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US efforts fail to convince Saudi rulers for direct talks with Qatar



Tillerson Thani

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Tillerson participates in Saudi Arabia-Iraq Coordination meeting in Riyadh

The US mediation efforts have failed to convince Saudi rulers to begin direct talks for resolving Qatar crisis. This was clearly indicated by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday while addressing a joint press conference with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Doha.

After spending a day in Riyadh, Tillerson said, “We cannot force talks upon people who are not ready to talk.” He further said, “In my meetings with [Saudi] Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, I asked him to please engage in dialogue, [but] there is not a strong indication that parties are ready to talk yet.”

Tillerson also met Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and discussed the bilateral and regional issues.

This was Tillerson’s second visit to the region as part of US diplomacy for resolving the Qatar crisis. He said that he is not hopeful that Saudi Arabia is willing to enter discussion to resolve the crisis.

Tillerson who also met Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani expressed concern about the effect of the crisis on the regional security.

“It’s very important for the GCC to continue to pursue unity. It is most effective when it is unified and none of us can afford to let this dispute linger. We ask that everyone minimises the rhetoric and de-escalate the tensions and take steps to do so,” Tillerson said.

Earlier on Thursday Tillerson told Bloomberg, “There seems to be a real unwillingness on the part of some of the parties to want to engage… It’s up to the leadership of the quartet when they want to engage with Qatar because Qatar has been very clear – they’re ready to engage.”

However, Qatar’s foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani reaffirmed commitment to dialogue and emphasised the need for the crisis to be resolved. He said that Saudi led group was not ready “to tackle with dialogue the reasons for this crisis.”

He expressed frustration over the behaviour of the four blockading countries. He said, “These countries have resorted to undiplomatic tactics that have nothing to do with modern diplomatic lessons, and this is no good.” 

He was equally concerned about the unity among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). “The GCC is quite important for the collective security and we feel sorry that the GCC will be the victim of the crisis against the state of Qatar,” he said.

He was also of the view that the lingering crisis has affected the collective security of the GCC member states.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain had suddenly cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5 and imposed land, air and sea blockade. Saudi Arabia appealed “all brotherly countries” to sever ties with Doha. Kuwait and Oman did not follow Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia has accused Doha of financing “terrorism” and maintaining close ties with its regional rival Iran. However, Qatar denies the allegations.

After the crisis began, Iran has started supplying daily needs to the tiny oil rich country. Tehran also allowed Qatar Airways to use its air space for reaching Central Asia and European countries.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Jeffrey Harrigian of US Air Force Central Command, has on Sunday said, “There are no diplomatic issues that are impacting our ability to operate every day from here in our counter-ISIS missions”. Their Command Control headquarters is located just outside Doha at Al-Udeid airbase.   

While in Riyadh, Tillerson also participated in the inaugural meeting of the Saudi Arabia-Iraq Coordination Committee, along with Saudi King Salman and Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi. Iraq and Saudi Arabia have long been regional rivals.

This is again considered to be aimed to minimise widening Iranian influence in the region. In post 2003 era, Iran and Iraq have emerged to be the best friends.

Iranian military advisors have played important role in Baghdad’s fight against Daesh (IS). Baghdad has, time and again, expressed suspicion on US intentions while fighting IS as US jets were caught on camera throwing arms for the IS terrorist in Iraq.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Latest world news

Pakistan man sentenced to death for sharing blasphemous content on WhatsApp

The accused, identified as Syed Muhammad Zeeshan, was also fined Rs 1.2 million or $4300 and awarded imprisonment of total of 23 years.



Pakistan man sentenced to death for sharing blasphemous content on WhatsApp

Pakistan court on Friday gave a death sentence to a Muslim man for posting blasphemous content in a WhatsApp group. The accused was convicted under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act and Anti-Terrorist Act by a Peshawar court.

The accused, identified as Syed Muhammad Zeeshan, was also fined Rs 1.2 million or $4300 and awarded imprisonment of total of 23 years.

The court in an order said that an accused Syed Muhammad Zeeshan, son of Syed Zakaullah in custody has been convicted and sentenced after being found guilty. Zeeshan, a resident of the northwest city of Mardan, has the right to appeal against the court’s conviction order on the highly-sensitive issue of blasphemy in Pakistan.

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive topic in Pakistan, a country with a majority of Muslims, where even unverified accusations can incite mobs and violence.

Zeeshan was undergoing court proceedings in the same case for almost two years after Muhammad Saeed, a resident of Talagang in Punjab province, accused him of posting blasphemous content in a WhatsApp group. Saeed filed an application with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in 2021 againsy Zeeshan for blasphemous content.

As per the reports, the FIA had confiscated Zeeshan’s cell-phone and its forensic examination proved him guilty.

In the past 20 years, 774 Muslims and 760 members of various minority religious groups have reportedly faced blasphemy charges, according to the National Commission of Justice and Peace, a human rights and legal help organisation in Pakistan.

Last month, Pakistan banned Wikipedia after it refused to remove the allegedly offensive or blasphemy material from the website.

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Latest world news

Five news stations receive letter bombs in Ecuador, one explodes in journalist’s face

Minister says the bombs were sent as a clear message to silence journalists in violence-ridden Ecuador



Police officials searching for bombs in a new station in Ecuador

Ecuadorean authorities have reported that a series of letter bombs were mailed to five different TV and radio new stations in Ecaudor. The explosive devices were delivered to journalists on Monday, March 20.

Interior Minister Juan Zapata informed that one of these letters exploded in Guayaquil’s Ecuavisa private TV station. The bomb burst in the middle of the newsroom in presenter Lenin Artieda’s face. He was injured but not severely. Lenin informed the police that the device was structured like a USB drive, and it exploded as he plugged it into his computer.

Zapata added that all the devices were similar and sent from the town of Quimsaloma, on the Los Rios coast. The Ecuadorean attorney-general’s department has begun their investigation on the letters as an act of terrorism. Journalists have said that the bombs were sent to intimidate the free press and silence the media.

 Zapata also said that the government condemns such attacks and freedom of expression is a right that must be respected. The other four explosives sent through post never exploded as they failed or were never opened.

Police officer Xavier Chango informed the USB drive sent to Artieda seemed to be loaded with a military-type explosive RDX.

Ecuador lies between Colombia and Peru, the world’s two largest cocaine producers, and has become a hub for global drug trade in the recent years. The increased violence is a result of competition and clashes between drug criminal gangs for territory and charge.

In 2022, the RTS TV station came under gunfire attack and in 2020, a bomb exploded at Teleamazonas. President Guillermo Lasso had declared war on the gangs controlling drug trade from prisons, and has led to the death of more than 400 inmates since 2021. Ecuador’s murder rate has jumped from 14 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021 to 25 per 100,000 in 2022.

Two local gangs, the Lobos and Los Tiguerones, working with Mexico’s Jalisco New Generation cartel, have been responsible for these deadly prison riots. The Jalisco cartel is considered one of the five most dangerous criminal organizations in the world and its leader, Nemesio Oseguera, aka El Mencho, is among the most wanted by both Mexican and U.S. authorities.

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India News

Earthquake leaves 11 dead in Pakistan, tremors shake North India

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled parts of Northern India on Tuesday night, left at least 11 people dead and over 160 others wounded in neighboring Pakistan, reports said.



Pakistan Earthquake

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled parts of Northern India on Tuesday night, left at least 11 people dead and over 160 others wounded in neighboring Pakistan, reports said.

According to reports by Pakistani media, tremors were felt in Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Peshawar, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, and other areas of the country. In a statement, Pakistan Meteorological Department said the epicenter of the quake—which hit at a depth of 180 kilometers, at a latitude of 36.09 and a longitude of 71.35. — was the seismically active Hindu Kush region in Afghanistan.

Reports said that tremors and aftershocks were also witnessed in Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Kot Momin, Madh Ranjha, Chakwal, Kohat and in Gilgit-Baltistan areas.

Pakistani news channels showed panicked citizens running out of their home and on the streets to seek refuge from the tremors.

According to a report by Pakistan-based Geo News, eleven people, including two women were killed while over 160 people were injured due to the earthquake.

Read Also: Delhi Police crackdown on anti-Modi posters, police arrest 4 including owner of printing press, 44 cases registered

The strong jolts also led to the collapse of several buildings in impacted regions while a stamped was witnessed in markets of Rawalpindi when the earthquake hit, according to The Express Tribune newspaper.

State-run Associated Press of Pakistan released a statement by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has directed disaster management authorities to remain vigilant to handle any situation while Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel declared an emergency in Islamabad hospitals.

A statement by the international seismological centre said that apart from Pakistan, tremors were also felt in India, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China and Kyrgyzstan.

Tremors of the earthquake, that hit at around 10:17 pm on Tuesday night, were felt across Northern India including Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. However, no casualties were reported. However, reports of damages to buildings are coming in from different parts of North India.

6.6 magnitude earthquake hits Delhi-NCR

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