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.

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Gulf in the News – January 30, 2014

Syria has shipped out less than 5 percent of chemical weapons

Source: Reuters (Read full story)

Syria has given up less than 5 percent of its chemical weapons arsenal and will miss next week’s deadline to send all toxic agents abroad for destruction, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The deliveries, in two shipments this month to the northern Syrian port of Latakia, totaled 4.1 percent of the roughly 1,300 tonnes of toxic agents reported by Damascus to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“It’s not enough and there is no sign of more,” one source briefed on the situation said.

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Gulf in the News – January 29, 2014

Qaradawi calls on Saudi to stop backing Egypt’s army regime

Source: The Peninsula (Read full story)

The prominent Qatari-based scholar Yousuf Al Qaradawi called on Saudi Arabia to stop backing Egypt’s military-dominated authorities, accusing them of using Saudi money to kill Egyptians protesting at the overthrow in July of an elected Islamist president.  Most US-aligned Gulf Arab monarchies, rattled by the rise of Islamists in the Middle East, were relieved when the Egyptian military stepped in to topple president Mohamed Mursi after mass protests against his rule. But Yousuf Al Qaradawi said the strong backing that Saudi Arabia had provided military-backed Egyptian authorities which had crushed Islamist opposition since Mursi’s removal was wrong and should be withdrawn.

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Gulf in the News – January 28, 2014

Interim Syria govt must be free of Assad regime: KSA

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

The Cabinet on Monday reiterated the Kingdom’s stance that Bashar Assad and his regime should not have any role in the interim Syrian government. It also denounced the terrorist bombings in Egypt.  The Cabinet, chaired by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, said the Geneva 2 conference should form the interim Syrian government, which should be allowed to work without any external interference.

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Gulf in the News – January 27, 2014

Widespread support for Sheikh Khalifa who is recovering from stroke

Source: The National (Read full story)

The international and local communities have expressed their support for the President, Sheikh Khalifa, in his recovery from a stroke.   …  Sheikh Mohammed assured [well-wishers that] Sheikh Khalifa was in a stable condition and thanked them for their concerns.

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Gulf in the News – January 24, 2014

Assad regime threatens to withdraw from Syria peace talks

Source: The National (Read full story)

Foreign Minister Walid Al Muallem has told UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi “that should serious sessions fail to take place by tomorrow, the official Syrian delegation will leave Geneva”.

The regime accused the opposition National Coalition of being “not serious and not ready” for the talks, which opened on Wednesday.

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Gulf in the News – January 23, 2014

Syria peace talks stuck over Assad’s future

Source: Al Jazeera English (Read full story)

Wednesday’s meeting at an hotel in the lakeside city exposed sharply differing views on forcing out Assad both between the government and opposition, and among the foreign powers which fear that the conflict is spilling beyond Syria and encouraging sectarian violence abroad.

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Gulf in the News – January 22, 2014

Saudi Arabia: Foreign fighters must leave Syria

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Speaking at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Abdullah Al-Moallemi, the Kingdom’s permanent ambassador to the UN, slammed the UN Security Council for not issuing a statement condemning grave human rights violations in Syria.

He said the presence of foreign fighters in Syria was dangerous for the country. He called on the international community, led by influential countries, to pressure Assad’s government to stop its crimes against humanity.

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