Gulf in the News – January 31, 2014

‘Ice is breaking’ in Syria talks: UN mediator

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

“The ice is breaking, slowly, but it is breaking,” Brahimi told reporters after a fifth day of talks in Geneva, which both sides described as “positive.”

He acknowledged he did not expect “anything substantive” to come out of the initial round, which is set to conclude Friday.

But he stressed that simply getting the parties talking for the first time since the conflict erupted in March 2011 was an important step forward.

Iran rejects Obama boast on nuclear deal

Source: Sky News Australia (Read full story)

Iran has dismissed as ‘unrealistic and unconstructive’ comments by US President Barack Obama that international sanctions linked to its nuclear program had forced Tehran to the negotiating table.

‘The delusion of sanctions having an effect on Iran’s motivation for nuclear negotiations is based on a false narration of history,’ foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham was quoted as saying by state broadcaster IRIB.

Army-separatist clash kills four in south Yemen

Source: Gulf News (Read full story)

Two soldiers were among four people killed on Thursday when the army clashed with separatists in Daleh in south Yemen, sources on both sides said.

“Southern Movement activists ambushed an army vehicle at dawn with automatic fire, killing two soldiers,” a military source said.

Two attackers were killed and seven more wounded in a subsequent firefight, he added.

Kuwaiti MP proposed draft law to impose new rules on expatriates

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

Independent Shiite MP Abdullah Al-Tameemi yesterday proposed a draft law to impose tough new rules on expatriates limiting their stay to five years and requiring that the size of any foreign community should not exceed 10 percent of Kuwaitis, or a maximum of 124,000.

If accepted, the law would mean that hundreds of thousands of expatriates must leave Kuwait within three months, mostly Indians and Egyptians, the two largest communities in the country.

Qatar’s Islamic banks seen tapping debt capital markets more actively

Source: Gulf Times (Read full story)

Funding and liquidity requirements to comply with the incoming Basel III regulatory standard will move Qatar’s Islamic banks to tap debt capital markets more actively over the next few years and raise longer-term funding, Standard & Poor’s has said in a report.