Gulf in the News – February 27, 2014

UAE, Japan sign MoU on nuclear energy

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, on Wednesday witnessed the signing ceremony of a number of agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs).  The two sides signed the schedules on amending the Air Services Agreement between the UAE and Japan. The deal was signed by Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, and Fumio Kishida, Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.  The two foreign ministers also signed a MoU on the development of joint cooperation committee work between the UAE’s Ministry of Development and International Cooperation and Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Regional peace: KSA and India share joint vision

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Saudi Arabia and India have signed a historic pact in New Delhi to enhance cooperation in the defense sector, in the presence of Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, and Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari.  Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman of India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), told Arab News that Nizar Obaid Madani, Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, and Jitendra Singh, Indian minister of state for defense, signed the memorandum of understanding for defense cooperation.  The vice-president earlier received Crown Prince Salman as he arrived in India to a red carpet welcome.  Crown Prince Salman, who is on a three-day official visit to India, described the cooperation between the two countries as exemplary and fruitful.

Under US pressure, Iraq denies Iran arms deals

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

Iraq, facing heavy pressure from the United States, has denied signing deals for weapons and ammunition with Iran in apparent violation of international sanctions.  The defence ministry said a variety of international firms had sought to supply Iraq with ammunition and night vision equipment, including one company from Iran.  But contrary to media reports, “no contract was signed with the Iranian company”, the ministry said in a statement posted on its website on Tuesday.  Washington has piled pressure on Baghdad after reports that it had signed multiple deals for weapons, gear and ammunition emerged earlier this week.

Move to deter Bahrainis from fighting abroad

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that it has proposed an amendment to the anti-terror law. The ministry has prepared the draft to amend the provisions of the law to protect the community against terrorist acts and to further deter any citizen from committing acts of mass violence or join in fighting outside Bahrain.  The ministry will take all necessary steps to refer the amendment to the cabinet to put constitutional and legal measures in place, the statement said.

175 Syrian rebel fighters killed in an ambush

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

The attack was led by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which has joined the government in a increasingly sectarian conflict that is pulling in fighters from across the region and destabilising Syria’s neighbours, said activists.    Syrian state news agency Sana said most of those killed were Saudi, Qatari or Chechen nationals and belonged to Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front or Liwa Al Islam, a Salafist Jihadi group. …  The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Hezbollah carried out the ambush in cooperation with Syrian government forces. “Hezbollah was the main group that implemented the ambush,” said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Observatory…