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Qatar Crisis; European Leaders urge for de-escalation

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Qatar response handed over Kuwait’s Emir

Leaders of major European countries have urged both sides of the diplomatic standoff, Qatar and rival Saudi Arabia led bloc of countries, to resolve the present crisis peacefully. Meanwhile Qatar’s Foreign Minister has delivered Doha’s response to the 13-point demands to Kuwait’s Emir who is mediating with US support.

France, UK and Germany came forward to engage in the de-escalation process. According to Al-Jazeera, which would be closed if Saudi led bloc’s conditions were met, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin- Hamad Al-Thani about the latest developments in the crisis.

Qatar News Agency (QNA) reports that Macron and emir “stressed the need to resolve this crisis through dialogue and diplomatic means”.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has reportedly spoken to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. According to a statement issued by May’s office in London, PM has urged all sides to “take urgent steps to de-escalate the situation and restore Gulf Cooperation unity”. The statement reiterated that “UK remains committed to supporting” the process towards finding a solution.

Meanwhile German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel visited Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Monday. While addressing a joint press conference with the visiting dignitary in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir said, “We hope for a positive response to be able to resolve the crisis.” Both the leaders stressed the need to resolve the crisis through dialogue and diplomatic means.

On Monday, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani arrived in Kuwait and handed over a letter from Qatar’s Emir to his Kuwaiti counterpart Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. This is considered to be the official Qatari response to the 13 point demands put forwarded by Saudi led block of countries. The contents of the letter were still not made public.

According to reports Qatari foreign Minister and his Kuwaiti counterpart held extensive discussion for more than 90 minutes. After that Qatari Foreign Minister headed to the residence of Kuwait’s Emir.

The Qatar’s response will be the focus of the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain in Cairo on Wednesday. Kuwait’s Foreign Minister will also be present during the meeting.

The Saudi led group of countries severed diplomatic ties, cut land and air links with Qatar and imposed sanctions on it on June 5. They accused Doha of supporting “terrorism” which was rejected by Qatar.

After two weeks, they put forwarded 13 point demands for Qatar which included severing ties with their arch rival Iran, closing Turkish military base in its territory, stop naturalizing their internal opponents in that country. Qatar was also asked to align its political, economic and cultural policies with other GCC countries.[/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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