President Michel Aoun on Monday started his first visit to Cairo since his election in October and held talks with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. “Hopes of the role that Egypt could play are high. An Egypt of moderation and openness… could launch an Arab rescue initiative based on a strategy to fight terrorism,” Aoun said at a joint press conference. The two sides “agreed on the need to stand together against the dangers of terrorism,” Sisi said, adding that Egypt was ready “to support the capabilities of Lebanon’s army and its various security bodies”. On Tuesday, Aoun will visit Jordan at the invitation of Jordanian King Abdullah II.
President Michel Aoun tried again today to justify the presence of Hezbollah arms in Lebanon , stressing that the Lebanese army is not strong enough to defend Lebanon. Aoun, a key all of the Iranian backed militant group also issued a personal guarantee that Hezbollah will not point its guns against the Lebanese people. “Hezbollah are the residents of the South and are among the Lebanese citizens whose land was occupied and part of the land is still occupied,” the president noted, emphasizing that “certainly Hezbollah’s arms do not contradict with the State and are an essential component of the means to defend Lebanon.” Aoun added: “We have a land occupied by Israel and when Israel usurps certain territory, it would be difficult to recapture it. This is how we must view Hezbollah’s weapons.”
On monday Iraqi Ministry of Trade announced that the trade exchange between Iraq and Iran has reached $6 billion in the last two years. Iraq exported goods worth $60 million to Iran in 2015 and 2016, according to the statement.“The annual rate of increase of the trade exchange between Iraq and Iran has reached more than $250 million,” the statement reported. “The rate continuously increases despite the oil price, which is low at international markets.”Trade and economic relations between Iraq and Iran have increased since 2003.
Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hossein Salami advised enemies to be respectful and careful when addressing the Iranian nation. He said: “The enemies had better speak to the proud, resistant and strong-minded nation of Iran with respect and caution”. Salami added that the massive turnout in rallies marking the Islamic Revolution anniversary on Friday demonstrated Iran’s greatness and might to the foes, especially the US. The remarks seem to be in reaction to US President Donald Trump’s recent comment about Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.
The generosity of Turkey regarding taking care of Syrian refugees should be matched by other countries, UN Chief Antonio Guterres said in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Friday. Guterres had high praise for Turkey’s efforts to deal with the millions of refugees pouring into its country. He stressed that Turkey is effectively handling the situation single-handedly at a time when other countries are closing their borders and walking away from responsibility. “This generosity should be matched,” he said of Turkey. “This is also a moment to launch an appeal – when we see so many borders being closed and when we see so many escaping their responsibilities-this is a moment to appeal for effective burden-sharing and to make sure that the integrity of the international refugee protection regime is maintained.” On Cyprus, he said the UN is in service to the two communities and the guarantor states stand ready to support a solution accepted by everyone. Prime Minister Yıldırım once gain urged the world to do its fair share to help solve problems in the region. Yıldırım said Turkey is hosting three million refugees without much support from other countries and the entire world is aware. “We want everybody to accept their responsibilities and not to be stingy on sharing burdens to end the problems in this region,” he said. Referring to Cyprus talks, Yıldırım said any new administration there should be just and the two communities, Turkish and Greek, must be equally represented.
During his first visit to Saudi Arabia, the UN Secretary General Guterres said “Saudi’s stability is a model for the pursuit of change and growth”. He also added that the cooperation between the Kingdom and the United States is key to fight terrorism. To what concern the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Guterres expressed the necessity that yemeni parties don’t take advantage of humanitarian aid. On the other hand Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Jubeir remembered the 70 agreements which the Kingdom made with Houthis and ex-President Saleh and that were never implement. Nevertheless the Kingdom will continue send humanitarian aid to Yemen.
North Korea fired a ballistic missile into waters off its east coast on sunday, the first provocation since the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The JCS said the missile was believed to be an ungraded version of the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), considering its speed. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is currently visiting the U.S., condemned the North’s missile launch in a hurriedly arranged joint news conference with Trump hours after the surprise provocation. Trump said he fully sides with Shinzo Abe in condemnation of the North, but fell short of disclosing how he would react to the North’s provocations.
Several Derna residents objected to the appointment of Brigadier General, Hamad Al-Shalwi, as mayor for the city, saying that there is a civilian council elected in the city.
Residents have confirmed that all oppose all orders given by the so-called military governor of the eastern region, Abdelraziq Al-Nathori, in particular the decision to appoint Al-Shalwi in Derna. “All the measures following the appointment is invalid, in particular the decision to freeze the bank accounts of Derna City.” Residents have explained, rejecting the decisions that may harm the security and sovereignty of the country. They stressed that support should be given to the City Council elected, urging all official authorities to cooperate with it in its work in the city. The Chief of Army Staff of Khalifa Haftar, Al-Nathori, who was appointed by the President of the HoR as military governor to the east, had issued several orders of dubious to dismiss elected mayors and replaced them with military men, and Derna a case in point.
Member of Tobruk-based House of Representatives Ibrahim Zagaid has accused Italy of shooting down Dignity Operation ’s mi-35 attack helicopter on Friday. Speaking to Jordan-based Libya Channel on Saturday, he claimed that an Italian frigate off Sirte coast had shot down the helicopter, killing all three pilots on board. “We confirm, beyond doubt, that an Italian frigate on the shores of Sirte was behind the downing of the helicopter,” he claimed, adding that he is responsible for what he say. Zagaid, a mouthpiece of KhalifaHaftar, also claimed that a Russian newspaper had reported that the helicopter was shot down by an Italian sea-fired missile. He called on all supporters of KhalifaHaftar’s self-styled army to go to the streets to denounce Italy and its attempts to occupy Libya.
Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, said during a sunday televised speech that Hezbollah supported a cease-fire in Syria and the end of bloodshed, which paves the way for political solutions. He added: “The victory in Aleppo opened spaces in Syria to safe areas, under a good security situation; this requires of us in Lebanon not to make the displaced file a religious or ideological one.” Over the security situation, Nasrallah called upon Lebanese people to maintain stability, heaping praise on the Lebanese army, its leadership and intelligence. Regarding the Beqaa region, he called on the state to hold its responsibility, and on the army and security forces to deal with the events within the law, as well as the people to cooperate, regretting the fact that “any incident in this area is highlighted more than other incidents in the country”.