What Mohammad Bin Zayed said to Trump at White House | Gulf News |

Shaikh Mohammad briefed the US President on the Libyan issue and the move taken by concerned parties during their latest meeting in Abu Dhabi.

The talk also touched on the efforts by the international community to combat violence, extremism and terrorist groups, among other issues of common interest.

Shaikh Mohammad stressed that the UAE and the US have strategic partnership and are allies for a long time as their relations are based on a long history of deeply-rooted ties in political, economic, military and security domains and are based on mutual respect and common interests and values.

“The UAE is always keen to develop its strategic relations with the US and taking them forward to greater heights, especially in view of their identical views over regional and international issues, foremost of which is the GCC security, Middle Eastern crises, fight against terrorism and threats posed to the security and stability on the global scale,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

Shaikh Mohammad, who is in Washington for a two-day visit to the US, is accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes Shaikh Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Ali Hammad Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary General of the Supreme National Security Council.

The delegation also includes Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority, Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the US, Mohammad Mubarak Al Mazroui, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, and Lieutenant General Eisa Saif Ablan Al Mazroui, Deputy Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces.


Rex Tillerson reaffirms US commitment to Syrian peace, rules out Assad in future government

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reaffirmed a commitment to reviving the Geneva peace process. He added that Washington sees no future for President Bashar Assad in Syria’s government.

Tillerson told reporters on Thursday that the reign of the Assad family was “coming to an end” after what he called a “fruitful” discussion with UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who later addressed the UN Security Council by videoconference.

“The US wants a whole and unified Syria with no role for Bashar Assad in the government,” Tillerson said. “The only issue is how that should be brought about.”

But Assad’s exit was not a “prerequisite” for the talks to start, Tillerson said.

No triumph for Tehran

Tillerson also said the Syrian government’s advances did not amount to a “triumph” for Iran, a key backer of Assad.

“I see Iran as a hanger-on,” Tillerson said. “Iran has not been successful; the Russian government has been more successful. We have had success. I don’t think that Iran should be given credit for the defeat of IS in Syria.”

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More below the fold …

EU under mounting pressure to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia | The Guardian |

The European Union is under mounting pressure from MEPs to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to the Gulf state’s bombing campaign in Yemen.

The leaders of four political groups in the European parliament have urged the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, to propose an EU arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, because of the devastating war in Yemen that has left nearly 20 million people in need of humanitarian aid.

In a letter to Mogherini, seen by the Guardian, the MEP leaders accuse the EU of flouting its own rules, by selling weapons to Saudi Arabia in defiance of a 2008 common code on military exports. Mogherini has the right to propose an arms embargo, but would need to win the backing of EU member states, including the UK, one of the biggest arms exporters to the Gulf kingdom.

The latest call for a ban would run into immediate opposition from the British defence secretary, Michael Fallon, who urged MPs on Wednesday not to criticise Saudi Arabia in the interests of a fighter jet deal.

The UN has described Yemen as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis: in September it agreed to send war crimes investigators to the devastated country to examine alleged human-rights violations committed by both sides during the two-and-a-half year civil war.

After Saudi Arabia launched a bombing campaign against the Houthi rebels in March 2015, at least 10,000 people were killed in the first 22 months of the conflict, the UN humanitarian office said, almost double other estimates. At least 2,100 people have died from cholera, while thousands more are being infected with the disease every week following the collapse of water supplies and sanitation.

Yemen’s Cholera Epidemic Hits 600,000, Confounding Expectations | Reuters |

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