Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Abha airport resumed flights

This morning the airport in Abha in southern Saudi Arabia was hit by a rocket, injuring at least 26 civilians. The attack has been claimed by the Houthi movement.

“The European Union expresses its wishes for a speedy recovery to those injured” says the European External Action Service spokesperson statement.

At a time when tensions in the region are on the rise, it is essential to show maximum restraint and refrain from further acts of escalation. Such provocative attacks pose a threat to regional security and undermine the UN-led political process in Yemen”.

“The EU reiterates its full support to the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths and his work to ensure the implementation of the Hodeidah Agreement and promote political consultations. Only an inclusive political agreement can put an end to this conflict.”

 

UN human rights chief demands investigation in Khashoggi murder

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet says international investigation needed to determine who was responsible for “awful killing” of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Twenty-two US senators have also called for an investigation under the Global Magnistky Act which could determine whether the Saudis are responsible for extrajudicial killing, torture or other gross violations of human rights.

In the weeks since Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated, the steady stream of disturbing and macabre allegations has presented a file of evidence so damning that even the Saudi government had to reverse its initial denials and acknowledge that he was killed.

The circumstances surrounding his death have resonated globally because such a heinous act not only demands answers — it also demands truth and justice.

 

AMENDED: European Parliament Vice-president Fabio CASTALDO fully supported the proposal of the UN Human rights chief, demanding justice for the assassinated journalist. Mr.CASTALDO also raised issue of the violations of human rights by Saudi Arabia, he insisted to be examined on many occasions before the tragic events taking place in Istanbul in the Consulate of Saudi Arabia , where the journalist perished.

Ankara requests suspects of Khashoggi assassination extradition

Turkey has instructed Saudi Arabia to extradite all suspects in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, including two key allies of crown prince – de facto ruler of the country Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

Istanbul’s chief prosecutor has filed warrants for the arrest of a top aide of de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman and the deputy head of foreign intelligence on suspicion of planning Khashoggi’s murder.

The prosecutor’s office has announced there is “strong suspicionSaud al-Qahtani and General Ahmed al-Asiri, who were removed from their positions in October, were among the planners of the 2 October killing of the jounalist at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, two Turkish officials told Reuters.

Trump reluctant to blame Crown Prince Khashoggi assassination

President Donald Trump called a CIA assessment accusing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggivery premature” and said he will receive a complete report on the case in coming days.

On his trip to California, Trump said the killing “should never have happened.” The report on Tuesday, November 20, will explain who the U.S. government holds responsible for killed Khashoggi and what the overall impact of his assassination is, Trump added. It was unclear who is producing this final report.

Trump also said the CIA finding that Crown Price was responsible for the killing was “possible.” Trump made the remarks hours after the State Department said the government was still working on determining responsibility for the death of Khashoggi, a US based Washington Post columnist.

Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. “There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi.

Saudi women protest against abaya

Saudi campaigners have urged Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to abandon rules for the Kingdom’s rigid dress code for women, launching a social media action posting photos, wearing their abayas inside out in protest.

Women in Saudi Arabia have for decades been required to wear the abaya — a loose, all-covering black garment — in public, a dress code strictly enforced by police.

Prince Mohammed said in March that women needed only to dress “modestly” and were not required to wear abayas. But Saudi women  see  that in practice nothing has changed, and they are demanding the promised freedom.

I’ve started wearing my compulsory hijab called abaya (this black robe) turned inside out to express my objection on Sharia law violating Saudi women’s freedom to clothe,” tweeted one, referring to the Islamic law that effectively governs the kingdom.

‘”I’ve started wearing my compulsory hijab called abaya (this black robe) turned inside out to express my objection on Sharia law violating Saudi women’s freedom to clothe,” tweeted one, referring to the Islamic law that governs the Kingdom.

End impunity for crimes against journalists!

“Democracy cannot live without free, diverse and independent media. Journalists and media actors across the globe hold states, government officials, corporations and society at large accountable for their actions. But far too many among them face threats and attacks simply for carrying out their work, while the perpetrators of these attacks often act with total impunity” says the Declaration by the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini on behalf of the bloc on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists – 2 November 2018.

“On this day, which has been proclaimed as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, by virtue of the UN General Assembly Resolution 68/163, we pay tribute to all those journalists around the world who lost their lives and suffered attacks in the exercise of their profession. We also pay tribute to all those brave journalists who are taking up the work of their colleagues who can no longer pursue their investigations.

“The assassinations of investigative journalists Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jan Kuciak in the EU, demonstrate that no region of the world is immune to this. These despicable crimes need to be thoroughly investigated and prosecute, as it is the case for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. We have asked and expect that Saudi Arabia cooperates on a thorough, credible and transparent investigation and we insist on the need for clarity on the circumstances of his death and full accountability of all those responsible for it.

“There is in many countries a worrying tendency to erode and shrink the space for free journalism, often by putting indiscriminately in question the credibility of media to discredit and weaken their work. Journalists need an environment where they are able to work in safety and security, both online and offline, without fear of harassment, political pressure, censorship or persecution. A robust legal system must protect media houses and journalists all around the world so that they can fulfil their work in full independence. In a time where disinformation is on the rise, the safety of journalists must be guaranteed to allow them to promote accurate reporting for the benefit and in the interests of all our citizens.

“The EU will continue to use all appropriate external policy and financial instruments to enhance the quality of journalism, access to public information and freedom of expression. It will continue funding the European Centre for Press and Media freedom (ECPMF) and providing targeted protection through Human Rights Defenders Support programmes.

“All states within and outside the European Union have a duty to fulfill their obligations to protect freedom of expression and the safety of journalists by providing an enabling legal environment, by taking threats against journalists seriously and by vigorously prosecuting actual attacks. We expect all to reinforce preventive measures, mobilising all actors and creating national safety mechanisms, in line with the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

“Free journalism is the backbone of free societies: undermining it means undermining our own freedom” – the Declaration concludes.

EU demands credible investigation of Khashoggi death

“After almost three weeks, facts are finally emerging, confirming that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the premises of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on 2 October 2018″ – says the Declaration by the High Representative Federica Mogherini on behalf of the European Union on the recent developments on the case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The European Union expresses its deepest condolences to his family and friends and pays tribute to the memory of this respected journalist who was in direct contact for his work with many European institutions and organisations. We reaffirm our commitment to the freedom of the press and the protection of journalists across the world.

“The emerging circumstances of Jamal Khashoggi’s death are deeply troubling, including the shocking violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and particularly its Article 55. 

“Therefore the European Union, like its partners, insists on the need for continued thorough, credible and transparent investigation, shedding proper clarity on the circumstances of the killing and ensuring full accountability of all those responsible for it. The memory of Jamal Khashoggi, the family of the journalist as well as his friends deserve justice.”

Saudi Arabia admits Jamal Khashoggi was killed

Saudi Arabia has confirmed Jamal Khashoggi (pictured) was killed inside the consulate in Istanbul after a “fight broke out”.

According to Saudi state television, the fight broke out between Mr Khashoggi and people who met him in the consulate, leading to his death.

The country’s public prosecutor has said that 18 Saudis have been arrested so far in connection with the journalist’s death.

One of Saudi Arabia’s top intelligence officials, Ahmed El Asiri, has been sacked, as has royal court adviser Al-Qahtani.

Mr Khashoggi went missing on 2 October, during a visit to the consulate to get marriage papers. There is a CCTV footage of him entering the Consulate.

AMENDED: Defining Saudi Arabia as a crucial ally against Iran, and a buyer of  US arms,  Donald Trump lamented Khashoggi’s unacceptable” death, but welcomed Riyadh determination to investigate the assassination, making the first arrests in the ongoing probe, he also indicated his reluctance for “retribution“.

 

“I would prefer if there is going to be some form of sanction, or what we may determine to do if anything,” the president said. “But I would prefer that we don’t use as retribution, canceling the $110 billion-worth of work, which means 600,000 jobs.”

“They have been a great ally in the Middle East. We need them as a counter-balance to Iran. So it’s not the simplest solution. It’s not the simplest situation to be in,” Trump reiterated, expressing hope that “it will get solved, it will get solved.”

Democratic U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal told CNN the Saudi explanation “absolutely defies credibility” and he called for an international investigation of Khashoggi’s death.

The Saudis very clearly seem to be buying time and buying cover. But this action raises more questions than it answers and there is no way the world will wait for 30 days for a Saudi investigation to be done,” Blumenthal said.

MEPs encourage EU to engage in Yemen conflict resolution

At Strasbourg  Plenary MEPs debate the latest developments in Yemen, which is facing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

 

More than three years of conflict between the forces loyal to the internationally recognized government and Houthi rebels have devastated the country, leaving 22 million Yemeni people (80% of the total population) in dire need of humanitarian assistance or protection. The country is also suffering from the largest cholera outbreak ever recorded in modern history, with over one million suspected cases reported in 2017 and over 2 200 related deaths.

The war in Yemen is also seen as part of a regional power struggle between Shia-ruled Iran, backing Houthi rebels, and Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia, leading the Western-backed alliance of Arab states trying to restore the internationally-recognised government.

Throughout the civil war in Yemen, the European Parliament has called on all actors to de-escalate the conflict and to engage in UN-led peace talks and strive for political solutions. MEPs also called on EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to launch an initiative to impose an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia given the serious allegations that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition is breaching international humanitarian law in Yemen.

“There is a need for urgent humanitarian aid”, – said MEP Sajjad KARIM  (UK, ECR) to Europe Diplomatic Magazine, however it is much more, than just assistance to starving populations required. “…Concert of international efforts is needed to put an end to this conflict and engage in peace process”, MEP concluded, sharing his vision of putting an end to the ongoing human tragedy.

 

Qatar announces “ambition” to join NATO

Qatar’s defense minister Khalid bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah said that his country’s long-term strategic “ambition” is to join the NATO.

Reaching the anniversary of a year-long bitter Gulf diplomatic dispute, which has seen Qatar separated from its former regional allies, the minister said Qatar announced country’s interest to become a full member of the 29-country alliance.

The minister added that the alliance could assist Qatar in fighting against terrorism and could be a guarantor of stability in the region.

In March, Qatari armed forces signed an agreement with NATO on military and security cooperation.

The same time  Qatar’s Foreign Minister has rejected Saudi Arabia’s reported threats of military action over Doha’s interest in buying Russian S-400 missile systems. He said the country can decide for itself what weapons to buy. “The purchase of any military equipment is a sovereign decision that no country has anything to do with,” Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told Qatari TV channel Al Jazeera. He stressed that any external pressure on the nation would violate international law.

“Qatar’s economy has suffered on several fronts as new logistics links proved to be more expensive in the short term,” Andreas Krieg, a professor at King’s College London said. “However, Qatar has been able to transform this crisis into an opportunity.”

 

 

 

 

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