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Islamic World News (02 Jun 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Makkah Charter Calls For Religious Tolerance, Pluralism








Makkah Charter Calls For Religious Tolerance, Pluralism

Iraq's State of Law Coalition Leader: Saudi Rulers Should End Support for Terrorism

West Causes Muslim World Pain When They Ridicule Prophet, Link ‘Terrorism’ With Islam: Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Turkey Unleashes Crackdown on Creative Writers Dealing With Social Issues

Taliban Do Not Seek Monopoly over Power: Taliban Supreme Leader

Follow Prophet's Teachings On Interfaith Issues, PKR Secretary-General Urged

 

Arab World

Makkah Charter Calls For Religious Tolerance, Pluralism

Iraq's State of Law Coalition Leader: Saudi Rulers Should End Support for Terrorism

Thousands of Muslims worship in Mecca for the final days of Ramadan

Ex-MP: US Sets Up 17 Military Bases in Iraq

Syrian MP: No Need to Arabs' Money for Reconstruction

Russia's Large Airlifters Arrive in Syria, Likely Carrying Heavy Weapons

Aleppo: Over 1,000 Civilians Abducted by Ankara-Backed Militants in Afrin

Quneitra: US, West Footprints Found in Terrorists' Strongholds

Syria says Israeli attacks kill 3 soldiers, wound 7

Explosions rock Syria’s northern city of Raqqa, killing 10

At Islamic Summit, King Salman slams terror, extremism

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Pakistan

West Causes Muslim World Pain When They Ridicule Prophet, Link ‘Terrorism’ With Islam: Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Karachi's St Jude's Cathedral Hosts Iftar Dinner For Muslim Brothers

Pak Court Sentences Three JeM Activists For Terror Funding

Firdous rejects criticism over oil price hike

Soldier martyred in North Waziristan ambush

Pak Army soldier embraced martyrdom in North Waziristan terrorist attack

Mohsin Dawar, Ali Wazir are MNAs, not terrorists, says Bilawal Bhutto

Imran, MBS agree to enhance bilateral ties

After Human Rights Violations: OIC Appoints Special Envoy On Kashmir

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Mideast

Turkey Unleashes Crackdown on Creative Writers Dealing With Social Issues

Israel to Auction Classrooms Donated By EU To Palestinian Children

Rockets fired from Syria at Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, says Israel

Pro and anti-Israel protests draw hundreds in Berlin

Iran briefly detains two European diplomats at coed party

Turkey, Russia face conflicts over Syria’s push into Idlib

EU slams Israel over sale of West Bank aid

Turkey and Russia face escalation of violence over Syria’s push into Idlib

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South Asia

Taliban Do Not Seek Monopoly over Power: Taliban Supreme Leader

Afghan, Pakistani leaders in talks to end ‘growing mistrust’

Afghan officials: 3 bomb blasts in capital, 1 killed

Taliban leader indicates no ceasefire anytime soon

Sri Lanka police chief blames president for failing to prevent Easter Sunday terror attacks

Lack of future prompts Rohingya to flee Bangladesh

Taliban militants killed; vehicle destroyed in Khost airstrikes

Afghan forces kill one of the dangerous group members of ISIS in Nangarhar

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Southeast Asia

Follow Prophet's Teachings On Interfaith Issues, PKR Secretary-General Urged

Court allows notice to be published for interested parties to claim Najib’s assets

Salahuddin: Pakatan govt will defend constitution

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India

Not Halting Ops in Valley During Ramzan Helps Rein In Militancy

'Disgraced' Owaisi behind terrorism, anti-India slogans: Ayodhya priest

Pakistani Officials Aggressively Turned Away Guests from Iftar Party: Indian Envoy

Jammu IGP admits presence of militants in Kishtwar district

J-K: Two policemen injured in encounter in Kishtwar district

One Pakistani national among two terrorists killed in Pulwama encounter: Police

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi slams Owaisi for ‘Muslims can visit mosques’ remark

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North America

Deadliest Recent Mass Shootings In The US State Of Virginia, 12 Killed

Iran Will Be Top Priority For Donald Trump As He Embarks On UK State Visit

US heads to new talks with Taliban

Afghan Taliban leader says no ceasefire as US envoy heads to region

Top Iranian military aide: US vessels in the Gulf within range of our missiles

Japan PM to meet Iran’s Khamenei to mediate with US: report

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Europe

Attack On Muslim Cemetery Shows Rising Islamophobia: Expert

Spain's Patriots may stay in Turkey for 6 more months

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Africa

Libya sees renewed clashes after week-long hiatus

One dead, 10 wounded as shots fired in Sudan capital

Sudan recalls ambassador to Qatar for ‘consultations’

UN chief calls on Sudan to resume talks on power transfer

Eighteen hurt as two car blasts target Libya military unit

Tunisia stops rescued migrants from coming ashore

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/makkah-charter-calls-for-religious-tolerance,-pluralism/d/118774

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Makkah Charter calls for religious tolerance, pluralism

Jun 1, 2019

KOZHIKODE: The conference of the Muslim World League (MWL) held at Makkah in Saudi Arabia two days ago has issued a declaration calling for co-existence, pluralism and religious tolerance in the world.

Hussein Madavoor, state vice president of the Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen (KNM) who attended the meeting, said the ‘Makkah Charter’ issued at the conference is a historical document as it addresses almost all the issues concerning the Muslims world over.

“Modelled on the Medina Charter drafted by Prophet Muhammad, the Makkah Charter underlines the need for religious freedom and exhorts to stop the hate campaign in the name of the religion,” Madavoor said.

“There are 30 articles in the Charter that deal with issues like Islamophobia, protection of places of worship and ending harassment of women,” he said.

Most important among the articles is the one on Islam and pluralism. “Plurality of faith is a reality and we need to accept it.

There is no point in living a utopian world. There are different schools of jurisprudence in Islam and there are other systems of faiths too. How all these can co-exist with any confrontation is a topic discussed at the meeting,” Madavoor said.

Another issue discussed at the meeting is teaching the middle path of moderation of Islam to the young generation who does not have a comprehensive understanding of Islam. “The lack of proper knowledge is the reason for dangerous practices like doing hijra to Syria,” he said.

The meeting also decided to come out with a proper interpretation of the verses in Quran in the backdrop of widespread misreading of the holy text. “In Kerala also, we have seen some discussions along these lines. There are attempts to take the verses from out of the context and spread hatred,” Madavoor said.

The MWL conference also discussed the ways to counter the rising Islamophobia in the world. “The meeting felt that that the wrong notions of the religion stems from gross misunderstanding. MWL decided to spread authentic knowledge of Islam,” he said.

Similar meetings will be held in different the countries with the participation of all the Muslim groups to spread the message of the Makkah Charter to ground level. MWL will take the lead in organising such meetings.

Unlike in the past, representatives from 139 countries including USA, UK, France, Japan and Pakistan apart from Muslim counties in the Middle East attended the conference, which was inaugurated by the King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kozhikode/makkah-charter-calls-for-religious-tolerance-pluralism/articleshow/69609178.cms

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Iraq's State of Law Coalition Leader: Saudi Rulers Should End Support for Terrorism

Jun 01, 2019

Mohammad al-Sahyoud of State of Law coalition, headed by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, blasted Saudi Arabia's for misusing the advantage of hosting the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in its favor as it sought to hold the conference to rally support for its own agenda.

"The terrorism led by Saudi Arabia in Iraq, Syria and the region has not ended yet," he said, and stressed, "The Saudi rulers should stop their policy of supporting terrorism."

Al-Sahyoud lauded Iraq's positon in the conference, saying that Riyadh may resort to taking revenge but Iraq is powerful enough and will provide a response.

In relevant remarks on Friday, senior Iranian diplomat Reza Najafi deplored that Saudi Arabia was using a gathering of the foreign ministers of the OIC as a venue to re-voice its anti-Tehran claims, reminding that Iran was seeking unity among Islamic countries and nations.

“The Islamic Republic considers the accusations thrown by the Saudi foreign minister at the conference to be invalid,” said Najafi, the director general of International Peace and Security Department at Iran’s Foreign Ministry today.

The senior diplomat added that Iran, as one of the founders of the 57-member OIC, wisheed the gathering would be used to “reinforce unity among the Muslim Ummah.”

Opening a gathering of the foreign ministers of OIC member states in the Saudi port city of Jeddah on Wednesday, the kingdom’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf blasted “Iranian interference in other nations' affairs” and urged "firmness and determination” over the recent mysterious attacks on commercial vessels off the coast of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. He made the remarks just hours after US National Security Advisor John Bolton alleged Tehran was almost certainly behind oil tanker attacks.

Najafi, who headed the Iranian delegation to the summit, also urged that the summit turned its focus to the “main issue of the Muslim world, which takes precedence over all others, namely the issue of Palestine.”

Also, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters, on the sidelines of the International Quds Day rallies in Tehran on Friday that it was better for the OIC to support Quds instead of repeating nonsense claims against Iran.

He urged the OIC to stop repeating unfounded claims against Iran which serve Israeli interests, and called on the body to rather focus on supporting the cause of liberating Palestine’s Jerusalem al-Quds.

“The message of the International Quds Day is that Quds is not for sale, neither is it a property of the US to bestow it to Israel,” the Iranian diplomatic chief underlined, and added, “Also the Zionist regime is not entitled to have any claim about Quds.”

“Quds belongs to Muslims and the people of Palestine. Nobody is allowed to give up the first Qibla of the Muslims to Israel and Zionists or do anything else (about it) because it will mar the cause of Palestine,” he stressed.

“It is a petty that a handful of Arab kings, to save themselves and reach their goals, are of the illusion that they will meet their dream if they side with (Israeli Prime minister Benjamin) Netanyahu,” he said regretting the secret alignment of some Arab monarchs with Israel.

“How can Netanyahu and the Zionist regime, who have not been able to keep Israel safe with even the Iron Dome, protect these countries,” the top diplomat said, warning the Arab allies of Tel Aviv.

“The OIC meeting to be held in Mecca today had better do what it has been created for, i.e. supporting Quds, instead of repeating non-sense claims, like those articulated against Iran last night, which please Israel,” Zarif highlighted.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980311000957

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West causes Muslim world pain when they ridicule Prophet, link ‘terrorism’ with Islam: Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Jun 01, 2019

Makkah: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that the western world must respect the sentiments of Muslim nations and that West has brought “tremendous pain by ridiculing the Prophet”.

Speaking at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation forum, Khan said, “The OIC, we, have a responsibity to the Muslim world. When anyone in the western world blasphemes our Prophet, it is a failure of the OIC that we have not been able to explain to West that the love and affection that we feel for our holy Prophet, how he lives in our hearts... It was up to us to explain it to the western countries the pain when they ridicule our Prophet.”

The Pakistan PM also hurt Indian sentiments by saying that the people of Kashmir have been “carrying our their political struggle for freedom but post 9/11, that was also dubbed as Islamic radical terrorism”, Radio Pakistan quoted him as saying.

He implored the OIC to take it upon itself to tell the western world “what it means to us and how we love and respect our Holy Prophet”.

“We live our religion. The western world has completely different attitude towards religions. In forums like the United Nations and European Union, we must explain to them that they cannot hurt the sentiments of 1.3 billion people under the garb of freedom of expression. The Jews have very succesfully explained to the world that any misinterpretation of the Holocaust gives them pain... This forum must take it upon itself to tell the western world what it means to us and how we love and respect our Holy Prophet,” Khan said.

Khan used the forum to push the sentiment that the OIC should work towards delinking ‘terrorism’ with ‘Islam’.

https://www.timesnownews.com/international/article/west-causes-muslim-world-pain-when-they-ridicule-prophet-link-terrorism-with-islam-pakistan-pm-imran-khan/429494

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Turkey unleashes crackdown on creative writers dealing with social issues

2 June 2019

Writers in Turkey are in for a new crackdown by the authorities this summer, it has been reported.

In what is being described as a bid to curtail free speech as well as creativity, prosecutors have launched probes against renowned writers like Elif Shafak, Abdullah Şevki, and Ayşe Kulin, who have been tackling challenging subjects.

In order to grapple with and expose the social ills of the current age these writers out of their firm conviction and commitment to upholding the rights of children and women have taken up subjects like sexual abuse, pedophilia, and underage in their work.

Although they have been critically acclaimed and these works have been in print for some time, the sudden scrutiny by the authorities has been accompanied by attacks on social media, accompanied by accusations that these writers are actually condoning the practice of child abuse and violence.

The move against writers follows a certain pattern. Take the case of Abdullah Şevki. The Turkish ministry of culture and tourism filed a criminal complaint against Sevki after a page from one of his novels was shared on Twitter recently.

Turkey’s bar association also filed a complaint calling on the government to ban the book and charge its author and publisher with “child abuse and inciting criminal acts”.

Both Şevki and his publisher were subsequently detained.

Now the sharing of passages from novels on social media by other writers is continuing, including that of Shafak and Kulin, along with accusations similar to the one Seki is facing.

In two days, Shafak had received thousands of abusive messages and a prosecutor wants to examine her novels, among them one published in 1999 and the other in 2016.

Speaking to The Guardian, she said: “Anything that has any passage on sexual abuse of children in Turkish literature, they want to investigate it.”

She said the courts are failing to take action on the increase in cases “of sexual violence against both women and children.”

Instead, she said the focus is on prosecuting writers. “It’s the biggest tragedy. It has become like a witch-hunt.”

Shafak said: “We need a strong women’s movement and gender awareness,” she said.

“Literature can take an important part in this conversation. But now they are attacking writers.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2019/06/02/Turkey-unleashes-crackdown-on-creative-writers-dealing-with-social-issues.html

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Taliban Do Not Seek Monopoly Over Power: Taliban Supreme Leader

Tahir Khan

JUNE 2, 2019

Taliban supreme leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada says Taliban do not “seek monopoly over power” and favour an inclusive government.

The Taliban leader in his Eid message also announced that their fighting against the foreign forces will continue as “resistance against the occupation is nearing the stage of success”. But at the same time he also said negotiations with the Americans will also continue to end “occupation of Afghanistan”.

The Taliban chief did not hint at declaring ceasefire during Eid. Taliban had declared ceasefire during Eidul Fitr last year.

“No one should expect us to pour cold water on the heated battlefronts of jihad or forget our forty-year sacrifices before reaching our objectives,” Hibatullah said in reference to calls by the US for ceasefire.

“The Islamic Emirate does not seek monopoly over power. We believe that all Afghans shall genuinely see themselves represented in the government,” he said, in an attempt to dispel the impression that Taliban are fighting to take control of the country.

The Taliban chief urged the US to adopt a policy of “reason and understanding, to remain a sincere partner in the negotiations process and accept the logical proposals of the Islamic Emirate for advancement of this process”.

Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen says they have reached consensus on a draft agreement with the US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on the withdrawal of foreign forces. However, both sides have yet to strike a formal deal.

Taliban and the US started negotiations in Qatar in October to end the conflict and have held six rounds so far, but failed to reach any deal. Shaheen says next round is scheduled to be held after Eid.

The Taliban chief also mentioned the intra-Afghan dialogue in Moscow and accused the Kabul administration of “trying to sabotage the dialogue” between the Taliban and Afghan political figures by “seeking prominence”.

“The Islamic Emirate shall pay no heed to such futile efforts and diplomatic obstructions being created for the intra-Afghan dialogue,” he said.

“The military and political steps by the Islamic Emirate are taking place under a unified policy and command such that they reinforce one another in practice.”

Hibatullah said Taliban have managed to gain the consensus of Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours and the wider region to end the conflict in Afghanistan.

He recalled that the first conference in Moscow in November 2018 with 12 participating countries including Afghanistan’s neighbours, diplomatic relations of foreign countries with the political representatives of the Taliban, official meetings with their senior political officials along with conferences and contacts in the intra-Afghan dialogue framework are a clear proof of the Taliban approach to solve the problem.

He accused the Kabul administration of “trying to sabotage dialogue between the Islamic Emirate and Afghan political figures by seeking prominence,” adding Taliban shall pay no heed to such “futile efforts and diplomatic obstructions being created for the intra-Afghan dialogue.”

Taliban have taken part in two intra-Afghan meetings in Moscow in three months and a big gathering of political leaders planned in Qatar in April but was postponed after nominees by the Afghan government led to controversy.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/405406/taliban-do-not-seek-monopoly-over-power-supreme-leader/

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Follow Prophet's Teachings On Interfaith Issues, PKR Secretary-General Urged

Jun 02, 2019

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution has urged Muslims to follow the true teachings and practices of the Prophet to deal with interfaith issues.

Saifuddin, who is also domestic trade and consumer affairs minister, said complying with the Prophet's teachings would prevent any quarters from "hijacking" the understanding of Islam...

https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/478319

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Arab World

 

Thousands of Muslims worship in Mecca for the final days of Ramadan

Jun 02, 2019

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims have travelled to Mecca for the last days of the fasting month of Ramadan.

An influx of worshippers have descended on the Saudi Arabian city - the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad - for the last 10 days for what  believers consider the holiest month of the year.

Worshippers gather around Islam's holiest shrine, the Kaaba - a black square building at the Grand Mosque in Mecca which determines the direction of prayer for Muslims around the world.

The holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which is expected to fall on 4 June this year, celebrates the end of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting.

Here The Independent has collated some of the best images from this years event, of worshippers who have made the journey to Mecca for the religious celebration.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/ramadan-muslim-worship-grand-mosque-holy-city-mecca-photos-a8939531.html

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Ex-MP: US Sets Up 17 Military Bases in Iraq

Jun 01, 2019

The Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website quoted Mohammad al-Dayeni as saying that Washington has set up 17 military bases in Iraq.

He added that the US has also deployed Spirit (stealth) fighter jets in Ein al-Assad, adding that the F-35 fighters which had earlier been stationed in the airbase fly on a daily basis to spy on Iran.

Al-Dayeni said that the US forces have specified 63,000 targets in and outside Iraq for attcks, including the positions of Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraqi popular forces).

A prominent Iraqi political expert revealed late las month that Washington continues to increase the number of its troops in Iraq, warning of the US plots to make aggression against the neighboring states.

Sabah al-Akili told al-Ma'aloumeh that the number of US forces had increased in Iraq despite the general demand by the Iraqi people for their withdrawal.

He added that the US forces' attacks on Iraqi security forces indicated that they were combat forces and were not deployed for advising or training purposes.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980311000769

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Syrian MP: No Need to Arabs' Money for Reconstruction

Jun 01, 2019

Mahmoud Joukhdar told the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website that certain Arab states support terrorism in his country, noting that the Syrian people do not need the Arabs and US money.

He added that the terrorists have destroyed Syria with the money of Arab and western states, specially the US and France, saying, "The United States and France continue to stand atop the sponsors of terrorism and terrorists and these countries are enemies of Syria and the resistance front."

Syria has stressed interest to lead reconstruction efforts in cooperation with the countries which have helped Damascus in war on terrorism.

In relevant remarks in April, Speaker of the People's Council of Syria Hammouda Sabbagh lauded Tehran's helps to the Arab country in the war against terrorists, and called for Iran's help and active participation in reconstructing the war-ravaged country. Sabbagh, in a meeting in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad with a member of Iranian Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi, thanked Iran for all the helps in the past couple of years when the Arab country had been grappling with fighting against foreign-sponsored terrorist groups.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980311000889

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Russia's Large Airlifters Arrive in Syria, Likely Carrying Heavy Weapons

Jun 01, 2019

"Two Antonov An-124 airlifters arrived at the Hmeimim Airbase in Southwestern Lattakia on Friday evening," the Flight Tracker website said.

The An-124 is the largest airlifter to ever travel to Syria, which indicates they are likely transporting some heavy weapons to the Syrian military, it added.

The move by the Russian Air Force came just weeks after the Syrian Army launched a large-scale offensive North-West of Hama province.

The Russian Air Force has recently increased its transport flights to Syria during the Syrian Army's offensives. So speculations are high that the Russian military is transporting more weapons to the country.

In a relevant development in late May, a Russian newspaper in a report on Ankara's attempt to arm terrorists in Northern Syria in flagrant violation of the Sochi Agreement with Russia disclosed Turkey's support for militants' attack on Humeimem Military Base in Lattakia Province.

After declaring ceasefire by the Syrian Army in Idlib province on May 18, terrorists launched rocket attacks on Russia's Humeimem military base which resulted in emergency phone talks between the Russian and Turkish sides, the Arabic-language service of Russia Today cited Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta as saying.

It added that a news website affiliated to Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) has released photos on the attack on Humeimem military base as the rockets used in the attack bore Turkish-language imprints. However, the pictures were taken off hours later.

The report also noted that the attack on Humeimem military base had not been possible without Ankara's support, and said that Turkey arms terrorists who are fighting the Syrian government as Humeimem military base constantly comes under attack by terrorists stationed in Idlib.

Meantime, an expert of Russia's Strategic Research Center Vladimir Ivosif confirmed the report, and said that terrorists' access to modern missile-launchers is only possible from Turkey.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980311000550

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Aleppo: Over 1,000 Civilians Abducted by Ankara-Backed Militants in Afrin

Jun 01, 2019

The Kurdish-language Hawar News website reported that the Turkish Army and its allied militants have increased their brutalities against civilians, including murdering and abducting them as well as plundering their assets and properties and setting fire on thousands of hectares of lands in the region.

The report said the Ankara-backed militants have arrested hundreds of civilians and stated that they would be released only in return for ransoms, adding that the fate of over 1,100 of these detainees is still unknown.

Meantime, the local sources in the town of Izaz in Northern Aleppo reported that fierce clashes had broken out between the tribesmen of al-Ajil and the terrorists of the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Northern Aleppo.

The sources noted that the clashes took place after an Ajil tribesman was arrested by the militants, and said that at least seven people were killed and 10 others were wounded during the clashes.

In a relevant development on Friday, the Turkey-backed militants opened fire at civilians to expel them from Afrin region in Aleppo province as "Ankara continues efforts" to annex more regions to its occupied territories, Kurdish-language media outlets said.

The terrorist groups supported by Ankara have forced the residents of the towns of Lower Kukan and Upper Kukan in Moubata region of Afrin to leave their houses, the Kurdish-language Hawar News website quoted local sources in Afrin as saying. 

The sources pointed to residents' opposition and protests at militants, and said the terrorists have opened fire at protesting civilians and severely injured 10 of them.

They also said that the terrorists have not allowed the injured people to be transferred to hospitals and have told them to leave the towns in Afrin region or wait for execution.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980311000512

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Quneitra: US, West Footprints Found in Terrorists' Strongholds

Jun 01, 2019

The Syrian Army's engineering units discovered several depots packed with weapons and military equipment, some of them made in the US and the West, left behind by terrorists in several towns and villages in Quneitra Province.

The discovered weapons included different kinds of rifles, Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs), machineguns and a large amount of ammunition

A military source, meantime, said that the Syrian Army troops found state-of-the-art telecommunications systems and satellite equipment made in the US and other Western countries.

In a relevant development in mid-May, the Syrian Army seized a large amount of weapons and ammunition, including Israel-made weapons and military equipment in areas formerly held by the terrorists in Quneitra province.

The Syrian Army's engineering units found several arms and military equipment, including many weapons and military equipment, in the army's mop-up operation in the towns and villages of Quneitra province.

Meantime, a military source said that the army forces found a large cache of different types of weapons, machineguns, ammunition, RPG, anti-tank missile, communication equipment, night-vision cameras and also Israel-made military equipment and medicine.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980311000258

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Syria says Israeli attacks kill 3 soldiers, wound 7

2 June 2019

Israel attacked Syrian military positions in the country’s south early Sunday, killing three soldiers and wounding seven others, Syria’s state-run media reported.

State news agency SANA quoted an unnamed military official as saying the attacks struck military positions in the southern region of Quneitra, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. They also caused material damage, it said.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed on Twitter that Israel targeted several military positions in Syria. He said the targets included two artillery batteries, several observation and intelligence posts and an SA2 air defense unit.

A statement from the military said it held the Syrian regime accountable “for every action taken against Israel,” with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterating Israel’s policy to “respond forcefully to any aggression against us.”

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition’s war monitor, said Israeli warplanes struck positions and an arms depot of Iranian troops and Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters.

The attacks came hours after the Israeli military said two projectiles were fired from Syria toward the Golan Heights.

The Israeli military said Saturday there were no reports of casualties or damage. Israeli media said that sirens warning of incoming rockets were not activated.

Israel has acknowledged carrying out dozens of airstrikes in Syria on Iranian targets and Tehran’s allies.

Last week, Israeli aircraft hit a Syrian military post after the army said an anti-aircraft missile was fired at one of its fighter jets. Syrian media said a soldier was killed in that airstrike.

Israel says it will not allow Iran, which has sent forces to help President Bashar Assad in Syria’s civil war, to establish a permanent military presence in Syria.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/02/Syria-says-Israeli-attacks-kill-3-soldiers-wound-7.html

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Explosions rock Syria’s northern city of Raqqa, killing 10

2 June 2019

Syrian opposition activists are reporting that two explosions killed 10 people in the northern city of Raqqa.

The Saturday night blasts occurred in two different locations in the city that was once the de facto capital of the ISIS extremist group.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the first blast was a roadside bomb in the city center. It said the second blast was carried out by a suicide attacker driving a vehicle at a checkpoint of US-backed fighters in the central Naim Square, killing five fighters and five civilians.

The Sound and Pictures activist collective that covers ISIS atrocities said 10 people were killed in Naim square.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/02/Explosions-rock-Syria-s-northern-city-of-Raqqa-killing-10.html

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At Islamic Summit, King Salman slams terror, extremism

June 02, 2019

MAKKAH: Extremism and terrorism are “the most serious scourge” facing the world, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said on Friday at the 14th Islamic Summit, organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Makkah.

The summit’s theme was “Hand in Hand Toward the Future,” and was chaired by the king, who received leaders and heads of Muslim-majority countries.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal also received the guests.

In his speech, King Salman thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his efforts as chairman of the previous summit.

The king also thanked OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen for his efforts to promote Islamic cooperation.

“The Palestinian cause is the cornerstone of the OIC’s work, and is the focus of our attention until the brotherly Palestinian people get all their legitimate rights,” King Salman said.

Efforts must be made to combat extremism and terrorism, expose their supporters, and dry up their financial resources in all available ways, he added.

“During this holy month (of Ramadan), commercial vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were subjected near the UAE’s territorial waters to terrorist sabotage. This poses a serious threat to the security and safety of maritime traffic, and to regional and international security,” he said.

“Also, two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia were attacked by drones launched by Iranian-backed terrorist militias … These subversive terrorist acts not only target the Kingdom and the Gulf region, but also the security of navigation and world energy supplies,” he added.

“It is painful that Muslims make up the highest proportion of displaced people and refugees worldwide due to unrest, wars, and a decline in safe living opportunities in their countries,” King Salman said.

“Emanating from this, Saudi Arabia has been seeking to reconcile different viewpoints to serve Islamic countries and their peoples, while continuing to provide assistance … through humanitarian and relief efforts in order to maintain the sovereignty, security and stability of Islamic countries.”

Restructuring, developing and reforming the OIC is crucial to address the challenges facing the Muslim world, the king added.

“Through its presidency of the summit, Saudi Arabia will endeavor to work with OIC member states and the OIC General Secretariat … to achieve (people’s) aspirations,” he said.

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said the Kingdom has always worked for the stability of all Arab and Muslim peoples.

“It always tries to build bridges of investments, commerce, empower women and youths. It continually does its best to create an environment where technology and innovation prevail, not only in Saudi Arabia but also everywhere in the Muslim world,” he added.

Al-Othaimeen said he received a cable message from Chinese President Xi Jinping that read: “The OIC represents a symbol of solidarity among Muslim countries, and it has been making important contributions to promote cooperation among its member states for 50 years, and that is really appreciated.”

The message added: “The Chinese side attaches great importance to its friendly relations with Muslim countries, and the OIC is an important bridge for cooperation between China and the Islamic world.”

The cable continued: “We are also keen to work with Muslim countries to promote mutual political trust, promote practical cooperation, intensify civilizational dialogue, open up wider horizons for friendly relations between China and the Islamic world, and contribute to build a society of common destiny for mankind.”

Al-Jubeir said the Islamic world is facing many challenges, but “there are even more opportunities to develop. The challenges are in extremism, terrorism, sectarianism and conflicts.”

The Islamic world has tremendous natural resources, he added. “The Muslim world makes up a third of the whole world, but unluckily there are some parties that work on hindering these opportunities and damaging the Muslim world’s capabilities,” he said.

“Some others spread sectarianism, while others do their utmost to support terrorism. Others provide terror militias with ballistic missiles and drones,” Al-Jubeir added.

“The country that does that all is Iran ... The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) states, Arab and Muslim countries will never accept such acts and behaviors,” he said.

“The whole Islamic world is now saying to Iran: Adopt policies that lead to respecting other people if you want to be respected,” he added.

“Supporting terror militias, bombing embassies, making clandestine terrorist cells, and smuggling weapons and explosives to other countries — these cannot be the behaviors of a country that wants to live peacefully and gain its neighbors’ respect,” he said, adding that Iran is the world’s top sponsor of terrorism.  

The solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “should be based on international resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, and the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Al-Jubeir said.

Jerry Maher, former CEO of Radio Sawt Beirut, told Arab News: “Arab and Muslim countries will review their policies and relations with Iran if it continues to escalate tensions in the region. Confrontation is possible.”

He said: “The message from the Arab and Muslim worlds to Iran is clear: That 1.5 billion Muslims stand behind Saudi Arabia and its leadership. They also reject these continuous threats and attacks against civilian areas (in the Kingdom).”

He added: “They (Tehran) didn’t expect the Arab and Muslim worlds to respond that quickly. Iran’s foreign minister and his deputy are visiting countries in the East and West in an attempt to find a solution, after they realized that something unexpected could happen.”

Saudi columnist Khalid Al-Sulaiman told Arab News that the Kingdom “is looking for active roles to be played by (Muslim) countries … to counter challenges in the region.”

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1505241/saudi-arabia

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Pakistan

 

Karachi's St Jude's cathedral hosts iftar dinner for Muslim brothers

Jun 02, 2019

St Jude’s cathedral echoed with "Allah-o-Akbar" (God is greatest), as the fasting Muslims offered evening prayers while the Christian parishioners hurriedly arranged food for them on the tables.

Over the past few decades, chants of "Hallelujah" have been filling the air in the Catholic cathedral situated in the footnote of a dry hillock in Karachi's North Nazimabad area.

Miles away from the bustling central metropolis, the lesser known Catholic cathedral set a towering example of interfaith harmony.

On Thursday evening, it arranged an iftar dinner for the Imams (prayer leaders) of different mosques and local leaders of several religious and political groups.

“This is the holy month of Ramazan, a time of blessings,” the parish priest Father Augustin Soares said as he welcomed nearly two dozen Muslim religious and political leaders.

“So, I thought we should arrange an iftar gathering for our Muslims brothers, who we live with in the area, in the month of fasting,” the 70-year-old slender-framed Goan parish priest added.

St Jude’s cathedral is located in the Hussain D’Silva Town, once a posh township named after two Muslim-Christian friends and town planners.

For decades, the large dusty hillock was a scenic feature of the township largely inhabited by the Goan Christians and was a romantic dating place for young couples.

Over the past few decades, the peaceful neighborhood saw an influx of religious outfits, mostly those fleeing the hilly region of the north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa torn by militancy in the post-Afghanistan war following 9/11.

For them, the large range of the hillock — from Orangi Town to the Manghopir periphery — offered the same living environment as back home.

It triggered armed clashes between the Pashtun living atop the hill and the Christians living below in the adjoining Pahar Gunj slum.

Gradually, the Goans first left the township and then the country. But Father Soares stayed back and is still living in the cathedral.

On the occasion of the silver jubilee anniversary of his ordination, Father Soares decided to celebrate in a different way — with the neighbourhood Muslims.

The gesture sent a big message, as Cardinal Joseph Coutts — named one of the 14 new cardinals by Pope Francis last year — also joined in.

Besides the clerics, the local leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Awami National Party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Jamiat Ulema Pakistan-Fazl, and others attended the gathering.

Donning a long white gown and wearing a hand-knitted red cap akin to that worn by Muslims for prayer, the country representative for Rome humbly sat in the middle of the table along with Father Augustin Soares and Father Sualeh Diego.

“Sometimes, we live together, but don’t find time to meet and talk to each other,” the soft-spoken cardinal said as he opened his speech after the iftar.

“However, when we meet up, we realise that we are all creatures of Khuda Tala (the Lord),” he added, appreciating parish priest Father Soares' idea.

“We all belong to this land. We are all Pakistanis. We all shares each other’s happiness and worries,” he added smilingly, underscoring the need for forging interfaith harmony in the country.

The meetup offered a rare opportunity for clerics and leaders from the two sides to engage with one another.

Dil Muhammad, the local union council’s chairman belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party, was all praise for the initiative.

“Today’s gathering may be small, but it sends out a big message not only to this area, but to the city and to the whole country,” he remarked.

“I was just a two-year-old child, when I came here with my parents. I have not seen such a gathering in 50 years of my life,” he said as he recalled the years spent living with the Christians.

“It will send out a positive message,” Dil Muhammad added, thanking the St Jude’s priest for hosting a dinner for the fasting Muslims of the neighbourhood.

Resolving to continue the initiative in future, the political leaders promised to invite, in turn, Cardinal Joseph Coutts and his parishioners on their religious eves to jointly celebrate with them.

“Bacha Khan has taught us one thing. Humanity!” Niaz Khan, the district president of the Awami National Party, told his hosts.

“We are one. We will also invite you all to such programmes,” he added.

Thanking his guests, Cardinal Joseph Coutts appreciated the spirit demonstrated by the Muslim clerics and political leaders to promote interfaith harmony.

“I pray to the Lord to bless today’s gathering so that we all learn that we are brothers and are ready to help each other in every difficult time,” he concluded.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1485921/karachis-st-judes-cathedral-hosts-iftar-dinner-for-muslim-brothers

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Pak court sentences three JeM activists for terror funding

Jun 1, 2019

ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has sentenced three activists of the Masood Azhar-led Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) for five years each in jail for arranging funds for the proscribed terror outfit amid pressure from the global community to rein in militant groups.

The Anti-Terrorism Court found the trio guilty in three separate cases on Friday after funds collected for the militant outfit were recovered from them. They were sent to central prison in Gujranwala in Punjab province.

The convicts M Iftikhar, Muhammad Ajmal and Bilal were also fined Rs 45,000, Rs 50,000 and Rs 40,000 respectively besides the sentence.

The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in Gujranwala had earlier registered a case against them, the Express Tribune reported.

According to Punjab CTD spokesperson, the investigations and prosecutions “are being followed to stop proscribed organisations from indulging in terror financing.”

The spokesperson warned these organisations and their leaders to desist from such acts or action would be taken against them.

Pakistan launched a crackdown against supporters of militant outfits after pressure from the international community to stop support to the militant groups.

Three members of the Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa were arrested Thursday on charges of terror financing in Punjab province.

Six JeM members were arrested for allegedly collecting funds for the terror group on Wednesday.

On Monday, three terrorists belonging to the Islamic State (IS) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) militant groups were arrested by the CTD officials in Pakistan's Punjab province.

Last week, six activists of the JeM and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) were arrested by the CTD from Gujranwala, Rawalpinid, Multan and Lahore for allegedly collecting funds to finance terrorism.

Paris-based international terror financing watchdog FATF in June last year placed Pakistan onto its watch list in a bid to push the country to halt support for militant groups.

In February, the FATF decided to continue the 'Grey' listing of Pakistan for its failure to stop funding of terrorist groups such as the JeM, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the JuD.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pak-court-sentences-three-jem-activists-for-terror-funding/articleshow/69609421.cms

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Firdous rejects criticism over oil price hike

Kalbe Ali

June 02, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Saturday rejected criticism of opposition parties over recent increase in the prices of petroleum products, claiming that they were responsible for bringing the country’s economy to its current state.

Addressing a press conference here, she said players of “corruption eleven” were trying to play with sentiments of the public.

The spokesperson for the government said that it was strange that the opposition parties were shedding “crocodile’s tears” over increase in the prices of petroleum products. “The government has paid more than Rs60 billion in subsidies over petroleum products since August,” Dr Awan said, adding that the petroleum prices in Pakistan were lower as compared to those in regional countries.

She termed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) a “corrupt league” and said the party leaders were misguiding the people of the country. If they were so kind-hearted to people, they would have not done so badly with the economy of the country when the party was in power. Had they worked honestly, the country’s economy would not have been in such a bad shape today, she added.

Calling both main opposition parties, the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), “kings of corruption”, Dr Awan alleged that they were responsible for the financial crunch the country was facing today. They (PML-N and PPP leaders) had snatched rights of millions of children of the country for the benefits their own children, she added.

Calling PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif a “missing opposition leader”, she said he was trying to befool people by expressing his sympathies with them over the hike in oil prices at a time when he was enjoying luxuries of life in London.

Dr Awan said it was strange that the PML-N which, according to her, was responsible for many of Pakistan’s economic ills today was now doing politics on this issue. The opposition parties were doing the politics of hypocrisy by provoking people on economic issues, she said, adding that the only agenda of the opposition parties’ leaders was to protect their wealth.

“Those who looted the nation are now united only to find a way to escape the ongoing accountability process in the country,” she said.

She claimed that many of those who were now expressing concern over the state of the country’s economy were behind hundreds of fake bank accounts. Had they not looted people’s money during their tenures, the country’s economy would have been in a stable position today, she added.

Meanwhile, in messages on Twitter Dr Awan lambasted PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. She claimed that he was doing politics over the blood of martyrs.

“Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had double standards and he was doing politics on the blood of martyrs,” she said in a tweet.

“Mr Bilawal had rejected that Mohsin Dawar attacked Kharqamar check post but now he condemned the terror attack in Boya, North Waziristan,” she said, adding, “For Bilawal’s party Rao Anwar was a brave person while on the other hand it was insisting on issuance of production orders of Mohsin Dawar.”

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1486070/firdous-rejects-criticism-over-oil-price-hike

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Soldier martyred in North Waziristan ambush

Jun 02, 2019

RAWALPINDI: One soldier embraced martyrdom as a result of an attack on an army vehicle in Boyya area of North Waziristan on Saturday.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the incident took place near Boyya area where a patrolling vehicle of the Pakistan Army was attacked by unknown assailants and hit a nearby planted improvised explosive device (IED).

A soldier named Amal Shah, 26, embraced martyrdom in the result of an attack, added ISPR.

Per the Pakistan Army’s media wing, as many as five soldiers embraced martyred while 31 others sustained injuries in recent attacks on armed forces by suspected militants.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/06/01/solider-martyred-in-north-waziristan-ispr/

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Pak Army soldier embraced martyrdom in North Waziristan terrorist attack

Jun 02, 2019

A landmine blast and firing resulted in the martyrdom of a 26-year-old soldier Amal Shah on Saturday when a Pakistan Army vehicle was patrolling North Waziristan’s Boya area.

According to the statement of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), terrorists opened fire on the Army vehicle and later on missing the target, they attacked it with an improvised explosive device (IED).

“Terrorist activities in North Waziristan have increased lately. Over the last month, five soldiers have been martyred and 31 injured due to terrorist activities,” read an ISPR statement.

Khar Qamar check post attack

ISPR linked this attack with the Khar Qamar check post attack.

As per the statement of ISPR, a group attacked a check post in the area which killed three civilians and five soldiers. Around fifteen people were injured in the attack.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/06/02/pak-army-soldier-embraced-martyrdom-in-north-waziristan-terrorist-attack/

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Mohsin Dawar, Ali Wazir are MNAs, not terrorists, says Bilawal Bhutto

Jun 02, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has strongly responded to Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry over his ‘dual politics’ and ‘playing politics with blood of shaheeds’.

Fawad Chaudhry had earlier tweeted that “Supporting Mohsin Dawar on attack on Kharqamar Check Post while condemning today unidentifiable attacker shows Dual Politics of BBZ,…… playing Politics with the blood of shaheeds? Say no to Politics on martyrs blood.”

Replying over it, Bilawal said, “While your current leader called terrorists his brothers I was condemning terrorist attacks on our soldiers and still do today. That’s called consistency, something understandably alien to you.”

He went on to say Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir are MNAs, not terrorists. Asking speaker to follow rules.”

“And calling for a commission is supporting facts, truth and democracy not any individual. Surely as a lawyer you believe everyone is entitled to a fair trial under Article 10A of the constitution? Professional turncoats should really not talk about ‘dual politics’.”

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/06/01/mohsin-dawar-ali-wazir-are-mnas-not-terrorists-says-bilawal-bhutto/

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Imran, MBS agree to enhance bilateral ties

Jun 02, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Saturday agreed to expedite decisions taken during the visit of the crown prince to Pakistan in February this year, in particular, the early implementation of decisions taken during the first meeting of the Supreme Coordination Council.

Both leaders met on the sidelines of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

According to the details, the two leaders discussed matters of mutual interest during their meeting in Makkah and took stock of the current state of bilateral, political, economic and trade relations.

The prime minister thanked the Saudi government for extending oil facility to Pakistan on deferred payments. Both sides agreed to regularly exchange views on all issues of mutual interest.

MBS had visited Pakistan in Feb this year. The prime minister at his visit had driven MBS to the PM House in Islamabad, putting diplomatic protocol aside.

During the visit, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signed seven memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and agreements in diverse fields, including energy, power, petrochemical, mineral resources and sports, to further enhance their cooperation.

IMRAN MEETS EGYPT’S SISI:

Imran also met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on the sidelines of the summit.

The two leaders exchanged views on bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest, and the issues being faced by the Muslim world.

They also exchanged views on the regional security situation and emphasised the need to exercise caution and resolve issues peacefully.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/06/01/imran-mbs-agree-to-enhance-bilateral-ties/

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After human rights violations: OIC appoints special envoy on Kashmir

JUNE 2, 2019

MAKKAH: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has appointed Saudi Arabia’s Yousef Aldobeay as its special envoy on Jammu and Kashmir, reiterating its support for the legitimate right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people in accordance with UN resolutions, the Foreign Office said on Saturday.

The 14th OIC summit in the holy city of Makkah backed the host, Saudi Arabia, in the face of escalating tensions with Iran and threw its support behind the Palestinians ahead of a US-led peace plan suspected to be skewed in favour of Israel. The Foreign Office said the summit communique called for expediting establishment of a UN commission of inquiry to investigate grave human rights violations and urged India to allow the commission and other international organisations access to Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

The conference also commended the report of OIC’s Human Rights Commission, highlighting rights abuses in IOK. It welcomed Pakistan’s offer to host 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad in 2021. The OIC meeting, the third and final Iran-focused summit hosted by Saudi Arabia in Makkah this week, condemned a ‘terrorist attack’ on Saudi Arabia’s oil pumping stations which targeted global oil supplies, according to its communique.

Earlier, addressing the Muslim leaders, Saudi King Salman warned that ‘terrorist’ attacks in the Gulf region could imperil global energy supplies. “We confirm that terrorist actions not only target the kingdom and the Gulf region, but also target the safety of navigation and world oil supplies.” The summit threw its support behind the Palestinian cause, denouncing any position adopted by an international body that supports prolonging occupation of Palestinian territories, including a US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The OIC refused to accept any proposal for peaceful settlement that did not accord with Palestinians’ legitimate inalienable rights. It urged member countries to take ‘appropriate measures’ against countries that move their embassies to Jerusalem. The summit called for a ‘boycott’ of the countries that have opened diplomatic missions in the city and stressed the importance of amassing support for the budget of the Palestinian government to continue its work.

“The Palestinian cause is the cornerstone of the works of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and is the focus of our attention until the brotherly Palestinian people get all their legitimate rights,” the Saudi monarch said at the summit. “We reaffirm our unequivocal rejection of any measures that would prejudice the historical and legal status of Quds (Jerusalem),” he said.

The OIC summit also refused to accept any decision to change legal and demographic status of Syria’s Golan Heights, especially the US decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the territory, the summit’s communique said.

The member states expressed concern over growing Islamophobia in many parts of the world. Islamophobia “as a contemporary form of racism and religious discrimination continues to grow … as evident by the increase in incidents of religious intolerance, negative stereotyping, and hatred and violence against Muslims”, it added.

The summit also condemned the inhumane situation of Rohingyas, urging a halt to violence. It also stressed that Myanmar’s government has the responsibility to protect its citizens. It urged the US to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The conference called for adoption of a comprehensive strategy to combat Islamophobia, building on proposals made by Pakistan in the OIC Ministerial Executive Committee meeting in March 2019. It commended Pakistan for its generosity and hospitality for hosting Afghan refugees.

The conference also commended the role of the OIC Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific & Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH), under the chairmanship of the President of Pakistan and encouraged member states for early operationalisation of the OIC Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) agenda 2026.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was notably absent from the OIC summit. Turkey was instead represented by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Iran’s President Hassan Rowhani was also not present but sent a representative to the summit.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/405582/after-human-rights-violations-oic-appoints-special-envoy-on-kashmir/

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Mideast

 

Israel to auction classrooms donated by EU to Palestinian children

June 01, 2019

LONDON: Israel is set to auction off classrooms it seized from the occupied West Bank last year, according to a report in UK newspaper the Guardian citing an advertisement that ran in the Israeli newspaper Maariv.

The auction is due to be held next week and will take place in the offices of the Civil Administration, which tore down and confiscated the classrooms last October.

They had been intended for 49 students, in grades one to six, in Ibziq, in the northern occupied West Bank.

After the classrooms were dismantled, the EU mission to Jerusalem and Ramallah condemned Israeli authorities and called on them to rebuild the structures in the same place “without delay”.

The statement said at the time: “Every child has the right to access education and states have an obligation to protect, respect and fulfil this right, by ensuring that schools are inviolable safe spaces for children.

“The EU calls upon the Israeli authorities to halt demolitions and confiscations of Palestinian houses and property, in accordance with its obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law.”

The Civil Administration did not follow the EU mission’s advice and rebuild the classrooms and the agency saw the opportunity to sell the materials confiscated from Palestinian children.

The Guardian said it had seen a list of the auction items, which showed dates, item numbers, locations and descriptions that matched the confiscated classroom structures.

“The sale also appeared to include material confiscated from Palestinians and Israeli settlers who built without authorization,” the Guardian reported.

The Civil Administration, the Israeli body which governs the occupied West Bank, did not comment on the upcoming sale.

The Israeli military refuses to permit most new Palestinian construction in the 60 percent of the West Bank where it has exclusive control over planning and building, even as the military facilitates settler construction.

According to Human Rights Watch, “the military has enforced this discriminatory system by razing thousands of Palestinian properties, including schools, creating pressure on Palestinians to leave their communities. When Israeli authorities have demolished schools, they have not taken steps to ensure that children in the area have access to schools of at least the same quality.”

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1505101/middle-east

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Rockets fired from Syria at Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, says Israel

1 June 2019

Two rockets were fired on Saturday from Syria toward the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights causing no casualties, the Israeli military said.

A military spokeswoman said that the details were still being looked into and that it remained unclear who had fired the rockets and where they had landed.

Israel says that arch-foe Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, both of whom are fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian war, are trying to turn Syria into a new front against Israelis.

In recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/01/Rockets-fired-from-Syria-at-Israeli-occupied-Golan-Heights-says-Israeli-military.html

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Pro and anti-Israel protests draw hundreds in Berlin

1 June 2019

Hundreds of people including prominent German politicians and members of the Jewish community are protesting against a larger, anti-Israel rally in Berlin.

Police in the German capital of Berlin kept the competing protests on Saturday apart.

The annual al-Quds - Arabic for Jerusalem - march against Israel drew more than 1,000 participants, with some chanting “Palestine will be reborn!” or “Free Gaza!” Others waved Iranian flags.

The German news agency dpa reported that the government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein; the Israeli ambassador in Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff; and Berlin’s top security official, Andreas Geisel, attended the pro-Israel rally.

Geisel urged the German government to consider banning the political wing of the militant group Hezbollah.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/01/Pro-and-anti-Israel-protests-draw-hundreds-in-Berlin.html

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Iran briefly detains two European diplomats at coed party

1 June 2019

Iranian police briefly detained two European diplomats at a mixed-gender party, which are illegal under Iranian law, the semi-official Tasnim news agency said on Saturday.

A British and a Dutch diplomat were released in the early hours of Friday morning after being identified as foreign government workers.

The report said the party in the capital, Tehran, was attended by several men and women, but did not elaborate or specify if alcohol was present.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/01/Iran-briefly-detains-two-European-diplomats-at-coed-party.html

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Turkey, Russia face conflicts over Syria’s push into Idlib

1 June 2019

Ankara and Moscow are again facing an escalation of violence in Syria’s last rebel-held territory, a development that puts their cooperation to the test even as they support opposing sides in the eight-year war that has devastated Syria.

An all-out offensive by Syrian government forces to capture Idlib in northwestern Syria from insurgents could unleash an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, for the area is home to three million people.

Turkey, which is already hosting more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees, is facing strong pressure from Syria, Iran and Russia to deliver on its pledge to control the armed rebel factions in Idlib.

But Turkey also needs Russia to rein in Syrian President Bashar Assad to prevent a massive outflow of refugees and to keep Turkish soldiers on the ground safe.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin “have an incentive to cooperate and ensure that nobody’s interests are totally trampled,” says Aaron Stein, the director of the Middle East program in American think-tank Foreign Policy Research Institute.

In September, the two leaders brokered a cease-fire for Idlib in the Russian resort of Sochi, preventing a bloody onslaught, despite the fact that Russia has firmly backed Assad and Turkey supports opposition forces. Nine months later, the truce has failed.

The agreement called for a 15-to-20 kilometer demilitarized zone free of insurgents and heavy weaponry and for two key highways crossing through Idlib to be reopened. The demilitarized zone has been breached and the highways are at the center of the current government offensive.

Syrian ground forces have been advancing from the south of the rebel stronghold under the cover of Syrian and Russian airstrikes.

Turkey has accused the Syrian government of violating the cease-fire and Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the country has told Russia “the regime must be controlled.”

Russia has launched airstrikes in Idlib and is providing air cover in the Syrian government offensive. It has complained that the militants have increasingly been targeting its military base in the nearby coastal province of Latakia.

Russian-Turkish relations

But for now, Moscow is unlikely to support an all-out Syrian operation in Idlib because the benefits of a long-term alliance with Turkey outweigh one military battle.

“Russia doesn’t want to ruin its relationship with Turkey because of Idlib,” says Kirill Semenov, a Moscow-based Middle East analyst and expert at the Russian International Affairs Council.

In late April, Putin said he would not rule out a large-scale assault but “together with our Syrian friends, we believe that this would not be advisable” due to humanitarian issues.

Still, Russia’s patience is wearing thin with the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, which it accuses of targeting its military base. HTS is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Russia and Turkey, despite its claims it has disassociated from al-Qaeda.

Despite the cease-fire deal, Turkey has been unable to neutralize the extremists. Much of Idlib has come under the control of HTS, which has defeated Turkey-backed armed groups.

Erdogan and Putin have talked on the phone, agreeing to continue working along the lines of the cease-fire agreement to prevent civilian deaths and a refugee flow. They also agreed to meet on the sidelines of next month’s Group of 20 conference in Japan.

The presidents have become close since 2016, rebuilding their relations after a dramatic crisis in 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian jet near the Syrian border. Their rapport comes amid Turkey’s fragile relations with NATO ally United States, especially over Washington’s support of Syrian Kurdish-led forces who control large swaths in eastern Syria. Ankara considers them an extension of a Kurdish insurgency operating inside Turkey.

Erdogan is so far sticking to his promise to buy Russian-made S-400 missiles despite US warnings the system would jeopardize Turkey’s participation in the F-35 fighter jet program and compromise its safety.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/01/Turkey-Russia-face-conflicts-over-Syria-s-push-into-Idlib.html

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EU slams Israel over sale of West Bank aid

1 June 2019

The European Union on Friday criticized Israel over apparent plans to sell aid given to Bedouin villages in the occupied West Bank which was seized by Israeli authorities.

The tents and other humanitarian structures will be put up for auction within days by COGAT, the Israel defense ministry unit which oversees civilian activities in the Palestinian territories, according to the EU’s spokesman in Jerusalem.

The supplies include “two school structures that had been consigned to Ibziq community; and two tents and three metal sheds to the al-Hadidiya community,” Shadi Othman said in a statement.

The aid was seized in October and November by Israeli authorities and is worth 15,320 euros ($17,100), according to Othman.

COGAT did not immediately respond to confirm a May 6 advertisement in the Maariv newspaper which detailed the sale of “seized property” from the West Bank.

“In the case where the owners of these seized assets have not proceeded to request the return of their property within 30 days of the publication of this notice, the assets will be sold,” it said.

The EU made an official request for the return of the structures but received no response, Othman said.

“EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah had called on Israeli authorities to return the confiscated items to their intended beneficiaries without precondition as soon as possible” or provide compensation, the spokesman added.

The EU often finances humanitarian structures in Bedouin villages, which are frequently confiscated by Israeli authorities who claim the necessary authorization has not been given.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/01/EU-slams-Israel-over-sale-of-West-Bank-aid.html

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Turkey and Russia face escalation of violence over Syria’s push into Idlib

June 01, 2019

JEDDAH/ISTANBUL:  Ankara and Moscow are again facing an escalation of violence in Syria’s last opposition-held territory.

An all-out offensive by the Assad regime to capture Idlib in northwest Syria could unleash an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, as the province is home to 3 million people.

Regime ground forces have been advancing from the south of the opposition stronghold under the cover of Syrian and Russian airstrikes.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 291 civilians and 369 fighters have been killed in Idlib since April 30.

In the same period, 269 regime troops and 22 civilians have been killed in regime-held areas by opposition fire.

The UN children’s agency said more than 130 children have reportedly been killed. More than 200,000 people from Idlib have been displaced, according to the UN.

Ankara has accused the Assad regime of violating a cease-fire brokered by Turkey and Russia.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Ankara has told Russia that “the regime must be controlled.”

Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi said the regime has chosen a military path in handling the popular uprising. “The more tension, the better for the regime and Iran, its main supporter,” he told Arab News.

Russia has tried more than 250 kinds of deadly weapons in Syria, he said. “It wanted to tailor a solution that fits its own interests and suits the regime. The pretext is there in Idlib with some Al-Nusra fighters,” he added.

What is happening in Idlib, said Al-Aridi, is a violation of accords between Turkey and Russia.

“The losses on both sides are tremendous, with people defending themselves against ground forces. But they can’t do anything against the Russian and regime bombardment,” he added.

“The human loss is horrible. Hundreds of thousands are fleeing their homes with no shelter. It’s a humanitarian disaster, with the world unfortunately watching and doing nothing against those criminals.”

Turkey, which is already hosting more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees, is facing strong pressure from Syria, Iran and Russia to deliver on its pledge to control the armed opposition factions in Idlib.

But Turkey also needs Russia to rein in Syria’s Bashar Assad to prevent a massive outflow of refugees and to keep Turkish soldiers on the ground safe.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin “have an incentive to cooperate and ensure that nobody’s interests are totally trampled,” says Aaron Stein, the director of the Middle East program in American think tank Foreign Policy Research Institute.

In September, the two leaders brokered a cease-fire for Idlib in the Russian resort of Sochi, preventing a bloody onslaught, despite the fact that Russia has firmly backed Assad and Turkey supports opposition forces. Nine months later, the truce has failed.

The agreement called for a 15-to-20 km demilitarized zone free of insurgents and heavy weaponry and for two key highways crossing through Idlib to be reopened. The demilitarized zone has been breached and the highways are at the center of the current regime offensive.

Turkey has accused the Syrian regime of violating the cease-fire and Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the country has told Russia “the regime must be controlled.”

Russia has launched airstrikes in Idlib and is providing air cover in the Syrian regime offensive. It has complained that the fighters have increasingly been targeting its military base in the nearby coastal province of Latakia.

But for now, Moscow is unlikely to support an all-out Syrian operation in Idlib because the benefits of a long-term alliance with Turkey outweigh one military battle.

“Russia doesn’t want to ruin its relationship with Turkey because of Idlib,” says Kirill Semenov, a Moscow-based Middle East analyst and expert at the Russian International Affairs Council.

In late April, Putin said he would not rule out a large-scale assault but “together with our Syrian friends, we believe that this would not be advisable” due to humanitarian issues.

Still, Russia’s patience is wearing thin with the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, or HTS, which it accuses of targeting its military base. HTS is considered a terrorist organization by the US, Russia and Turkey, despite its claims it has disassociated from Al-Qaeda.

Top Russian officials have often called Idlib a “breeding ground for terrorists.”

Despite the cease-fire deal, Turkey has been unable to neutralize the extremists. Much of Idlib has come under the control of HTS, which has defeated Turkey-backed armed groups.

Emre Ersan, an associate professor of international relations and political science at Istanbul’s Marmara University, believes Turkey may have overestimated its influence over HTS. He says Turkey’s plan to split the group, with some of its members joining Turkish-backed opposition forces and the group’s hard-liners isolated, has not worked.

Instead of coming under the umbrella of moderate groups, HTS has used Turkey as leverage against Russia and Assad-supporter Iran, according to Ersan.

Adding to the risks, Turkish troops are in the line of fire. Two Turkish soldiers were wounded in early May in a Syrian regime artillery attack on an observation post. Three other attacks have been cited by Turkey’s official Anadolu Agency, raising the question if the attacks were accidental or designed to pressure Ankara with Russia’s knowledge.

“The Turkish Armed Forces will not take a single step back from where it is,” Akar, Turkey’s defense minister, said last week.

Erdogan and Putin have talked on the phone, agreeing to continue working along the lines of the cease-fire agreement to prevent civilian deaths and a refugee flow. They also agreed to meet on the sidelines of next month’s Group of 20 conference in Japan.

“Apart from this dialogue and cooperation, there is nothing on the ground that can prevent a catastrophe in Idlib,” Ersan says.

The presidents have become close since 2016, rebuilding their relations after a dramatic crisis in 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian jet near the Syrian border. Their rapport comes amid Turkey’s fragile relations with NATO ally US, especially over Washington’s support of Syrian Kurdish-led forces who control large swaths in eastern Syria. Ankara considers them an extension of a Kurdish insurgency operating inside Turkey.

Erdogan is so far sticking to his promise to buy Russian-made S-400 missiles despite US warnings the system would jeopardize Turkey’s participation in the F-35 fighter jet program and compromise its safety. Stein calls this “a big win for Russia.” Turkey is angling for a way to have both the S-400s and the F-35s.

Turkey is also talking with the US about a safe zone in northeastern Syria and has repeatedly asked for the US to end its military support for Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF. Erdogan will meet US President Donald Trump at the G-20 as well.

Ersan believes Russia may allow Turkey to grab the northern town of Tel Rifaat from the Kurdish fighters, the last town they control in western Syria. Russian support could help Turkey put pressure on the SDF, widen Turkish influence and strengthen its hand in ongoing negotiations with the US

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1505196/middle-east

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South Asia

 

Afghan, Pakistani leaders in talks to end ‘growing mistrust’

June 01, 2019

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held talks with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday in what analysts described as a move to ease growing tensions between the neighboring countries.

The leaders met on the sidelines of the 14th Islamic Summit in Makkah and discussed improving relations and the Afghan peace process.

The meeting was the first between the two leaders since Khan took office last year.

With US and Taliban talks gaining momentum outside Afghanistan in recent months, Khan’s comments about the formation of an interim government in the country — to replace Ghani’s leadership — angered Kabul.

Afghanistan has also accused Islamabad of backing militants — a claim that Pakistan denies — and hampering its trade ties with India.

The meeting on Friday follows a visit to Pakistan by Hamdullah Mohib, Ghani’s national security adviser, several days ago.

Khan told Ghani that Islamabad supports “peace and stability in Afghanistan,” and favored an “Afghan-led and owned peace process,” the Pakistani prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Both leaders will discuss security and economic ties during Ghani’s coming visit to Pakistan, the statement said.

An official in Kabul confirmed that the meeting between the two leaders was the first since Khan became prime minister last year, but could not say when Ghani will visit Pakistan.

A statement issued by Ghani’s office said the two leaders also discussed “regional connectivity, trade and transit.”

Khan has promised to resolve the issue surrounding the closure of Pakistani air space to Afghan flights bound for India, the statement said. Pakistan barred the flights after clashes with India in the disputed Kashmir area.

Ties between Afghanistan and Pakistani have historically been uneasy, mostly due to a dispute over a border drawn by British rulers in the 19th century, which divided Pashtun families of Afghan origin and annexed swathes of Afghan territory to Pakistan.

Successive Afghan governments have accused Pakistan of aiding militants, which has further strained relations.

Zalmay Khalilzad, US special envoy for Afghanistan, welcomed the meeting between Ghani and Khan.

“Improved Afghan-Pakistan ties are key to reaching, implementing and capitalizing on opportunities for regional connectivity, integration and development,” he said in a tweet, adding that Washington was ready to help both sides mend ties.

An Afghan lawmaker, Daud Kalakani, told Arab News that the meeting “can be the start of a process for improving ties.”

Khan’s suggestion that Afghans lead the process was a “positive development,” he said.

However, political analyst Waheed Mozhdah said “mistrust” between Kabul and Islamabad runs so deep that the meeting offered little hope of an immediate change of relations.

“There are lots of problems and complications. There have been far more promising meetings in the past, but we have not seen any improvement. On the contrary, things have become worse,” he told Arab News.

Kabul assumes that Pakistan can influence the Taliban, while Pakistan opposes the growing presence of India in Afghanistan. Both factors make it difficult to improve ties, Mozhdah said.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1505156/world

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Afghan officials: 3 bomb blasts in capital, 1 killed

Jun 2, 2019

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN: Afghan officials say there have been three explosions in the capital, Kabul, including a sticky bomb attached to a bus carrying university students that killed at least one person.

Ferdus Faramarz, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, has confirmed that two other blasts were later heard from the same area, but couldn't provide more details.

He says ten people were also wounded in Sunday's attack, which took place in western part of the city.

Wahidullah Mayar, spokesman for the public health ministry, says at least four women are among the wounded from the bus attack and have been taken to hospitals.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/afghan-officials-3-bomb-blasts-in-capital-1-killed/articleshow/69618532.cms

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Taliban leader indicates no ceasefire anytime soon

Jun 1, 2019

KABUL: The Taliban are unlikely to call a ceasefire any time soon, the group's leader indicated Saturday, though he said the, "doors of dialogue" with the US remain open.

The rare message from Haibatullah Akhundzada comes after a sixth round of US-led talks ended last month in Qatar with little sign of progress and amid continued bloodshed across Afghanistan.

"The doors of dialogue and negotiations have been kept open and at this very moment, the (Taliban) negotiation team ... is engaged in negotiations with the American side," Akhundzada said in a message ahead of the upcoming festival of Eid, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had proposed a nationwide ceasefire at the start of Ramadan early last month, but the Taliban rejected the offer.

Last year, the Taliban observed a three-day ceasefire over Eid and many Afghans — exhausted by decades of war and violence — had pinned their hopes on another truce this year.

But Akhundzada said: "No one should expect us to pour cold water on the heated battlefronts of jihad or forget our 40-year sacrifices before reaching our objectives."

In a sign of Afghans' frustration with their country's seemingly unending conflict, a group of protestors have restarted a peace march that last year saw them walking across Afghanistan and into the capital Kabul.

Bismillah Watandost, a spokesman for the People's Peace Movement, told AFP on Saturday that about 30 people had started the walk late Thursday, heading from Lashkar Gah to Musa Qala in Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold.

"We will be marching 150 kilometres (93 miles). Some of our friends have blisters on their feet from wearing old shoes," Watandost said.

"This is our first peace march during the holy month of Ramadan, all of us are fasting." He said the group aims to express to the Taliban the pain and suffering of Afghans.

"Even if we are intimidated with death threats, we won't care about it," Watandost said.

On Friday, former president Hamid Karzai mistakenly declared the Taliban had announced a new ceasefire after hearing an old message the insurgents had put out last year.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-leader-indicates-no-ceasefire-anytime-soon/articleshow/69610159.cms

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Sri Lanka police chief blames president for failing to prevent Easter Sunday terror attacks

June 02, 2019

Sri Lanka's suspended police chief has petitioned the Supreme Court, accusing President Maithripala Sirisena of failing to prevent the Easter bombings that killed 258 people.

In a 20-page complaint, Inspector General Pujith Jayasundara disclosed serious communication gaps between intelligence agencies and security arms of the government, all which fall under Sirisena.

In the petition submitted to court last week and seen by AFPon Sunday, Jayasundara said the country's premier spy agency, the State Intelligence Service (SIS), ordered him last year to stop ongoing police investigations into suspected Islamist militants.

The SIS, which reports directly to Sirisena, wanted the police Terrorist Investigation Department to stop all inquiries into militant factions, including the National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ), which was blamed for the Easter Sunday bombings.

Jayasundara said the head of the SIS, Nilantha Jayawardena, did not take seriously the intelligence shared by neighbouring India which warned of an impending attack by the NTJ.

Jayasundara said despite the SIS not sharing information warnings with the police department, he had initiated action to alert his senior men, but he had no input from the main spy agency.

Sirisena suspended Jayasundara after he refused to accept responsibility for the deadly attacks. The Attorney General has asked for a full bench of the apex court to decide the case.

Jayasundara said he was offered a diplomatic post if he took the fall and stepped down, but he refused as he said he was not responsible for the catastrophic intelligence failure.

He said he had been sidelined by the president since a political rift between the President and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe emerged in October.

Jayasundara's petition came days after Sirisena publicly rebuked another intelligence official, Sisira Mendis, after he told a parliamentary panel that the Easter suicide bombings could have been avoided.

Mendis's testimony appeared to put Sirisena in a poor light by implying he had not held National Security Council meetings to review threats such as the attacks carried out by the militant Islamic State.

In a statement, Sirisena denied claims by Mendis that the country's highest security body had not met as often as it should have around the time of the attacks, which were blamed on Islamic State-backed militants.

Sirisena, who is also defence minister, said in a statement he held NSC meetings twice a week, contradicting Mendis who told parliament the last meeting was on February 19, more than two months before the April 21 bombings targeting three churches and three luxury hotels.

Sirisena said he met with the national police chief and his top brass 13 days before the Easter Sunday attacks and no officer raised warnings which had been relayed by India.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1486101/sri-lanka-police-chief-blames-president-for-failing-to-prevent-easter-sunday-terror-attacks

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Lack of future prompts Rohingya to flee Bangladesh

Md. Kamruzzaman

02.06.2019

Nineteen-year-old Mohammad Amin is one of the 54 Rohingya refugees who each paid 45,000 Bangladeshi taka ($532) to local traffickers to go to Malaysia earlier this month.

For three days and two nights they believed they were on a boat headed to Malaysia where they would be taken for a job.

They were instead left stranded on Narikel Jinjira, or Coconut Island, a remote coral islet of Bangladesh.

The 32 men and 22 women had to pay an additional 500 taka ($6) each for traffickers to take them back to makeshift camps in Cox Bazar.

The story illustrates the great lengths and financial difficulty Rohingya face as many try to flee the makeshift squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh.

“I have no future in Bangladesh. Here I am living just as like a prisoner depending on the mercy of others. I have no job, no properties here. I wanted to live as a human being in Malaysia. But I have been cheated,” Amin told Anadolu Agency.

The Rohingya, described by the U.N. as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Amnesty International says more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed to Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017. The number of persecuted in Bangladesh is greater than 1.1 million.

Nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces since Aug. 25, 2017, more than 34,000 have been thrown into fires, while north of 114,000 were beaten.

Another 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and greater than 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned and 113,000 others vandalized.

Authorities in Myanmar say Rohingya are illegal Bengalis and deprive them of citizenship rights under a controversial 1982 citizenship law.

But a commission led by the late former U.N. chief Kofi Annan that was created in 2016 by Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, criticized the law.

“Several aspects of the 1982 Citizenship Law are not in compliance with international standards and norm,” it said.

Nur Zahan lives in a congested room at the Kutupalong camp with her five daughters. Her husband was shot dead by the Myanmar army in the 2017 crackdown in Rakhine State and she is afraid of returning.

“We may be killed if we return home country, we are also not good here,” Zahan said. The lone consolation at the camp is that “we are survived and none is standing at my door with arms to kill us,” she said.

“I have no dream for me now, but I am worried about the future of my daughters. If I have any chance to shift to any other country, I must leave,” said Zahan the 45-year-old widow.

For Zahan, it’s fear of her daughters’ future. For Begum Bar, it’s her children getting a job that keeps her worried.

Bar fled Rakhine with her husband, their three daughters and two sons. Only a few days after they arrived in the crammed refugee camp in 2017 her husband died after a long and terrible journey to Cox’s Bazar.

“If any of my children go to Malaysia, he or she can earn more money and later we will have chance to shift there,” she said.

Frustration is also mounting among refugees over the illiteracy of a new generation.

The UN said last month almost half of the 540,000 Rohingya children are younger than 12 and are currently missing education altogether, while the remainder has access only to very limited schooling. “Only a handful of [Rohingya] teenage children are currently able to access any form of education or training," it said.

Nurul Amin, 21, hopes to continue her schooling that was interrupted at class 10. “I wish to go abroad if my luck is in favor of me and continue my study there. I am totally hopeless now about peaceful repatriation and our safety and dignity in Myanmar.”

But getting abroad will be a difficult task for Amin. Without proper documents and work permits, trial and imprisonment awaits.

But Ansar Ali told Anadolu Agency those problems do not last long. “Firstly, my brother was pushed behind bars [in Malaysia] and after 10 months he was released and provided with UN identity card. Now he is a construction worker on daily basis.” He makes 70 Malaysia’s ringgit ($17) per day.

A review of local and international media found in the first five months of 2019, at least 500 Rohingya refugees have been rescued by security forces fleeing or trafficking.

Government administrative chief of Cox’s Bazar district Mohammad Kamal Hossain said security forces, including coast guards, Border Guards of Bangladesh and police are on high alert against traffickers.

“They are trying to use the helplessness and frustrating state of the Rohingya refugees to entrap them,” Hossain told Anadolu Agency.

Dr. Chowdhury Abrar, an international relations professor at Dhaka University, told Anadolu Agency the day-by-day uncertainty is mounting for the peaceful repatriation of Rohingya refugees to their homeland with safety and dignity.

“Even in Bangladesh Rohingyas are not being treated as refugees, they are considered as illegal migrants. It means that there is no dream in front of Rohingya Muslims,” Abrar said.

“Frustration is rapidly gripping this persecuted people and they are now desperate to take any risk in the hope of better life elsewhere.”

Bangladesh's Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Mohammad Abul Kalam told Anadolu Agency that Bangladesh is trying its best to serve Rohingya refugees with limited resources.

“But without ensuring peaceful repatriation with safety and dignity, the growing frustration among them could not be redeemed,” Kalam said.

In November 2017, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to start repatriation within two months following talks between Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali.

But international concerns about safety and dignity issues the repatriation process has been delayed and there is no visible sign of starting in the near future.

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued three recommendations last September to the UN for solving the Rohingya crisis, including the abolition of discriminatory laws, policies and practices of Myanmar against Rohingya; creating conducive environment inside Myanmar for guaranteeing protection, rights and pathway to citizenship for all Rohingya and a fair trial of Myanmar’s atrocities in Rakhine in the light of the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission of the UN Human Rights Council.

Rohingya who spoke to Anadolu Agency, leaving Bangladesh for Malaysia or any other country would be a good option.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/lack-of-future-prompts-rohingya-to-flee-bangladesh/1495189

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Taliban militants killed; vehicle destroyed in Khost airstrikes

01 Jun 2019

The security forces carried out a series of airstrikes in south-eastern Khost province of Afghanistan killing at least 12 Taliban militants.

The informed military sources said the airstrike was carried ou tin Sabari district of the province.

Furthermore, the airstrikes destroyed a vehicle belonging to Taliban fighters, the informed military sources said Saturday.

“Strikes in Sabari district resulted in 12 Taliban fighters killed and destroyed 1 vehicle,” the sources added.

The anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding the airstrike so far.

The security situation in some districts of Khost province remains disputed. has deteriorated during the recent months.

Taliban militants are active in remote and restive areas of the province and often attempt to carry out terrorist related activities against the government and security institutions.

In the meantime, the Afghan forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism operations against both groups in this province.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-militants-killed-vehicle-destroyed-in-khost-airstrikes-03520/

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Afghan forces kill one of the dangerous group members of ISIS in Nangarhar

02 Jun 2019

The Afghan security forces have killed one of the dangerous group members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in Nangarhar province.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said the Special Forces of the Afghan Police killed a dangerous group member of ISIS during an operation.

The Special Conducted the operation in Chaparhar district of the province, the Ministry of Interior said.

The statement further added that the slain ISIS group member was involved in planning and conducting terrorist attacks in Nangarhar.

He was particularly involved behind some attacks in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital of Nangarhar province.

The anti-government armed elements including ISIS sympathizers have not commented regarding the killing of key ISIS group member so far.

This comes as the security situation in some districts of Nangarhar province has deteriorated during the recent years. Both Taliban and ISIS militants are active in remote and restive areas of the province.

The anti-government armed elements often attempt to carry out terrorist related activities in Jalalabad city and other parts of Nangarhar.

Meanwhile, the Afghan forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism operations against both groups in this province.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-kill-one-of-the-dangerous-group-members-of-isis-in-nangarhar-03526/

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Southeast Asia

 

Court allows notice to be published for interested parties to claim Najib’s assets

30 May 2019

KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 ― The High Court here today allowed the prosecution to publish a notice in the Gazette calling upon any third party with interest on the hundreds of bags of various brands and other property, including cash in various currencies, watches and 27 cars that were seized from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor,  their three children and 13 other individuals and companies.

Judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan made the decision after allowing the prosecution’s application, made under Section 56 and 61(2)  of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

“The court gives three months for the prosecution, as the applicant, to implement the process (of publishing the notice in the Gazette).

“As such, the court sets this August 30 for case management,” he said during today’s case management.

Upon publication of the notice in the Gazette, any third party who claims to have any interest in the property will be required to attend before the court, or through their lawyer, on a specified date to show cause as to why the property shall not be forfeited.

Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Fatnin Yusof informed the court that the 16th to 18th respondents, namely Kee Kok Thiam, Tan Vern Tact and Geh Choh Hun, had fled, hence making it impossible for the prosecution to hand over the cause papers to them.

“Therefore, the prosecution applied to publish the notice in the Gazette under Section 56 and 61(2) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001,” he added.

Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor Muhammad Saifuddin Hashim Musaimi, when met by reporters, said the prosecution needed time to publish the notice in the Gazette.

Last May 7, the Attorney-General’s Chambers filed a notice of forfeiture over hundreds of items including branded handbags and 27 vehicles seized from Najib, Rosmah Mansor, their three children and 13 individuals and companies.

The notice was filed at the Criminal High Court Registrar’s Office, here, and named the prosecution as the applicant with 18 individuals and companies as the respondents.

The respondents named are Najib, followed by Rosmah, Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, Nor Ashman  Razak Mohd Najib, Nooryana Najwa Mohd Najib, Mohd Kyizzad Mesran, Senijauhar Sdn Bhd, Aiman Ruslan, Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia, Yayasan Semesta, Yayasan Mustika Kasih, Rembulan Kembara Sdn  Bhd, Goh Gaik Ewe, Ng Chong Hwa, Lim Hwee Bin, Kee Kok Thiam, Tan Vern Tact and Geh Choh Hun as second to 18th respondents.

The application was filed on the grounds that the prosecution, acting under Section 56 (1) read together with Section 376 of the Criminal Procedure Code, was satisfied that the items seized between May 17, 2018 and March 11, 2019, were related to an offence under Section 4 (1) or as the result of illegal activities involving the respondents.

Among the valuables were 52 branded handbags, 10 watches and cash in different denominations ― RM537,000, Pound Sterling 2,700, Rupee Sri Lanka 2,870,000, old notes  Ringgit Malaysia RM187,750, Pound Sterling 320,500, Rupiah 13,177,00 US$100, Hryvnies (Ukraine) 376, Euro 20, France 50, South African 10 Rand, Singapore Dollar 40, Riyal 531, Philippines Peso 740 and new notes Ringgit Malaysia 21,150 which were seized on May 17, 2018 and on June 11, 2018,

Also seized on the same day were  four branded watches, 171 branded handbags and 27 pairs of expensive shoes while  40 luxury handbags  were confiscated on June 11, 2018.

Meanwhile, 27 Nissan Urvan vehicles were seized on August 2, 2018.

In addition, money amounting to more than RM18 million in several accounts at different banks, namely, the Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad, Al-Rajhi Bank Berhad, Malayan Banking Berhad, CIMB Bank Berhad, RHB Bank Berhad, Public Bank Berhad, AmBank Berhad and the Hong Leong Bank Berhad, was frozen between August 16, 2018 and March 11, 2019.

Also seized was a property in Tanjung Bungah, Penang, belonging to the 13th respondent on January 17 this year.

The prosecution also filed a similar motion against Obyu Holding Sdn Bhd as the sole respondent, for the High Court to publish a notice to summon any third party who claims to have any interest in  items seized from the company to come before the court on the date specified in the notice to show cause as to why these should  not be forfeited to the government.

Among items seized on May 17, 2018, include  11,990 pieces of jewellery, 401 watches, 16 pieces of watch accessories, 234 pairs of eyewear and 306 handbags while cash amounting to RM114,164,393.44 in various denominations was confiscated on January 31, 2019 .

A property in Kuala Lumpur district was also seized on November 1, 2018. ― Bernama

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/05/30/court-allows-notice-to-be-published-for-interested-parties-to-claim-najibs/1757910

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Salahuddin: Pakatan govt will defend constitution

01 June 2019

MUAR, June 1 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will continue to defend the Malay Rulers, the special rights of the Malays and the sovereignty of Islam even though there are racial, religious and political propaganda being shared via the Whatapps app, said Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) deputy president, Datuk Salahuddin Ayub.

He said the PH leadership had always stressed that the government would defend the sovereignty and fundamental principles enshrined in the Federal constitution.

“Do not listen to the lies and defamatory remarks being spread in Whatsapp groups alleging that the Government does not consider Islam, the Malays and the Malay Rulers as the foundation of our cause.

“Do not listen to these words, as a member of the Cabinet who took an oath before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, I hold loyalty to this country, and we will defend the Constitution with our lives,” he said at a breaking of the fast and Aidilfitri contribution ceremony organised by the Simpang Jeram Amanah division in Batu 3, Bakri, here today.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/06/01/salahuddin-pakatan-govt-will-defend-constitution/1758464

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India

 

Not halting ops in Valley during Ramzan helps rein in militancy

Jun 02, 2019

Shishir Gupta

Ignoring the demand of Valley- based political parties to halt counterterror operations during Ramzan has reaped dividends. Security forces have neutralised 23 local and foreign militants in Kashmir during this period, taking the number killed in the counterterror drive to more than 100 in 2019. This also resulted in largely peaceful congregations in the Valley during Jamat-ul-Vida, the last Friday before Eid next week.

Last year, due to the imposition of non-initiation of combat operations (NICO) in the Valley, only 11 militants were killed during the Ramzan month and that too on the Line of Control (LOC) in Kupwara and Handwara districts.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled out of its coalition government with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on June 19, 2018, after the Eid-ul-Fitr festival, citing increased violence and radicalisation in the Valley.

Although PDP leader, Mehbooba Mufti, wanted the Centre to declare NICO during Ramzan this year, the Narendra Modi government ignored the call and turned up the heat on militants in the Kashmir Valley. Until Friday, 23 terrorists had been killed by the security forces in the Ramzan period, including Zakir Musa of Al Qaeda affiliate Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind. Others were gunned down in Shopian, Pulwama, Avantipora, Sopore, Kulgam and Anantnag areas of the Valley.

All the encounters were conducted on the basis of human intelligence that originated from the ground, according to senior home ministry officials.

While the security forces expect more encounters with local and foreign militants in June due to a rise in infiltration during summer months, the situation in the Valley has improved as militant numbers have gone down.

With no let-up in counterterror operations, security forces have ensured that foreign terrorists do not have a chance to regroup and plan during the Ramzan month.

Although Muslims largely keep the peace during the pious month, Pakistan-based terror groups use a different interpretation to launch attacks against India both in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the hinterland.

The interpretation being that the crucial battle of Badr was fought by the Holy Prophet against the Quraish tribe of Mecca, which led to the rise of Islam in Saudi Arabia. Islamic radicalisers use this analogy to launch attacks against their enemies and hence some of the biggest terror attacks globally have taken place during the holy month.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/not-halting-ops-in-valley-during-ramzan-helps-rein-in-militancy/story-ZEDhEuyjSJ4qBdBJXhJh0J.html

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'Disgraced' Owaisi behind terrorism, anti-India slogans: Ayodhya priest

June 1, 2019

"Disgraced" people like Asaduddin Owaisi are responsible for terrorism, raising of anti-India slogans and bringing a bad name to Islam, Chhawani Temple priest Pramhans Das on Saturday said here.

"There are some disgraced people like Owaisi in the society who help extremism to grow. Aatankwadiyon ka agar kahin network milta hai to usme kahi na kahi usme Owaisi ka hath hai (Owisi is, somehow, responsible for the terrorism.) People like Owaisi are behind the raising of anti-India slogans. People like him bring a bad name to Islam," Das said.

He slammed Owaisi for his statement that Muslims need not fear by Modi returning to power and said that every citizen is respected in the country. "There was never. It seems Owaisi wants to say that Muslims lived in fear ever since," the priest said.

He said: "People like Owaisi live in the country but keep anti-India ideology. People should rescue themselves from these people."

AIMIM chief Owaisi had on Friday said Muslims are free to follow their faith and visit mosques and should not be worried about the BJP's return to power, as the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion to every citizen.

Full report at:

https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/disgraced-owaisi-behind-terrorism-anti-india-slogans-ayodhya-priest-119060100385_1.html

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Pakistani Officials Aggressively Turned Away Guests From Iftar Party: Indian Envoy

June 2, 2019

The guests and Indian diplomats, who were invited at an Iftar party organised by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, were aggressively turned away by Pakistani officials, Indian envoy to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria told ANI. Expressing regret for the inconvenience caused, Bisaria was quoted by ANI as saying, “We apologise to all our guests who were aggressively turned away from our Iftar yesterday. Such intimidation tactics are deeply disappointing.”

Bisaria added, “They not only violate basic norms of diplomatic conduct and civilised behaviour, but they are also counter-productive for our bilateral relations.”

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/pakistani-officials-harass-guests-at-iftar-hosted-by-indian-high-commission-envoy-ajay-bisaria-5760868/

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Jammu IGP admits presence of militants in Kishtwar district

June 1, 2019

The Jammu and Kashmir police Saturday admitted the presence of militants in Kishtwar district of Jammu region. The admission made by Inspector General of Police M K Sinha of Jammu Zone comes a day after two policemen were injured after their team came across militants in the remote of area of Marwah.

Police said that it has tasked its anti-terror Special Operation Group (SOG) to track and neutralise militants in the area, news agency PTI reported. Earlier in May, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Ranbir Singh had also ruled out the presence of militants in Kishtwar belt.

The encounter between militants and police in the hilly district came after nearly seven years. The last counter-insurgency operation was carried there on December 23, 2012.

Sinha said there are reports about eight militants being active in the vast area of the district and the SOG has been activated to neutralise them. “We have activated SoG in Kishtwar after the terror incidents took place,” he said.

The district in recent times has seen an increase in incidents of terrorism. An RSS functionary Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO Rajinder Kumar were shot dead by militants in broad daylight, inside the state government-run district hospital, on April 9 this year.

Prior to this, militants had gunned down BJP state secretary Anil Parihar and his elder brother Ajit Parihar, when they were on their way to home in the town on November 10.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/jammu-kashmir-kishtwar-police-militants-5760516/

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J-K: Two policemen injured in encounter in Kishtwar district

June 1, 2019

Two policemen were injured after a team of Jammu and Kashmir Police on Friday came across some militants in the remote Marwah area of Kishtwar district, Jammu and Kashmir.

The encounter was in progress and more reinforcements were rushed to the area, said Inspector General of Police for Jammu zone M K Sinha. However, it cannot be said that the militants engaged in the encounter were the same group involved in recent killings in Kishtwar, he added.

Sources said the encounter between militants and police in the hilly district came after nearly seven years. The last counter-insurgency operation was carried there on December 23, 2012. This followed a combing operation by the police and security forces in the forests. This operation has been ongoing for the past few months to flush out militants involved in the killing of a senior BJP leader and a RSS functionary.

An RSS functionary Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO Rajinder Kumar were shot dead by militants at broad daylight, inside the state government-run district hospital, on April 9 this year. Prior to this, militants had gunned down BJP state secretary Anil Parihar and his elder brother Ajit Parihar, when they were on their way to home in the town on November 10.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/j-k-two-policemen-injured-in-encounter-in-kishtwar-district-5758141/

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One Pakistani national among two terrorists killed in Pulwama encounter: Police

June 1, 2019

One of the two terrorists killed in an encounter with security forces in Pulwama district on Friday was a Pakistani and the duo belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit, police said on Saturday.

Four terrorists and an “active associate” were killed Friday in two encounters with security forces in Shopian and Pulwama districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

One of the militants killed in the encounter at Midoora in Awantipora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district has been identified as Yawar Ahmad Najar, a resident of Darganie Gund Tral while the other has been identified as Pakistani code named Umar, a police spokesman said.

He said both the ultras as per police records were affiliated with proscribed terror outfit JeM and were wanted in a series of terror crimes including attack on security establishments in the area and many other civilian atrocities.

“As per the records available with police, they were involved in series of terror attacks in Tral and Awantipora area including killing of civilian at Reshipora Tral on 18th March this year, firing on security forces at Zaji Kurd Lalpora forests on 7th April this year, attack on security forces at Sofigund forest on 9th April, attack on civilian at Nowpora Awantipora on 29th March, IED explosion at Amlar Tral road during the intervening night of 2/3 March 2019. Several terror crime cases were registered against them,” he said.

The spokesperson said incriminating material including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of the encounter and all such materials have been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other terror crimes.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/one-pakistani-national-among-two-terrorists-killed-in-pulwama-encounter-police-5760042/

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Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi slams Owaisi for ‘Muslims can visit mosques’ remark

June 1, 2019

BJP’s Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi hit out at AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi Saturday accusing the latter of keeping the nation’s minorities as tenants and not stakeholders.

The BJP leader was quoted by ANI as saying, “Yeh jo secularism ke siyaasi soorma hain, inhone desh ke alpsankhyako, vishesh taur se musalmaano ko kirayedaar bana rakha tha, hissedaar nahi banaya tha. Modi ji ne desh ke 130 crore logon ko vikas ka hissedaar banaya (These people who are the champions of politics of secularism, had kept the country’s minorities, especially Muslims, as tenants and not as stakeholders. PM Modi made the 130 crore people of the country stakeholders in development).”

The Andhra MP had on Friday said that the country’s Muslims should not worry about BJP’s return to power and that the Constitution of India gives its citizens the freedom of religion. He said, “India’s law, Constitution gives us this permission that we follow our religion,” at a gathering in Hyderabad’s Makkah Masjid, as per a PTI report.

Owaisi added that if PM Modi can go to temples and sit in a cave then Muslims can proudly pray in mosques too. “If Modi can visit a temple we can visit our mosques, if Modi can go sit in a cave, we Muslims can also proudly say our prayers in mosques. Securing more than 300 seats is not a huge thing, Because India has a living Constitution. The 300 seats of the BJP cannot take away our rights,” he said.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/bjp-minister-mukhtar-abbas-naqvi-slams-owaisi-for-muslims-can-visit-mosques-comment-5760310/

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North America

 

Deadliest Recent Mass Shootings In The US State Of Virginia, 12 Killed

June 1, 2019

PARIS: Twelve people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a government building complex in the US state of Virginia on Friday. Here are of some of the deadliest recent mass shootings in the United States:

A 64-year-old retired accountant shoots down from his hotel room in Las Vegas at a crowd attending an outdoor country music concert on Oct 1, 2017, killing 58 people and wounding around 550 before committing suicide. It is the worst mass shooting in modern US history.

A heavily-armed gunman opens fire inside a gay nightclub in the city of Orlando on June 12, 2016, killing 49 people. The attacker is killed in a shootout with police. He pledges allegiance to the Islamic State group, which later claims responsibility.

A 20-year-old man kills his mother in Newtown, Connecticut, in Dec 2012 before blasting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and shooting dead 20 6- and 7-year old children and six women. He commits suicide.

A 26-year-old man who was court-martialed while in the Air Force shoots dead 25 worshippers during Sunday services and wounds at least 20 others at a Baptist church in the small rural community of Sutherland Springs outside San Antonio, Texas, on Nov 5, 2017. The shooter flees and is later found dead in his car with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A 19-year-old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who was expelled for disciplinary reasons returns to the school in Parkland, Florida, and opens fire on Feb 14, 2018, killing 14 students and three adult staff members.

A radicalised Muslim couple storm a Christmas office party at a social services centre in San Bernardino in Dec 2015 and gun down 14 people, wounding 22 others. They are shot dead by police.

On Nov 7, 2018 a 28-year-old US Marine Corps combat veteran opens fire in a crowded country music bar in California, killing 12 people. The assailant, identified as Ian David Long, a troubled former machine gunner who served a tour in Afghanistan, dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A young man wearing body armour opens fire in a movie theatre showing a late-night premiere of a Batman film in Aurora, Colorado in July 2012. Twelve people are killed and 70 wounded. He is sentenced to life in prison.

On Oct 27, 2018, a 46-year-old gunman bursts into the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburg during Shabbat services, killing eleven people. He reportedly yells “All Jews must die!” during the attack. Robert Bowers, who was arrested at the shooting scene, is indicted on 29 counts, some of which carry the death penalty.

A 17-year-old student armed with a shotgun and a revolver opens fire just as classes are starting at his school in Santa Fe, Texas, on May 18, 2018, killing ten people including eight students. The student, who authorities say used weapons legally owned by his father, is taken into custody on murder charges.

https://www.nst.com.my/world/2019/06/493265/deadliest-recent-mass-shootings-united-states

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Iran will be top priority for Donald Trump as he embarks on UK state visit

June 1, 2019

Ahead of US President Donald Trump’s three-day state visit to the UK scheduled from Monday, John Bolton, his national security adviser, doubled down on Iran, saying the threat from Tehran was not over and that the country “will be held accountable”.

In turn, Alistair Burt, the UK’s former minister for the region, warned that America’s “hit them in the nuts first” diplomacy was putting the Middle East on a dangerous trajectory towards a regional war, at a time when British interests were in putting out rather than starting fires in the region.

Amidst a backdrop of soaring tensions with Iran and ongoing disagreements between the two allies, Mr Trump is expected to gleefully ride in the Queen’s golden carriage down the Mall on June 3 – as he specifically requested – and then enjoy a party in his honour at Buckingham Palace.

Middle East politics will be high up on the agenda as US and UK officials wine and dine, analysts say. The top priority for the Trump administration in this department will be to persuade the UK to put additional pressure on Iran, Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies in Washington, told The National.

“Without question the US sees Iran as its top threat in the Middle East and will be looking for help from its important transatlantic ally,” the analyst, whose arguments on the Iran nuclear deal and other policy matters in the Middle East have often been in line with those of Mr Trump, said.

While differences remain between the US and its allies over the Iran nuclear deal, Mr Schanzer argued that the overall assessment of Iran’s threat in the West “is more aligned now than it has been”. He said the president’s visit would offer the opportunity for policies to be "calibrated".

In May, the top British general in the US-led coalition against ISIS opened a rift between the United States and its closest ally after saying there was no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria – a blatant contradiction of US assertions used to justify a military build-up in the region.

The statement by Maj Gen Christopher Ghika, who is a deputy commander of Operation Inherent Resolve – the coalition conducting counter-terrorist operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria – drew a rebuke from the US State Department.

Britain's Ministry of Defence patched things up by issuing a statement that downplayed Maj Gen Ghika’s comment but avoided endorsing the American assessment of the threat level.

Unlike Mr Schanzer, who sees the statement as a sign of rapprochement, observers on the other side of the Atlantic see it as a reflection of the UK’s diplomatic dilemma: how to avoid jeopardising its single most important security relationship over growing differences on foreign policy.

Richard Whitman, associate fellow at Chatham House, told The National that “the default position of the UK is to avoid any instance in which it looks and feels like there is going to be a divide across the Atlantic and to try and mitigate that”.

Now, as disagreements between the two countries span from trade relations to foreign diplomacy, this is becoming increasingly difficult.

During Mr Trump's visit, the UK will therefore seek to avoid getting bogged down in the specifics of foreign policy matters and dodge any decision-making, Mr Whitman said, while playing up the idea that there is a broader special understanding between the two.

Indeed, the “special relationship”, as Winston Churchill called it after the Second World War, runs deeper than that between president and prime minister.

The UK retains a global military footprint which – although small in comparison to the US – remains of real value, and it has proven a reliable partner on intelligence-sharing and defence.

As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, it will also likely seek to further strengthen its rock-solid relationship with the US on defence-related matters. Discussions are also expected to focus on areas where agreement will be easier to find, including the fight against ISIS and how to deal with the continued presidency of Bashar Al Assad in Syria.

But with British Prime Minister Theresa May set to leave office a few days later, Mr Trump’s visit is likely to be void of decision-making and focused more on proving to the world that the transatlantic alliance is alive and well.

Indeed, a state visit is among the heaviest weapons in Britain’s diplomatic arsenal and was granted only to George W Bush and Barack Obama before Mr Trump.

Mr Whitman called this “the diplomacy of flattery”, an attempt to “offer something special just as a way of handling Trump and addressing his capriciousness”.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/the-americas/iran-will-be-top-priority-for-donald-trump-as-he-embarks-on-uk-state-visit-1.868998

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US heads to new talks with Taliban

1 June 2019

The US envoy negotiating with the Taliban will hold new talks this month with the insurgents in Qatar, the State Department said Saturday, as momentum builds for a deal to end America’s longest war.

Zalmay Khalilzad, a veteran US policymaker who is leading President Donald Trump’s push to broker a peace deal with the Taliban, left Friday on a 17-day trip that will also take him to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Germany, Belgium and the United Arab Emirates, the State Department said.

In Doha, he will resume talks with the Taliban after a break of around a month “to move the peace process forward,” the State Department said in a statement.

Khalilzad has already met six times with the Taliban in recent months as he looks to seal a deal under which the United States will pull out troops who were first deployed following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The United States and the Taliban are believed to have largely agreed on the key demand of Washington from 2001 and again now -- that the Taliban not allow Afghanistan to be used by violent extremists.

But a major sticking point remains the refusal of the Taliban to negotiate with President Ashraf Ghani’s government, which enjoys international support.

The Taliban, believing they have leverage on the military front, have also rejected Ghani’s overtures for a nationwide ceasefire.

“No one should expect us to pour cold water on the heated battlefronts of jihad or forget our 40-year sacrifices before reaching our objectives,” Taliban chief Haibatullah Akhundzada said in a rare message released Saturday.

In Kabul, Khalilzad will meet representatives of civil society and women’s rights groups, which have been especially concerned about a larger role for the Taliban.

Khalilzad will “encourage all parties to work towards intra-Afghan negotiations that lead to a final peace settlement,” the State Department said.

Germany, another of Khalilzad’s stops, has voiced willingness to hold a meeting on peace in Afghanistan.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/06/01/US-heads-to-new-talks-with-Taliban-.html

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Afghan Taliban leader says no ceasefire as US envoy heads to region

June 01, 2019

The Afghan Taliban's leader said on Saturday the insurgents will not call a ceasefire any time soon, even as a US envoy was heading to the region for a fresh round of peace talks.

In a rare and defiant message ahead of what would be the seventh round of recent negotiations, Taliban chief Haibatullah Akhundzada boasted foreign forces in Afghanistan are “condemned to defeat” — but said the insurgents would continue talks with the US. The Taliban's fight “and resistance against the occupation is nearing the stage of success, Allah willing,” Akhundzada said in a message for Eidul Fitr, the upcoming festival at the end of the holy month of Ramazan.

The insurgents, believing they have major leverage on the military front, have rejected widespread calls for a ceasefire.

“No one should expect us to pour cold water on the heated battlefronts of jihad or forget our 40-year sacrifices before reaching our objectives,” said Akhundzada, who has led the militants since his predecessor Akhtar Mansour was killed in a 2016 US drone strike.

Last year, the Taliban observed a three-day ceasefire over Eid and many Afghans — exhausted by decades of war and violence — had pinned their hopes on another truce this year.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had proposed a nationwide ceasefire at the start of Ramazan early last month, but the Taliban rejected the offer.

In Washington, the State Department said Zalmay Khalilzad — the Afghan-born US diplomat tasked with trying to bring America's longest war to an end — on Friday left for a 17-day trip to Qatar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Germany, Belgium and the United Arab Emirates.

Khalilzad took to Twitter to say he believes the peace process is progressing, even though the last round of talks ended with the two sides at apparent loggerheads over when the US might pull its troops from Afghanistan.

“We've made substantial progress over the last month. On this trip, I want to take that momentum and accelerate the #AfghanPeaceProcess”, he wrote.

Khalilzad added that he was optimistic about talks, and called for parties to show “flexibility”.

He will speak with the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha, where the two sides have repeatedly met.

Peace walk

Despite some progress, with both sides believed to have agreed on various aspects of a proposed deal, violence between the Taliban and US-backed Afghan government forces has continued unabated.

A major sticking point remains the refusal of the Taliban to negotiate with Ghani's government, which enjoys international support.

Khalilzad will start his trip in Pakistan which has facilitated talks with the Taliban.

In Kabul, he will meet representatives of civil society and women's rights groups, which have been especially concerned about a future Afghanistan with the Taliban at the helm.

Take a look | 'We never want to go back': Afghan women fear cost of peace under Taliban

In a sign of the Afghans' frustration with their country's seemingly unending conflict, a group of protestors have restarted a peace march that last year saw them walking across Afghanistan and into the capital Kabul.

Bismillah Watandost, a spokesman for the People's Peace Movement, told AFP on Saturday that about 30 people had started the walk late Thursday, heading from Lashkar Gah to Musa Qala in Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold.

“We will be marching 150 kilometres (93 miles). Some of our friends have blisters on their feet from wearing old shoes,” Watandost said.

“This is our first peace march during the holy month of Ramazan. All of us are fasting.” He said the group aims to express to the Taliban the pain and suffering of Afghans.

“Even if we are intimidated with death threats, we won't care about it,” Watandost said.

On Friday, former president Hamid Karzai mistakenly declared the Taliban had announced a new ceasefire after hearing an old message the insurgents had put out last year.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1485923/afghan-taliban-leader-says-no-ceasefire-as-us-envoy-heads-to-region

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Top Iranian military aide: US vessels in the Gulf within range of our missiles

2 June 2019

US military vessels in the Gulf are within the range of Iranian missiles, a top military aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday, warning any clash between the two countries would push oil prices above $100 a barrel.

Iran and the United States have been drawn into starker confrontation in the past month, a year after Washington pulled out of a deal between Iran and global powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in return for lifting international sanctions.

Washington re-imposed sanctions last year and ratcheted them up in May, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil. In recent weeks it has also hinted at military confrontation, saying it was sending extra forces to the Middle East to respond to an Iranian threat.

Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military aide to Khamenei, said: “The Americans are fully aware that their military forces (in the region) are within the Iran’s missile range and all US and foreigners’ navy in the Persian Gulf are within the range of land-to-sea missiles of the Revolutionary Guards.”

“The first bullet fired in the Persian Gulf will push oil prices above $100. This would be unbearable to America, Europe and the US allies like Japan and South Korea,” Rahim Safavi was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/06/02/Top-Iranian-military-aide-US-vessels-in-the-Gulf-within-range-of-our-missiles.html

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Japan PM to meet Iran’s Khamenei to mediate with US: report

2 June 2019

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei later this month with Tokyo hoping to mediate between Washington and Tehran, a report said Sunday.

As tensions intensify between Iran and Japan’s key ally the United States, Abe has reportedly proposed serving as a go-between and is said to be weighing up a state visit to Iran.

According to the Mainichi Shimbun report, Abe’s planned meeting with influential Khamenei will be the first such talks between a Japanese premier and Tehran’s supreme leader.

US President Donald Trump said last week he remained open to talks with Tehran during his state visit to Tokyo, appearing to have given the green light to Abe’s plan.

Abe will also meet Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani before meeting Khamenei during his tour to Iran from June 12 to 14, the newspaper said, citing unnamed government sources.

Before Trump flew to Japan, the United States had announced it was sending 1,500 extra troops to the region, adding to the aircraft carrier group and nuclear-capable bomber planes already dispatched.

Trump himself threatened “the official end” of the country if Tehran ever attacked US interests.

But last Monday in Tokyo, Trump offered assurances that he can live with the Islamic republic’s government, whose toppling has long been a dream for Washington hardliners.

“We’re not looking for regime change,” Trump said, explaining that he only cared about Iran not achieving nuclear power status.

“I do believe that Iran would like to talk, and if they’d like to talk, we’d like to talk also,” Trump added, striking a relatively dovish tone on Iran.

Khamenei has likened negotiations with the Trump administration to “poison” since “they don’t stand by anything”, referring to Washington’s withdrawal from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal signed by Tehran and world powers.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/06/02/Japan-PM-to-meet-Iran-s-Khamenei-to-mediate-with-US-report.html

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Europe

 

Attack on Muslim cemetery shows rising Islamophobia: Expert

June 01 2019

A recent attack on a Muslim cemetery in Greece shows the rise of Islamophobia and racism both there and throughout the continent, according to an expert on the region.

A Muslim cemetery in the city of Alexandroupolis was found on May 28 to have suffered an attack by unknown assailants, who left behind damaged tombstones scrawled with racist slogans.

The city lies in Western Thrace, a region of Greece with a substantial ethnic Turkish population of about 150,000.

Nazi symbols and the logo of the Greek far-right political party, Golden Dawn, were spray-painted on the Muslim tombstones, and leaflets of the party littered the cemetery.

The Golden Dawn leaflets bore the slogan, “Greece belongs to the Greeks.”

“This kind of attack in Greece is not happening for the first time, and it will not be the last,” Ali Hüseyinoğlu of Trakya University's Balkan Research Institute, who hails from Western Thrace, told Anadolu Agency.

“This attack is a very good indicator and part of the rising Islamophobia and racism in Europe and Greece in recent years,” he explained.

Hüseyinoğlu said that through such racist Islamophobic attacks, people who hate Islam and Turks send the message that as they do not respect the remains of Muslims past, they do not respect Muslims at all.

"This attack targeted Muslim Turks and Islam in Western Thrace," said Hüseyinoğlu.

“This attack demonstrates the presence of those who are disturbed by the Muslim Turkish identity in Western Thrace,” he added.

It taking place in Alexandroupolis, a part of western Thrace “where pluralism and the culture of coexistence prevails is very significant,” he explained.

“The fact that people from different religions and ethnicities have been living side-by-side for centuries has been an important feature of Western Thrace.”

Hüseyinoğlu stressed that such attacks do not help the integration of the minority into the majority of society.

Hüseyinoğlu stressed that this attack was not an isolated event and it was probably organized.

Although when exactly the attack took place is not yet known, Hüseyinoğlu said its timing was deliberate and meaningful.

The attack was reported just after the last May 27s European Parliament (EP) elections in Greece, according to Hüseyinoğlu.

“It is important that the attack was carried out after the [European] election,” he said.

Underlining that in that election Greece's Friendship, Equality and Peace Party (FEP) won the support of ethnic Turks living in the country, Hüseyinoğlu said this attack may have carried out in response to the party's success.

The party got a plurality of support in Rhodopi and Xanthi, two provinces in the Western Thrace region with a sizeable Turkish minority, thus making the party win the first place at both Rhodopi and Xanthi prefectures.

No effective sanctions

Hüseyinoğlu underlined that senior Greek officials issued condemnations of such attacks rather than taking effective counter-measures so as to prevent such hate-motivated attacks. The Golden Dawn Party condemned the attack as well.

“To date, about 90% of Islamophobic and other hate-motivated attacks suspects have not been identified or arrested, while a large part of the arrested attackers have not been punished,” he said.

According to data from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), of 128 hate crime incidents recorded by Greek police in 2017, only 46 resulted in prosecutions, and a mere six resulted in sentences.

Decrying the lack of deterrents against Islamophobic attacks, Hüseyinoğlu said: “Such Islamophobic attacks are likely to continue because there are no effective sanctions or effective judicial mechanisms.”

Hüseyinoğlu also stressed that it is normal to have such attacks in a country like Greece, where even some of the top politicians and clergy do not hesitate to use Islamophobic rhetoric.

Far-right parties on rise across Europe

Underlining that on May 27 the Golden Dawn Party won two seats in the European Parliament, Hüseyinoğlu said: “The success of the far-right party in elections shows that ethnic nationalism, racism, and Islamophobia are prevalent in Greece.”

“The Golden Dawn Party is on rise, just as other Islamophobic, racist and anti-Turkish parties are on the rise across Europe.”

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/attack-on-muslim-cemetery-shows-rising-islamophobia-expert-143871

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Spain's Patriots may stay in Turkey for 6 more months

Tugrul Cam 

01.06.2019

Madrid is in a process of deciding the extension of Patriot air defense missiles in Turkey’s southern Adana province for the next six months, Spanish ambassador in Ankara said.

“Battery of Patriot missiles were deployed in Incirlik Airbase [in Adana province] at the request of Turkey through NATO. We are in the process of deciding extension for the next six months,” Juan Gonzalez-Barba told Anadolu Agency.

Spain’s Patriot air defense missiles were deployed in Adana in 2015. The missiles were deployed as part of Turkey's request for NATO assistance.

Gonzalez-Barba said that a total of 25 Spanish soldiers are currently operating in the NATO Command in Turkey's western city of Izmir.

He added Navantia -- a Spanish state-owned engineering and technology company -- was responsible for designing and constructing TCG Anadolu aircraft carrier.

Turkey's accession to EU

Spanish ambassador said the EU would gain after Turkey's accession.

"We think that not only Turkey but the EU would gain from such a newcomer, we believe Turkey has so much to offer to the EU," Gonzalez-Barba said.

"Turkey should be treated equally as the rest of [EU] candidates," he said, adding Turkey, for its part, also needed to meet some criteria.

He went on to say that he did not know when Turkey would make it to the union, however, "it will end success for all of us."

Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005.

However, negotiations stalled in 2007 due to objections by the Greek Cypriot administration on the divided island of Cyprus as well as opposition from Germany and France.

Friendly relations with Turkey

Gonzalez-Barba said Ankara and Madrid have been enjoying a friendly relationship, adding both counties shared historical ties that reflect on the present military, economic and cultural relations.

He said the bilateral trade volume between the two countries reached €13 billion ($14.6 billion) in 2018 and both countries had invested significantly towards each other.

The ambassador stressed that Spanish companies invested in strategic sectors such as banking. Spanish banking and finance company BBVA was a "major stakeholder" in Garanti Bank of Turkey, he noted.

In addition, Spain’s Inditex -- one of the world's largest fashion retailers -- and insurance company Mapfre operate in Turkey, improving countries' fiscal ties.

Cultural interaction

"I know that La Casa De Papel is very famous here in Turkey. I’ve just read that one big Spanish media group, Atresmedia, has bought the rights of five or six Turkish TV series after the success of first two that were screened for the last two years," the ambassador said.

He added Spain and Turkey also share cultural interaction through sports events, for instance, Turkish football player Arda Turan -- who won La Liga title with Atletico Madrid in 2014 -- became “one of the most famous Turkish figures after Suleiman the Magnificient for the Spanish public opinion.”

Historical ties

Gonzalez-Barba underlined that both countries have enjoyed positive relations dating back to centuries ago when the Spanish and Ottoman Empire hammered a peace treaty.

“We feel very close to Turkey, another Mediterranean country on the other side of the Mediterranean basin. Since two former empires, Spanish Empire and Ottoman Empire, signed peace agreement in 1782, for some 250 years, the relationships have been [based on] friendship," he said.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/spains-patriots-may-stay-in-turkey-for-6-more-months/1494810

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Africa

 

Libya sees renewed clashes after week-long hiatus

By Walid Abdullah 

01.06.2019

TRIPOLI

Armed clashes have been erupted between forces belong to the UN-recognized Government of National Accords (GNA) and those loyal to the Khalifa Haftar.

According to an Anadolu Agency correspondent, who is close to the scene, the armed clashes were renewed in the axes of Khallet al-Furjan, Ein Zara and Ramla -- south of the capital Tripoli -- as GNA forces launched an offensive to recapture the outdated Tripoli airport.

In the same context, the GNA forces said they continue to advance at the airport military front.

"The progress came after targeting pro-Haftar positions through heavy artillery," the GNA forces said in a Saturday statement.

On April 4, Haftar, who is affiliated with a rival government based in eastern Libya, launched a wide-ranging campaign to capture Tripoli.

After several weeks of fighting on Tripoli’s outskirts, however, Haftar's campaign has thus far failed to achieve its primary objective.

Nevertheless, Haftar’s forces remain deployed in several areas around the capital.

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a bloody NATO-backed uprising after four decades in power.

The oil-rich country has since seen the emergence of two rival seats of power: one in eastern Libya, with which Haftar is affiliated, and the Tripoli-based GNA, which enjoys UN recognition.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/libya-sees-renewed-clashes-after-week-long-hiatus/1494986

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One dead, 10 wounded as shots fired in Sudan capital

2 June 2019

One person was killed and 10 wounded in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Saturday when shots were fired near the site of a protest sit-in, a doctors' committee close to demonstrators said.

“After regular forces opened fire, there were casualties on Nile Street near the sit-in site,” the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said in a statement.

The committee did not specify which forces opened fire or identify those killed or wounded.

A man died “who was hit with live rounds in the head,” the committee said.

Soldiers and security forces blocked off the city's Nile Street on Saturday afternoon, while gunfire could be heard in the distance, an AFP reporter said. It was unclear who was firing.

The doctors' committee said three people were wounded by gunfire and most of the other casualties were hit with rifle butts and steel bars, without elaborating.

The military ousted president Omar al-Bashir in April after months of protests against his authoritarian rule.

Protesters have remained camped out in front of Khartoum's army headquarters to pressure the generals to yield power.

The latest violence comes after a man was shot dead on Thursday on Nile Street, a day after a woman was killed in the same area.

The latter death happened during a “clash with live fire that took place between the armed forces and uncontrolled elements from it,” according to the Sudanese Professionals Association which spearheaded anti-Bashir protests.

Negotiations between protest leaders and the ruling military council have broken down, as the two sides have failed to agree on whether a planned transitional body would be headed by a civilian or a military figure.

The Sudanese Professionals Association said on Saturday it had reason to believe the military council was “planning and working to end the peaceful sit-in at the headquarters with excessive force and violence.”

It said it held the military council responsible for “guaranteeing the safety of those at the sit-in”.

The military rulers did not immediately comment on the latest violence, but on Thursday warned that incidents on Nile Street threatened “public security and safety”.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/02/One-dead-10-wounded-as-shots-fired-in-Sudan-capital-.html

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Sudan recalls ambassador to Qatar for ‘consultations’

1 June 2019

Sudan’s ambassador to Qatar has returned to Khartoum for consultations, the foreign ministry said on Saturday, with the envoy set to fly back to Doha soon.

The diplomat was summoned “to Khartoum for consultations and...will leave to Doha in the coming hours” to resume his work, Sudan’s ministry said.

Earlier in the day, a spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry denied claims on social media the ambassador had been recalled and said it received official notification only that he was on “short leave.”

Sudan’s decision to summon its ambassador came after the country abruptly shut down the office of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera on Thursday without giving a reason.

The news channel, which regularly broadcasts footage of demonstrations that have taken place in Sudan since December, is funded by Doha, a close ally of former president Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan’s military in April ousted al-Bashir after months-long protests against his authoritarian, three-decade rule.

The ruling military council’s head Abdelfattah al-Burhan is currently in Saudi Arabia after travelling for a string of summits in the holy city of Mecca.

He has already visited Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

The deputy head of the council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also visited Riyadh in May and met Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia and allies including the UAE and Egypt, broke off diplomatic ties with Doha in 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism, which it denies.

Sudan’s generals, backed by key Arab powers, have resisted calls from African and Western governments to hand over the reins of power.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/01/Sudan-recalls-ambassador-to-Qatar-for-consultations-.html

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UN chief calls on Sudan to resume talks on power transfer

1 June 2019

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called on Sudan’s military rulers and protest groups to go back to the negotiating table and quickly reach a deal on handing over power to a civilian-led government.

Guterres said in a statement that the sides must “conclude the negotiations over the transfer of power to a civilian-led transitional authority as soon as possible.”

Negotiations between protesters and the military council have broken down over whether a planned transitional body would be headed by a civilian or a military figure.

The deadlock has raised fears that the military will seek to tighten its grip on power, crushing hopes of a democratic process in Sudan.

On Friday, hundreds of people rallied in support of Sudan’s military rulers in Khartoum.

The military council has ruled the country since the ouster of president Omar al-Bashir on April 11, after months of protests against his authoritarian rule.

Guterres called for the “utmost restraint” and stressed the importance of upholding human rights, including the right to freedom of assembly and of expression.

Sudanese authorities on Thursday shut down the Khartoum office of Qatari-owned Al Jazeera television and banned its journalists from reporting in the country.

Sudan’s generals, backed by key Arab powers, have resisted calls from African and Western governments to hand over the reins of power.

The head of the ruling military council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, paid a visit to Saudi Arabia this week following talks in Egypt last week.

On May 14, the protest leaders and the military reached a breakthrough by agreeing on a three-year transition period for transferring power to a civilian administration.

They also agreed that parliament be composed of 300 members for the transition, with around two-thirds from the protest alliance and the rest drawn from other political groups.

But negotiations were suspended the following day by the military, which demanded that demonstrators remove roadblocks following clashes in which five people were killed.

Talks resumed on May 19 but broke down the following day over disagreement on whether the military or a civilian should lead the transitional authority.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/06/01/UN-chief-calls-on-Sudan-to-resume-talks-on-power-transfer.html

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Eighteen hurt as two car blasts target Libya military unit

2 June 2019

At least 18 people were wounded in two car bomb explosions that targeted a military unit in Libya’s eastern coastal city of Derna, sending plumes of black smoke into the sky, a medical source and residents told Reuters early on Sunday.

Residents said the car bombs targeted a military unit called Bulahati belonging to the eastern forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in the city center.

“We heard the first explosion, but we thought it was fireworks, then we heard the second,” one resident told Reuters by telephone.

“We found people around the Bulahati military unit and there was huge black smoke in the sky,” another added. “We then discovered it was car bombs.”

Derna, once an extremist bastion, is about 292 km (182 miles) distant from Libya’s second city, Benghazi, and was declared to be under the complete control of Khalifa Haftar’s LNA in June 2018.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2019/06/02/Eighteen-hurt-as-two-car-blasts-target-Libya-military-unit-.html

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Tunisia stops rescued migrants from coming ashore

June 01, 2019

TUNIS: Tunisian authorities were on Saturday stopping 75 migrants saved at sea from coming ashore, according to a rights group and the captain of the ship which rescued them.

The migrants were adrift in international waters in a boat with a broken engine when an Egyptian tug boat brought them aboard, the captain said on condition of anonymity.

After notifying authorities in Italy and Malta, the crew headed for the southern Tunisian port of Zarzis where authorities refused to allow the ship to dock.

“We’re in a critical situation, we’re nearly 100 on board and we don’t have more than two days of supplies of water and food,” the captain told AFP by phone.

Tunisian rights organization FTDES said the regional governor demanded government support before accepting the migrants, following an increase in new arrivals from neighboring Libya in recent months.

Tunisian authorities did not respond to AFP’s requests for comment.

The crew of the tug boat rescued 64 Bangladeshis, nine Egyptians, one Moroccan and one Sudanese, who had departed from Zuwara in western Libya, according to FTDES.

Last month, around 60 migrants, most from Bangladesh, drowned off the coast of Tunisia after leaving Libya on a boat bound for Europe.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1505191/middle-east

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