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GCC Summit cuts short, delegates leave without any major breakthrough

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GCC Summit cuts short, delegates leave without any major breakthrough

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Saudi Arabia-UAE forms separate military-trade partnership

In a fast moving development in Middle East, the much awaited GCC summit was cut short by a day due to ongoing diplomatic rift on Tuesday while rulers of three boycotting countries Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE skipped the event. Moreover Saudi Arabia and UAE have formed a new military and trade partnership separate from GCC.

Aljazeera reports that all the delegates will be leaving Kuwait after a closed door session on Tuesday. Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was the only head of state touching down at Kuwait airport on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, Oman’s Deputy PM for cabinet affairs Fahad bin Mahmoud Al-Saeed and Bahrain’s Deputy Pm Sheikh Mohammad bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa reached Kuwait for participating in the summit on Tuesday. This marked the lowest attendance at any GCC summit since its inception in 1981.

The preparatory ministerial level meeting could not set the agenda and priorities on Monday for the summit meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

The announcement of UAE and Saudi Arabia forming a new military and trade partnership separate from GCC came early on Tuesday ahead of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit. The statement issued by UAE foreign ministry said that country’s ruler and president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has approved the proposal.

The UAE foreign ministry statement says that the new committee “is assigned to cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as others, in the interest of the two countries”.

GCC Summit cuts short, delegates leave without any major breakthrough

However, Saudi authorities have not yet announced about the new joint move with UAE.

The Kuwait’s official news agency KUNA carried a curtain raiser on Tuesday morning saying that “GCC will kick off its summit amid aspirations to maintain further stability, security and integration amongst its member nations.”

It further elaborated that “participants are set to discuss several matters at the two day session, including regional and international developments, particularly political and security challenges.”

The GCC, which was established in the early years of Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-88), has been passing through unprecedented crisis after June 5, when Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed their ties with Qatar.

Jaman Elshayyal, Aljazeera correspondent reports from Kuwait that the new partnership “would be seen a very antagonising towards the GCC as an organisation, an organisation that has been under threat very much because of the actions of Saudi Arabia and the UAE in terms of imposing a blockade which has gone on for six months now”.

Volatile relationship among Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman were felt once again on Monday evening while Yemen’s Ansarullah leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi warned foreign investors to leave Saudi Arabia and UAE and advised them to invest in Kuwait, Oman and Yemen’s capital Sana’a for conducting secure business.

Houthis were facing aerial campaign from Saudi-led coalition for over two years and are considered to be pro-Iran and Hezbollah. Houthi leader’s recommendation in favor of Kuwait and Oman carry lot of meaning in the regional diplomacy.

In October, Kuwait’s emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, who was engaged in mediating in the Qatar crisis, warned of the potential collapse of the GCC.

Around the same time, Bahrain’s King al Khalifa had indicated that his country would not take part in any summit or meeting attended by Qatar unless it “corrects its approach”.

Despite that Qatar’s emir had agreed to resolve the crisis through dialogue but blockading Saudi-led quartet did not accept the proposal.

Killing of Saudi ally and former president of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh at the hands of Houthis has also created new complex situation in the region. Saudi sponsored resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri could not get the desired result as well.

Washington Post, while reporting the developments surrounding the summit says, that only organizing summit won’t be enough “to salvage the GCC, a group of American allied Gulf Arab nations formed in part in 1981 as a counterbalance to Shiite power Iran.”

It also indicated that US and its European allies have told GCC members that region remains stronger with them working together as a whole, while “the countries themselves still appear divided” over their future.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda says statements on reclaiming Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka have no ground

Devananda told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about Katchatheevu as elections are taking place in India.

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda has said the statements from some political leaders in India on reclaiming Katchatheevu from the island nation have no ground. He told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about the strategic island as elections are taking place in India.

The Sri Lankan Minister said he thought India is acting on its interests to secure this place to ensure Sri Lankan fishermen would not have any access to that area and that Sri Lanka should not claim any rights in that resourceful area. According to the 1974 agreement, Devananda said Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen can go fishing in the territorial waters of both countries until the pact was reviewed and amended in 1976.

The amended agreement resulted in fishermen from both countries being barred from fishing in neighboring waters. India’s ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday steered clear of the row surrounding Katchatheevu island. To a volley of questions on the Katchatheevu issue, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal reffered to External affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent comments on the matter.

He said he would like to talk about the issue that has been raised. He added the External Affairs minister has spoken to the press here in Delhi and also in Gujarat and has clarified all the issues. He said everyone should look into the press engagements and they would find the answers to their questions there.

The remarks from Devananda, a Sri Lankan Tamil, came days after the Narendra Modi government accused the Congress and its ally DMK in Tamil Nadu of overlooking national interests by handing over Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The BJP has also been slamming the 2 parties for not ensuring the rights of the fishermen wanting to fish in waters around the island.

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US reiterates its call for fair, transparent, legal process for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, speaks on Congress frozen accounts

The US spokesperson said that they are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections.

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A day after India summoned an US diplomat over their remarks on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the liquor policy case, the US reiterated its call for fair, transparent, timely legal processes on Wednesday.

Responding to questions on India summoning Gloria Berbena, the US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that they will continue to follow these actions closely, including the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Notably, the meeting at the foreign ministry’s South Block office lasted nearly 40 minutes yesterday with India objecting strongly to the US remarks on the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal.

Matthew Miller also responded to a question on the Congress party’s frozen bank accounts. The US spokesperson said that they are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections. He added that the US encourages fair, transparent and timely legal processes for each of the issues.

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested last week by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection to the Delhi liquor policy scam. Earlier, AAP leaders Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain and Sanjay Singh were arrested in the same case.

The External Affairs Ministry had earlier stated that states are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others, and this responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies, adding that it could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents.

The Ministry further emphasized that India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes. It mentioned that casting aspersions on India’s legal procedure is unwarranted.

The United State’s remarks followed days after Germany’s Foreign Office stressed that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is entitled to a fair and impartial trial. The Indian government labelled their remark as blatant interference in internal matters.

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5 Chinese nationals killed in suicide bomb attack in Pakistan

This is the third major attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan within a week.

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Nearly five Chinese nationals were killed in an explosion during an attack on their convoy by a suicide bomber in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday. Reportedly, the suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers travelling from Islamabad to their camp in Dasu, situated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Regional police chief Mohammad Ali Gandapur said that five Chinese nationals and their Pakistani driver were killed in the attack. As yet, none has claimed responsibility for the attack. Bisham Station House Officer (SHO) Bakht Zahir asserted that the incident was a suicide blast and the authorities concerned were collecting the evidence.

The Station House Officer further added that security arrangements were tightened at the spot and the bodies were being shifted to a hospital. He added that they will investigate from where and how the vehicle of a suicide bomber came and how it happened. Notably, this is the third major attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan within a week.

Previously, two attacks hit an airbase and a strategic port in the southwest province of Balochistan where China is investing billions in infrastructure projects. Several Chinese engineers and Pakistani construction workers have for multiple years been working on hydroelectric projects as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative in the western province of Khyber-Paktunkhwa.

Notably, Dasu is home to a significant dam project, has been a target of previous attacks. Earlier in 2021, the attack in Dasu resulted in the deaths of nine Chinese nationals, along with two Pakistani children. The incident occured when a bus carrying Chinese engineers and workers to the Dasu Hydropower Project site was targeted.

There was confusion surrounding the nature of the attack initially, with some reports suggesting it was a bus accident. Nonetheless, subsequent investigations revealed that it was indeed a terrorist attack. The bus was hit by a blast, leading it to plunge into a ravine.

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