Tag Archives: Jordan

News update 27|5|2021

Newsroom24x7 Network

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivering the keynote address on the occasion of virtual Vesak Global Celebrations on Buddha Purnima, in New Delhi on May 26, 2021.

INDIA

WORLD

US State Secretary Antony Blinken meeting with Egyptian President Sisi on Wednesday 26 May. He conveyed President Biden’s appreciation for Egypt’s critical mediation efforts in support of a ceasefire and affirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt.

Further Strengthening the COVID-19 vaccine rollout through primary care in Australia

Victoria starts vaccination for those in age group 40-49 yrs from Thursday 27 May.
According to available reports, the Covid variant that’s afflicted people in India has also entered Australia and the State of Victoria is now on 7 day full lockdown.

  • Community pharmacies in selected rural and regional areas will be activated to support Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout out. Read more

India will do everything to fight terrorism: Modi to Arab leaders

Newsroom24x7 Network

Abu Dhabi: In the third leg of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to four Arab countries -Jordan, Palestine, Oman and UAE, in three days i.e. 10, 11 and 12 February, India’s Foreign Secretar Vijay Gokhale said here on February 10 that the PM sees this as a visit to an extended maritime neighborhood and the key priority in our external relations in terms of engagement with the Gulf countries.

These are multi-faceted partnerships, these are partnership in which we are adding new pillars. We of course have a very active and important diaspora in many of the Arab countries but to that pillar of diaspora we are adding an energy pillar, we are adding an economic pillar and that has been the agenda of this government when it has dealt with the Arab world and with the Gulf in general, Gokhale said.

Beginning with Prime Minister’s transit visit to Jordan, Gokhale said that Exceptional courtesies were extended to him by His Majesty the King of Jordan. The King received him at his residence. It is usually the practice of the King to receive visiting prime ministers at the office but in this case an exception was made, our Prime Minister was received at the Royal Residence on a Friday and the King provided his own helicopter to the Prime Minister for making the visit today to Palestine.

This was the first visit to Jordan by a Prime Minister since Rajeev Gandhi made a visit in 1988, so it has been three decades since an Indian Prime Minister visited Jordan and the King of Jordan, King Abdullah II described this as the beginning of a new chapter in our ties as a relationship with great potential in every field from economic to defence and as you perhaps already know our President has invited His Majesty the King of Jordan to make a State visit to India from February 27 for three days and the Prime Minister said he was looking forward to the visit by the King of Jordan. During that visit we will discuss several issues relating to how we could take that relationship forward and fulfill the potential which the King of Jordan felt was something that we could look forward to in the relationship.

February 10 morning the Prime Minister made a State visit to Palestine. This was a historic visit in every sense. During the term of this government the President of India has made first ever visit to Palestine in 2015. President Mahmoud Abbas made an official visit to India in May 2017 and this is now first time ever that the Prime Minister of India is making a visit to Palestine in 2018 and as you know it is a stand-alone visit.

The three visits taken together, reflects the government of India’s commitment to the cause of Palestine and the Prime Minister himself was very pleased to make this visit. He was very warmly received by President Mahmoud Abbas and his government. He paid his respects at the memorial of the Mausoleum of the late President Yasser Arafat. He toured the museum and then there was a very productive round of discussion followed by several MoUs.

The PM was given the highest civilian award that the State of Palestine gives and Prime Minister Modi when speaking at the Press conference subsequently said that he was accepting this award on behalf of all the 1.25 billion Indians and on behalf of all the citizens of India he expressed appreciation to the state of Palestine for giving him this award.

The talks with President Abbas were very fruitful. They spoke about a number of issues. As you can well imagine the President of Palestine spoke about peace process, spoke about latest developments in that regard and the Prime Minister assured President Mahmoud Abbas that India stood by Palestine and that India was ready to assist in whatever way it could in the development of Palestine, in building up Palestine and he spoke the need for optimism and hope for the Palestinian people.

Six MoUs were signed and the cumulative value of them is approximately $40 million and this was highly appreciated by the President and his team. The Palestinian authority has thanked India for on-going projects. We have technology park which is in the process of being built, we have also earlier supported the construction of a Diplomatic Academy and this time too especially new projects that I would like to bring to your attention include a specialty 100 bed hospital that we would be building in Palestine and also Women’s Empowerment Center where women from various parts of Palestine can come and learn skills. So these are two particularly interesting projects we are doing, we are also constructing or renovating some schools. We are also going to supply machinery to the national printing press of Palestine.

In what was rather unusual day our Prime Minister sort of maximizing the time that is available to him has done two State visits so we had a State visit of Palestine in the morning and then we had a State visit of United Arab Emirates in the evening and at the end in the UAE the Prime Minister had received exceptional courtesies, I will request our Ambassador also to speak in some detail about that.

His Highness the Crown Prince of the UAE and Abu Dhabi as well as members of the Royal family were present at the airport collectively to receive the Prime Minister and that is a great honor as you would all agree. This was also the first ever occasion in which a Head of State of government has been received in the new palace that has been build and that too is an exceptional honor and that to our Prime Minister.

A number of agreements were signed and our Ambassador will talk about it. I will just end by saying that the Crown Prince described the Prime Minister as a friend. He said that Abu Dhabi was his second home but what was particularly noteworthy is that on more than one occasion that the contribution of Indians in the UAE in building the nation is something which every citizen of Abu Dhabi appreciates that the Indians with their trustworthiness, with their hard work have built this country and that the Indian community is a community that can be trusted, the word he used was, we can trust Indians.

Prime Minister Modi said that Indians have contributed to the building of Abu Dhabi, to the economy of the UAE, he was very happy that Indians have a good image here and he assured that we would continue to work together with Abu Dhabi and that Indians would continue to work here to build Abu Dhabi. So with these few words, I would request our Ambassador to also add something about the visit to Abu Dhabi and tomorrow’s forthcoming program of Dubai as well. Thank you.

Ambassador of India to Abu Dhabi Navneet Suri further said that the single most important agreement that was signed that day and which really reflects a change in our energy relationship with UAE was that a consortium of Indian companies lead by OVL (ONGC Videsh Limited) including IOC and BPRL was signed the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). It was signed by His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jabbar, Minister of State and CEO of ADNOC from the UAE and side and by Shashi Shekhar, the Chairman and Managing Director of ONGC.

Under this agreement under the Lower Zakum field which is a major producing field just off the Abu Dhabi coast, we are getting a 10 percent concession in that. There was a total 40 percent stake available and 10 percent concession agreement has been signed today. This is important because this is the first time ever that an Indian consortium, and Indian company has received an oil concession anywhere in the Gulf. It means that for almost 40 years, it is a 40 years concession, we will receive about 2.2 million tons of oil per year so both in terms of our energy security and in terms of the signal that in a very competitive field, with a number of oil majors, there were companies from all over the world, the first concession agreement has been signed between ADNOC and India and it truly reflects the transformation in the relationship.

Earlier that morning was also signed an amended agreement that implements India’s first ever strategic petroleum reserve in Mangalore. These caverns have been established and six million ton barrels of Abu Dhabi oil from ADNOC will soon start flowing as the first strategic petroleum reserve that India helped in establishing and there will be more to follow but again between these two agreements, one finalized in the morning and the other one in the evening in the presence of the leaders really demonstrates to you the qualitatively different nature of this relationship.

Other agreements that were signed, there was an important agreement, which is in manpower cooperation because with 3.3 million Indians here, 70 percent of them blue collar, obviously concerns related to our working class are of great concerns to us and under this agreement we will have much more closer cooperation with the relevant authorities.

The third is a very forward looking agreement between the Ministry of Railways in India and the Department of Federal Road and Transport Authority and it was signed by the Minister for Infrastructure and Dr. Abdullah. Etihad railways got major expansion plans and they are looking at India as a partner in terms of track, in terms of consultancy, in terms of rolling stuff etc.

The fourth important agreement was signed between DP World and Jammu & Kashmir government. DP World is one of the world’s largest logistics companies, they are the world’s third operator of ports, they had also recently announced that they have created a $3 billion fund together with National Infrastructure Investment Fund to invest in logistics and so this agreement between the Finance Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Mr. Haseeb and the Chairman of DP World was signed to establish an inland container terminal in Jammu.

The final one that was signed in the presence of leaders was an agreement between the Bombay Stock Exchange, the CEO of Bombay Stock Exchange was here and the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and again that provides a very important element in the financial architecture between the two countries.

There were two other agreement that have been finalized. One is a currency swap agreement where India and UAE, it is an agreement between two Central Banks and the agreement has been completed and it is going to be exchanged through letters and under this businesses from the two sides will be able to trade directly in Rupees and in AE Dirhams and not have to go through dollars which means that there is a saving for business community. It makes trade between the two countries more competitive.

And the final one which has been finalized and is going to be signed in the next three days is an agreement between the Financial Intelligence Unit which commits both countries to work more closely together in money laundering, in preventing money laundering that takes place.

There was also the signing of three agreements between private entities and Indian Institute Of Management, Ahmedabad announce that they are going to set their first overseas extension campus in UAE and that under the new parliament act they now have the ability to expand outside India.

The Manipal Institute announced that they are establishing their first Medical college in Dubai and work on that is beginning and finally the Dubai Multi-commodities Exchange is signing an agreement with a Nagpur based company called Crop Data and that is going to create 500 electronic trading platforms to enable farmers to sell their produce directly over those electronic trading platforms which eliminates middlemen and gets the farmer much more income directly into their hands. So those are some of the agreements that have been signed today. You would agree that it has been a fairly busy bouquet.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: Thank you Foreign Secretary, thank you Ambassador. We have time to take few questions.

On a question on the MoU that has been signed for better facilities for Indian workers and the observation by a journalist that when Prime Minister is on such important visits, there has been another terrorist attack that morning in Jammu & Kashmir and whether or not there was any discussions between Sheikh and the Prime Minister of terrorism and how to counter that Ambassador of India to Abu Dhabi Navneet Suri said the importance of the manpower MoU is that both the sides get a framework about the system or procedure that will be followed if a company shuts down here which has Indians employed in them. Will they get compensation, what will be procedure? Secondly, there has been this long standing wish that our e-migrate system integrates with their system. So lately there have been a lot of talks on this and in the manpower agreement it is also there that it would be better if could integrate our e-migrate system with their system because we want to stop the malpractice in which people would visit here on a tourist visa and then apply for a job or somebody will sponsor will offer them a job and after that they do not have access to any protection from our side, because they have come here privately.

But the people who come here through e-migrate, we have full information about them like what is the employment amount mentioned in the contract, because when we go to labour camps we have seen that there is contract of 2000 Dirhams, but in reality they are getting only 1200 Dirhams and nothing could be done about that, they could not even go to court because they have bogus contracts. So what we are trying to do is that we integrate with their courts, their labour laws and labour platforms after consulting with them so that the contract that are entered into are according to their format and which is also acceptable to them so that the malpractice of contract substitution can be stopped.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said as far as terrorism is concerned, there was a very long discussion with the King of Jordan. King of Jordan is known world over for starting the Aqaba process and for his substantial work on the issue of de-radicalization. Prime Minister congratulated him and both the leaders agreed that terrorism is a very big threat and we must face it together. On this issue our Prime Minister informed King of Jordan that very few fighters from India joined Daesh. Probably there is no other country in the world where there is such a huge population and so few of them have joined Daesh from that country and King of Jordan also appreciated the fact that after so many years there is a moderate society in India.

Since there was a terrorist attack in Jammu & Kashmir on 10th morning, hence this issue of terrorism also figured during the discussions with the President of Palestine. Our Prime Minister told that there are certain reasons behind it and he told President of Palestine that we want all of us to fight against terrorism. He said that whether it is the youth of Palestine or India or for that matter youth from all over the world, our aim should be that they do not get radicalized and we should try as far as possible to bring them to mainstream but as far as terrorism is concerned we have to fight that with whatever we have, with whatever capacities we have and Prime Minister explained that it is well known as to where such actions are emanating from and that India would take all the necessary measures to ensure that we are able to fight terrorism. So in both the places the Prime Minister did touch upon this issue.

Russia and the US working to launch a political process for peace in Syria

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Terrorist groups – Daesh and al-Qaida – continue to menace the Syrian people and the Syrian regime and opposition parties are on the brink of going back to a state of all-out war.‎ – US Secretary of State John Kerry

Aleppa bombingGeneva: Syrian warplanes targeted a funeral on Saturday morning in East Aleppo, killing many civilians who were mourning the deaths of at least a dozen people killed in barrel bombing earlier on Thursday. This was within hours after the US Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken to the international media about the Syrian crisis by pointing out that terrorist groups – Daesh and al-Qaida – continue to menace the Syrian people and the Syrian regime and opposition parties are on the brink of going back to a state of all-out war.‎
Kerry along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was addressing media-persons in Geneva on Friday, 26 August, 2016. Presenting the ground picture, he told journalists that Aleppo continues to be besieged and bombarded by the Assad regime and its allies, including Iran, Russia, and Hizballah. And the regime had that very day forced the surrender of Daraya after a brutal four years of the siege and continues to take territory in the Damascus suburbs. This, he said, ran counter to two iterations of a previously announced cessation of hostilities. To discuss this, Kerry said, he was in Geneva to meet his Russian counterpart.

All those who possess the special operation forces and other divisions of armed forces on the ground in Syria will have to realize that priorities need to be set, and choosing among those priorities I am confident no one will be able to turn a blind eye to the problem of terrorists, ISIL, and Jabhat al-Nusrah. – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Kery touched the emotional chord by drawing attention to the photograph of two young boys from Aleppo, one of whom died in the ambulance and how the entire world has been shaken by this image. It should motivate all of us to get the job done, to provide for a real ceasefire, and to meet the needs of the Syrian people, Kerry went on to observe.

The situation, Kerry stated, has dramatically deteriorated since the brief oasis of calm that followed the launch of the cessation of hostilities in February this year. Expressing satisfaction, Kerry said that Sergey Lavrov and he were able to work together with other colleagues in the international community through the International Syria Support Group and were able to cobble together the concept of the cessation of hostilities.

Kerry said: “Well into March of this year, Syrians had benefited from a degree of calm they had not experienced in years. For a period of time, the cessation of hostilities held. And the cessation – even flawed – became something of real value to them. For a brief moment, a brief instant, life changed in some communities. People sat in cafes. People went out and began to try to resume life again, but that was lost. And it was lost because of the lack of accountability and the inability to be able to deal with violations.

So as much as we have all seen a benefit to the humanitarian assistance that was delivered – some communities that hadn’t seen humanitarian assistance in years got it. More than a million people were able to be served with humanitarian assistance. And the cessation – even flawed – was valuable.”

Giving a narrative of what has been unfolding, Kerry said hat violations eventually became the norm rather than the exception. And the regime continually pressed its military objectives in key strategic locations, and continued indiscriminate aerial bombardment of densely populated areas with barrel bombs, and as the UN report points out, also chlorine.

Sergey Lavrov from Russia may dispute his narrative, Kerry said adding, he just laid out and attribute most of the regime actions to Nusrah. Obviously, there is illegitimate Nusrah activity and we are all opposed to that, said the US Secretary of State as he went on to assert that Nusrah has never been part of the cessation. The fact that people are going after Nusrah in some cases is true but in other cases it’s clearly, by virtue of the evidence of children and women and hospitals and other things, clearly not the case, observed Kerry.

Kerry informed media-persons that he and Sergey had reached anagreement in Moscow last month after discussions with Russian President Putin on a broad set of concrete steps to achieve a meaningful, lasting ceasefire. After that both sides – the US and Russia – have been engaged in a series of technical discussions primarily aimed at making cessation real, allowing for humanitarian assistance and getting the parties to the table for serious negotiations to end the war. Nevertheless, he went on point out that some narrow issues are still remaining that need to be resolved.

Kerry emphasised that the conflict in Syria will not end without a political solution. Once the narrow issues are resolveed, UN Special Envoy Staffen de Mistura will bring the parties to the table for a political transition.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov referred to Aleppo and said although we are focused mostly on Aleppo, we also touched upon the situation in Manbij, in Hasakah and many other parts of Syria. We also discussed the humanitarian situation in Iraq, in Yemen, where the international observers keep informing on the gravest humanitarian situation.

Lavrov said while discussing those gravest problems and sufferings of people we should adopt an approach not of journalists or people who express their emotions taking to one side or another, but rather as professionals, as diplomats, that together the military should find concrete solutions. Kerry’s visit to Moscow on 15 July was very useful and the basic principles that were agreed upon during their negotiations and reinstated during the meeting that took place between Kerry and Putin had been followed up in Geneva, he added.

Lavrov was forthcoming in telling journalists that they were going to work together with the parties – Russia with the government and the opposition that is cooperating with Russia and United States with the opposition that is cooperating with them, as well as with regional players. Both are going to do that together to remove all stumbling blocks on the way towards the compliance with the cessation of hostilities.

Stressing the problem, Lavrov said that the troops cooperating with the United States or under U.S.-led coalition are located on the territory where Jabhat al-Nusrah is located. Not only are they located there, sometimes they are cooperating with Jabhat al-Nusrah, and within the framework of their operations, without delineating adequate opposition from terrorists, I don’t think there would be a way to ensure actionable, durable, and full-fledged cessation of hostilities – our overarching priority, by the way. And I note with satisfaction that there is a current understanding regarding this task, and this understanding is become more clear. We talked about specific detailed steps. We have agreed upon almost all of those steps, but some final things need to be finalized, particularly regarding the ensuring the humanitarian access to the Syrian people who need it first and foremost in the Aleppo regions both in eastern and western parts of Aleppo.

Lavrov further said: “we have agreed to step up our bilateral contacts that have been put on hold over the last couple of weeks. I’m referring to the contacts between our representatives in Geneva which until recently took place on a daily basis. And I’m talking about the contacts between the Russian military base in Khmeimim and representatives of the American command located in Amman, the capital of Jordan. I believe that the day-to-day dialogue without any interruptions will be a key to addressing all the goals we are facing.”

The Political process, emphasised by Kerry, is our utmost priority Lavrov said adding to come closer to this priority, we are going to ensure the calming down of the situation on the ground so we would ensure improved humanitarian assistance being delivered. But here there can be no preliminary conditions. If we want to wait until the situation is 100 percent calm and only then proceed with the political process, I believe nothing could be achieved at all. All of the things are interconnected. Yes, indeed, reducing violence would be instrumental in bringing all the sides to the table. But in the same way, the launch of the negotiations would help reduce violence on the ground and be more efficient in having an influence on opposing sides both on the side of Russia and United States.

Answering apointed query about delinking the moderate opposition forces from terrorists Lavrov said: “we know that this task is very difficult because Jabhat al-Nusrah keeps transforming, changing names, coming up with new umbrellas under which they bring together various groups which aren’t formally part of Jabhat al-Nusrah.”

Lavrov went on to state that in Syria there are a number of countries represented through the military and armed forces on the ground. They entered Syria without the consent of the Syrian authorities. In the context of the Russian and Iranian troops, he said that the Iranian forces are on the ground upon the request of the Syrian authorities. And according to the balanced pragmatic approach, there are statements from Damascus according to which they are willing to cooperate with all those who want to fight against terrorism.

Lavrov was piercing as he stated that at the beginning some stakeholders planned to use their forces to weaken Assad’s regime, but now everyone understands that one cannot make these mistakes once again, as happened in Afghanistan and Iraq wherein similar attempts were made. The same took place in Libya, and right now we can see the echoes of it far from the territory of Libya.

The Russian Foreign Minister also emphasised that all those who possess the special operation forces and other divisions of armed forces on the ground in Syria will have to realize that priorities need to be set, and choosing among those priorities I am confident no one will be able to turn a blind eye to the problem of terrorists, ISIL, and Jabhat al-Nusrah.

On the Turkish presence on the Syrian ground, including the Kurds factor Lavrov said that together with his American colleagues he would like to confirm the need to promptly launch a political process with the participation of all the Syrian parties without any exceptions. The Kurds also should be involved in this process. They should remain part of the Syrian state, and they should be part of the solution rather than an actor that’s going to be used to atomize and fragment Syria that would also have a fallout effect in other areas of the region, and no one is interested in that.

World leaders condemn ISIL for the barbaric murder of Maaz al-Kasasbeh

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Moaz al-Kasasbeh

World leaders have joined in condemning ISIL for the barbaric murder of Jordan’s Maaz al-Kasasbeh, who was captured by IS gunmen when his F-16 fighter jet crashed near Raqqa, their stronghold in Syria, in December. He was on a mission to support the US-led airstrikes.

Moaz al-Kasasbeh
Moaz al-Kasasbeh

British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted a few hours ago stating that Lieutenant Moaz al-Kasasbeh’s “sickening murder will only strengthen our resolve to defeat ISIL. My prayers are with his family tonight.”

US President Barack Obama has also joined the people of Jordan in grieving the loss of First Lieutenant Moaz al-Kasasbeh. He was cruelly and brutally killed by ISIL terrorists, Mr. Obma has said in a statement adding “on behalf of the American people, I offer my deepest condolences to Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh’s family and loved ones, to the brave men and women of the Jordan Armed Forces, and to King Abdullah II and the people of Jordan.”

In Mr. Obama’s words: “Along with his compatriots and other Arab and international members of the coalition, Lieutenant al-Kasasbeh was in the vanguard of the effort to degrade and defeat the threat posed by ISIL. ….As we grieve together, we must stand united, respectful of his sacrifice to defeat this scourge. Today, the coalition fights for everyone who has suffered from ISIL’s inhumanity. It is their memory that invests us and our coalition partners with the undeterred resolve to see ISIL and its hateful ideology banished to the recesses of history.”

Meeting the King of Jordan King Abdullah II at the Naval Observatory, the US Vice President Joe Biden offered his condolences and condemned in the strongest possible terms the brutality and violence that ISIL has consistently shown to its captives and to the people of Iraq and Syria. The Vice President called for the release of all those held prisoner by ISIL. The Vice President also reinforced America’s ironclad support for Jordan and his appreciation of Jordan’s contributions to the coalition against ISIL.

King Abdullah II, talking to Jordanian TV in Washington said “It’s the duty of all of us to stand united and show the real values of Jordanians in the face of these hardships,”