Saturday, June 3, 2023




Iran says to form naval alliance with Gulf states to ensure regional stability

Iran's navy commander said his country and Saudi Arabia, as well as three other Gulf states, plan to form a naval alliance that will also include India and Pakistan, Iranian media reported on Saturday."The countries of the region have today realized that only cooperation with each other brings security to the area," Iran's navy commander Shahram Irani was quoted as saying.He did not elaborate on the shape of the alliance that he said would be formed soon.Iran has recently been trying to mend its strained ties with several Gulf Arab states.Saudi Arabia and Iran ended hostilityIn March, Saudi Arabia and Iran ended seven years of hostility under a China-mediated deal, stressing the need for regional stability and economic cooperation. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian meets with UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed in Cape Town, South Africa, June 2, 2023. (credit: IRAN'S FOREIGN MINISTRY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)Naval commander Irani said the states that will take part in the alliance also include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq, Pakistan, and India.Saudi Arabia's rapprochement with Iran has frustrated Israel's efforts to isolate Iran diplomatically.The UAE, which was the first Gulf Arab country to sign a normalization agreement with Israel in 2020, resumed formal relations with Iran last year.Bahrain and Morocco later joined the UAE in establishing ties with Israel.This past week, the United Arab Emirates announced that it withdrew from a US-led Middle East maritime security coalition two months ago.The Combined Maritime Forces is a 34-nation task force working on security, counter-terrorism and counter-piracy in the Red Sea and Gulf areas, which contain some of the world's most important shipping routes. It is headquartered in Bahrain alongside the US Navy's Fifth Fleet and Central Command."As a result of our ongoing evaluation of effective security cooperation with all partners, two months ago, the UAE withdrew its participation in the Combined Maritime Forces," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement carried by state news agency WAM.

UAE keeping rights activists in jail past end of sentences – UN document

The United Arab Emirates is arbitrarily detaining a dozen human rights activists who have already completed their prison terms, a UN document showed on Friday, urging the government to immediately release them and allow them to seek compensation.The document was released three weeks after relatives of the prisoners and rights activists said that over 50 people sentenced for plotting to overthrow the UAE government were being held months and years after their jail terms had ended.The dissidents are part of the so-called "UAE94" - a group of 94 lawyers, rights advocates and academics tried in 2013 and whose jail terms in the UAE - the Middle East's trade and tourism hub - began expiring in 2019.The UN document said 12 dissidents whose multi-year sentences had all expired since July 2019 were being held "on discriminatory grounds, owing to their status as human rights defenders and on the basis of their political or other opinion in seeking to hold the authorities to account."Their detention violates several articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, according to the opinion issued by issued by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.A United Arab Emirates police officer wears a smart helmet to check the temperature of workers during the outbreak of COVID-19 in Dubai on April 23, 2020. (credit: AHMED JADALLAH/REUTERS)"The appropriate remedy would be to release all the 12 individuals immediately and accord them an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law," it said.UAE officials neglect to respond to requests for comment, UN opinionsThe document said the UAE did not respond to the opinion within the 60-day limit.The UAE foreign ministry did not respond to Reuters requests for comment. UAE authorities have previously said allegations that prisoners were being held beyond the completion of their sentences were false and unsubstantiated.A list compiled by Emirates Detainees Advocacy Center (EDAC) seen earlier by Reuters showed 51 people being held beyond their terms in the UAE, which in November will host the COP28 climate conference.

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