North Korea is believed to be preparing to launch a missile before a joint naval drill by the US and South Korea, a news report said on Saturday, citing a government source. The US navy said on Friday that a US aircraft carrier will lead the drill next week, a fresh show of force against North Korea as tensions soar over the hermit state’s weapons programme. The move is likely to rile Pyongyang which has previously responded angrily to joint exercises. The Donga newspaper, quoting a government source, said satellite pictures show missiles mounted on launchers being transported out of hangars near Pyongyang and in North Phyongan Province. US and South Korean military officials suspect the North might be preparing to launch missiles capable of reaching US territory, the newspaper said. A defence ministry spokesman declined to comment on the report, saying: “We don’t comment on any matters of military intelligence”. “We are keeping a close watch over the North”, he said. The joint drills led by the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier come after hectic US military hardware movements around the Korean peninsula in recent days. Professor Yang Moo-jin of the University of North Korean Studies said it was “highly likely” that the North could launch missiles in response to next week’s joint navy drill. US President Donald Trump’s continued threats of military action against Pyongyang if it does not tame its weapons ambitions have fuelled fears of conflict on the Korean peninsula. But military intervention against North Korea would have “devastating consequences”, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg warned on Friday, after Trump said diplomatic efforts had failed.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed that his government was determined to develop cooperation friendly relations with neighboring countries, including Armenia, and there were no restrictions on this. In a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan on Tuesday, Rouhani described the two countries’ relations and cooperation positive, saying, “Development of relations with Armenia, as a friend and neighboring country, has always been important for Iran”. Referring to the historical, cultural and civilization relations of Iran and Armenia in the region and the common positions of the two countries in various international stages, the president noted, “Today, political, social and cultural relations of Tehran and Yerevan are in good conditions, but in the field of business and economic relations and cooperation, more effort is needed to maximize the potentials of developing relations to serve the two nations”.
Yemen’s internationally recognized government has reopened the local branch of the Central Bank in the southwestern city of Taiz for the first time since war broke out in early 2015. The website said that the bank’s reopening gave hope to “thousands” of government employees and residents in the city that they would receive salaries that had not been paid since late 2016. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Civil Service Abdul Aziz Jabari, who attended the ceremony as part of a government delegation, described the reopening as “the most important step” in returning government control over financial and other institutions in the city.
Saudi Arabia has dismissed several thousand imams from mosques for spreading extremism, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told Russian journalists in Moscow Al-Jubeir said Riyadh would cooperate with Moscow in the fight against terrorism, and many militants from both countries were fighting with Daesh. The foreign minister also accused Qatar of financing terrorism in an attempt to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries. “We are convinced that there are certain principles that all countries must stick to: Say ‘no’ to terrorism, the financing of terrorism, extremism and propaganda of hatred, and attempts to interfere in the domestic affairs of other states”, he said.
Speaker Nabih Berri assured that the next parliamentary elections will be held in time, as the Western embassies reported that they have warned against any new extension of the term of the legislature.
Information Minister Melhem Riachi announced Sunday that the Lebanese Party has accepted the issue of taxes in order to secure the finances for salaries.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blasted the US for its hostile policies against the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and warned of Tehran’s tough response if Washington labels the IRGC as a terrorist Group. “It will certainly be a very harsh reaction”, Zarif said in response to a question asked by reporters in Tehran on Sunday on how Iran would react if the US president designates the IRGC as a terrorist group in his new strategy. He declined to elaborate on the details of Iran’s response, and said, “God willing, you will come to see (Iran’s reaction)”. His remarks came few hours after IRGC top Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said imposition of new sanctions by Washington against Iran means a US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, and warned that the US should leave the region and stay 2,000km away from Iran if the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) comes into effect.
The United Nations (U.N.) warned on Tuesday (October 3) that millions of refugees across the Middle East are unlikely to receive the help they need for the winter months. The U.N. Secretary General’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric also warned that the U.N. refugee agency was lacking funds for its winter assistance plan for the region. “There are nearly 15 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people scattered across the region. UNHCR estimates that as many as four million are in the extreme risk category and need timely and substantial help to prepare for the forthcoming winter”, Dujarric told journalists at the United Nations headquarters, adding that just one quarter of those most at risk are likely to get the assistance they need. “The $245 million Regional Winter Assistance Plan for the region is only 26 per cent funded”, he said.
Turkey has paid the highest price for instability in the Middle East and has done its best to prevent it from spreading to Europe, the Turkish prime minister said on Monday. Binali Yildirim said Turkey was playing an important role in the region for establishing peace and blocking terrorist activities. “We are making a great sacrifice not to make our European friends pay that price”, he said, stressing that Turkey decreased the refugee influx to Europe through the Aegean Sea and land routes. “While we are waiting for these efforts to be recognized [by Europe], we are saddened when we hear reproachful statements, and when FETÖ members and PKK sympathizers are embraced”, he added.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met Saturday with UN Under-Secretary-General for Human Affairs Mark Lowcock to discuss the regional developments and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Middle East.According to a statement by the ministry, Shoukry informed the UN official on the situation in Gaza Strip and the Egyptian efforts to support the UNRWA, in addition to the humanitarian situation in Yemen.Shoukry also expressed his dismay due to the lack of the international community in dealing with several crises such as drought and famines, stressing the necessity of intensifying the international efforts to decrease the impact of climate change.The Egyptian minister also met with Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the president of the International Crisis Group, one of the most prominent research centres on the means and ways to prevent and resolve international crises.The two sides discussed the Libyan crisis, and Shoukry stressed that the deteriorating security situation in Libya has a direct impact on Egypt’s stability, stressing the need to work on confronting the phenomenon of terrorism in all its forms in Libya.