22 September 2023
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Turkish police detain 10 accused of Daesh links, minister says

  • Under judicial control rulings, the suspects may leave police detention but they have certain conditions and oversights imposed on them

ANKARA: Turkish police detained 10 people believed to be linked to Daesh and have arrested five of them, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on Friday.
Yerlikaya said Turkiye’s MIT intelligence agency, police, and counter-terrorism squads carried out an operation in the western coastal city of Izmir after intelligence showed the suspects had hidden supplies in the city.
The authorities discovered explosive gels, materials used to make explosives, as well as weapons and ammunition hidden in the mountainous region of Izmir’s Bornova district, Yerlikaya added.
“As a result of the operation, 10 suspects were detained. Of these, five were arrested and judicial control rulings were made for five others,” the minister said on social media platform X.
Under judicial control rulings, the suspects may leave police detention but they have certain conditions and oversights imposed on them.
Footage from the operation, shared by Yerlikaya on X, showed several police cars in a mountainous area, with police searching inside of a small cave for the hidden materials. It also showed authorities searching a house and detaining the suspects. Reuters could not independently verify the footage.
Daesh has conducted numerous attacks across Turkiye, including on a nightclub in Istanbul on Jan. 1, 2017, in which 39 people were killed. Turkish police have carried out several operations targeting the militants.

 

 


US embassy in Lebanon ‘not intimidated’ by shots fired toward it — ambassador

Updated 22 September 2023
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US embassy in Lebanon ‘not intimidated’ by shots fired toward it — ambassador

  • “We know that authorities are investigating this incident, whereby a gunman fired shots toward the US embassy the other night,” US ambassador Dorothy Shea said
  • “Please know that we at the US embassy are not intimidated by this incident”

BEIRUT: US ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea on Friday said the embassy was “not intimidated” by a gunman’s shots toward its entrance earlier this week and that Lebanese authorities were investigating the incident.
Late Wednesday, shots were fired near the US embassy north of Beirut. Embassy spokesperson Jake Nelson said no one had been hurt and normal business operations were ongoing.
“We know that authorities are investigating this incident, whereby a gunman fired shots toward the US embassy the other night,” US ambassador Dorothy Shea said on Friday after meeting Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister, Najib Mikati.
“Please know that we at the US embassy are not intimidated by this incident, and our security protocols are very strong and our partnerships are ironclad,” she said.
Mikati also condemned what he described as an “attack on the American embassy.” There was no claim of responsibility for the gunfire and authorities have not provided details on the investigation.
The highly secured US embassy lies north of Beirut in the town of Awkar. Security incidents around it are rare. The embassy moved there from Beirut following a suicide attack in 1983 which killed more than 60 people.


Mideast ‘on cusp of historic peace’: Israeli PM

Updated 22 September 2023
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Mideast ‘on cusp of historic peace’: Israeli PM

  • Israel, Saudi Arabia close to ‘dramatic breakthrough’ that would ‘transform’ region
  • Netanyahu: ‘Such a peace will go a long way to ending the Arab-Israeli conflict’

NEW YORK: The Middle East is “on the cusp of a historic peace,” Israel’s prime minister said on Friday, referring to US-brokered efforts to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia.
Addressing the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, Benjamin Netanyahu said he believes Israel and Saudi Arabia are close to a “dramatic breakthrough” that would not only secure peace between the two states but “transform” the entire region and create “a new Middle East.”
He added: “Such a peace will go a long way to ending the Arab-Israeli conflict, and will encourage other Arab states to normalize their relations with Israel while also enhancing the prospects of peace with the Palestinians.”
Should an agreement be finalized, it would build on the Abraham Accords, signed in 2020 between Israel on one hand and the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan on the other.
Speaking two days after meeting US President Joe Biden in New York, Netanyahu said he felt that the Biden administration could secure a deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia in the same way that the Trump administration had facilitated the Abraham Accords.
“The Abraham Accords were a pivot of history and today we see the blessings, with trade and investment with our new peace partners booming as our nations cooperate in commerce, energy, water and agriculture, climate and many other fields,” Netanyahu added.
“In the G20 conference, President Biden, (Indian) Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, and European and Arab leaders announced plans for a visionary corridor that will stretch across the Arabian Peninsula and into Israel.
“It will connect India to Europe with maritime, railroads, energy pipelines, fiber optic cables. This corridor will bypass maritime checkpoints, or choke points rather, and dramatically lower the cost of goods, communication and energy for over 2 billion people.”
However, he warned that the progress made in recent years could be undone by a “fly in the ointment,” saying Iran continues to spend significant amounts on its military and has made efforts to extend its influence worldwide.
“Iran’s aggression is largely met by indifference in the international community, and despite Western powers pledging that they’d snap back sanctions if Iran violated the nuclear deal, that hasn’t been the case,” he added.
“Iran is violating the deal, but the sanctions intended to stop its nuclear ambitions haven’t been re-imposed.
“This policy must change, the sanctions must be snapped back, and above all, Iran must face a credible nuclear threat.”


Libya’s flood-hit Derna to host reconstruction conference: authorities

Updated 22 September 2023
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Libya’s flood-hit Derna to host reconstruction conference: authorities

  • The government invites the international community to participate in the conference planned for October 10 in Derna
  • The conference is being held in “response to the demands of residents of the stricken city of Derna and other towns that suffered damage”

BENGHAZI, Libya: Libya’s eastern-based administration said on Friday that it would host an international conference next month in the flood-hit port city of Derna to aid reconstruction efforts.
A tsunami-sized flash flood broke through two aging dams upstream from Derna after a hurricane-strength storm lashed the area on September 10, razing entire neighborhoods and sweeping thousands of people into the sea.
“The government invites the international community to participate in the conference planned for October 10 in Derna to present modern, rapid projects for the reconstruction of the city,” the administration said in a statement.
It said the conference was being held in “response to the demands of residents of the stricken city of Derna and other towns that suffered damage” during the flooding.
Wracked by divisions since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed veteran dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Libya has for years been ruled by two administrations vying for power.
A UN-backed, internationally recognized administration in the capital Tripoli is run by Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, while a rival administration in the east is backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
The official death toll from the flood stands at more than 3,300 — but the eventual count is expected to be far higher, with international aid groups giving estimates of up to 10,000 people missing.
The International Organization for Migration on Thursday said more than 43,000 people have been displaced by the flood.