Gulf in the News – February 7, 2014

Egypt’s army rebukes Kuwaiti report of El Sisi candidacy

Source: The National (Read full story)

Egypt’s army said today a Kuwaiti newspaper “misinterpreted” remarks by Field Marshal Abdel Fattah El Sisi in which he said he would run for president.   The army said he would announce such a decision only to the Egyptian people. Kuwait newspaper Al-Seyassah published an interview with Field Marshal El Sisi today in which he was quoted as saying he would run in the presidential election due to be held before mid-April.  

Iran prepared to modify Arak nuclear reactor

Source: The Peninsula (Read full story)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday responded to some comments made by the visiting United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, on aspects of the judicial and legal process.  “We regret that some comments of the Special Rapporteur were based on information from undisclosed sources and were consistent with the politically motivated campaign of certain groups to tarnish the reputation of the UAE …  Nonetheless, we will continue to engage constructively with the Special Rapporteur in carrying out her mandate and will carefully consider her report when it is issued,” said Dr Abdul Rahim Al Awadi, Assistant Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs.

MPs ask for changes to Gulf security pack – Panel passes law to naturalize 4,000 bedoons

Source: Times of Oman (Read full story)

The national assembly foreign relations committee yesterday discussed the controversial Gulf Security Pact with foreign, interior, and justice ministers as a number of MPs called for changes to the regional agreement. Kuwait has officially signed the Pact in Saudi Arabia last year but it only becomes effective after the national assembly ratifies it. … MP Abdulkareem Al-Kundari said that a number of MPs called for changes to the pact in order to become in line with the Kuwaiti constitution, but the government said that no changes can be introduced and the pact must be accepted or rejected in full.

OIC urges UNSC to help stop Israeli settlement expansions

Source: Kuwait News Agency (Read full story)

Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Ameen Madani on Thursday strongly condemned the recent Israeli decision to build 558 homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied city of Jerusalem.  “The Israeli settlement expansions are a fragrant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people and run counter to the relevant UN resolutions,” Madani said in a statement by the organization here.  “The Israeli decision jeopardizes the chances of peace-making between Israel and Palestine and the (US-conceived) vision for two-state solution.

Saudi ports handle 520m tons of goods annually

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Saudi seaports play a significant role in boosting the Kingdom’s economic progress and handle 520 million tons of goods and 12 million containers annually, said Transport Minister Jabara Al-Seraisry. They have a total of 220 wharfs, he added.  Addressing a ceremony marking the launch of about 60 projects worth SR2.31 billion in Yanbu by Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman, the minister said Saudi ports have been attracting international shipping lines.

Syrian rebels free hundreds in attack on prison

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

Thursday’s offensive began when a Chechen suicide bomber from the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front attacked the prison gates, according to the Observatory. Rebel fighters then managed to gain control of large parts of the compound. … Rebels have been besieging the prison, estimated to have 4,000 inmates, for almost a year. They have rammed suicide car bombs into the front gates twice, lobbed shells into the compound and battled frequently with the hundreds of guards and troops holed up inside.