Three Islamic State members were killed in confrontations with security troops, southwest of Kirkuk, a security source from the province said on Thursday. Speaking to AlSumaria News, the source said, “armed confrontations occurred between the Federal Police and al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) against Islamic State members in al-Khadra village in al-Zab town, southwest of Kirkuk.” The clashes, according to the source, who preferred anonymity, added that “three militants have been killed so far as the confrontations are still ongoing.” Security troops carry out operations, every now and then, in search for the dormant cells of IS.
Bahram Ghasemi, the Spokesman of Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denounced, on Saturday, the latest report of Department of State on human rights as a partial, politicized, and rejected report. “The Human Rights report of US Department of State is partial, politicized, and unacceptable,” said Bahram Ghasemi, the Spokesman of Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Saturday. “The Islamic Republic of Iran sees the annual report issued by American Department of State and especially the parts of it with anti-Iran human rights claims as a particle document with political intentions to relay a distorted and unreal image of the conditions in our country,” reiterated the Iranian diplomat denouncing the claims in the report as baseless accusations. “The American government is not only the biggest violator of human rights according to credible reports issued by international entities, but also is the biggest supporter of notorious violator of human rights in our region like the Zionist regime and some reactionary countries of the region; countries whose crimes are still entangling the region,” asserted the spokesman.
The President of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, accompanied by Vice President and Minister of Defense, Radmila Sekerinska, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Dimitrov and State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Viktor Dimovski , met Monday with the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy and the Deputy EC President, Federica Mogherini, chaired by EU Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, Samuel Zbogar. High Representative of the EU Mogherini said at the meeting that the main message that she conveys is congratulations to Prime Minister Zaev personally to the Government, the opposition, the Parliament and the citizens, for the received clear recommendation to start Macedonia’s EU membership talks.
This, as High Representative Mogherini said, is the result of a well-done job in overcoming the political crisis achieved in the reform process, constructive policies with all political actors and the opposition, good neighborly relations, and that all these processes should continue through implementation of the reforms and the further unification of all, around the national and strategic goals of the state. In a press release, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Mogherini announced the EU’s assessment that the Republic of Macedonia has been restored on the European Union’s path, unlike a year ago, that a great deal has gone by, that the pure recommendation is the result of the joint work and that the government and the opposition should retain the forces to work together in the next steps.
Iraqi Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi announced on Tuesday a military operation to hunt for dormant Islamic State militants in Jazira area northeast of Baghdad and Euphrates heights. “We have started an operation in Jazira area and Euphrates heights to prevent the emergence of any terrorist group,” said Abadi at his weekly press conference in Baghdad. ISIS’ self-proclaimed “caliphate” effectively collapsed, when US-backed Iraqi forces completed the takeover of the militants’ capital in Mosul, after a nine-month campaign. Iraqi forces discovered a bomb-making factory in western Mosul, interior ministry said on Sunday. Iraqi Ministry of Interior said in a statement that a unit of Mosul directorate police found a factory where vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) were made by Islamic State in New Mosul neighborhood. The factory had 150 kilograms of ammonium nitrate used in the VBIEDs in Mosul, the ministry added.
President Hassan Rouhani said that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey enjoy ample historical and cultural commonalities and further deepening of bilateral, regional and international relations between the two countries would be beneficial for peace and stability in the region and the world. Rouhani made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci in Tehran on Wednesday, the president’s official website reported. “Fortunately in recent years, relations between the two countries have been developing in all fields of mutual interest and we should continue along this path to serve both nations’ interests,” the president said. “Without a doubt, development of banking relations is very important for deepening of economic relations and ties between the private sectors,” he said.
President Rouhani said the continuation of consultation and coordination between the two countries in regional issues has an effective role in establishing sustainable peace and security in the region. The Turkish economy minister, who is visiting Iran as the head of a high-ranking economic delegation, said Turkey is determined to remove the obstacles on the path of further development of relations between the two countries and take major steps in boosting cooperation. Zeybekci added that Turkey attaches great importance to deepening of relations and cooperation with Iran in all fields and intends to further cement these ties by laying out a roadmap.
The Iraqi government spokesperson, Saad Hadithi, said on Tuesday that Baghdad will not allow the country’s soil to be used for attacks on Syria. Hadithi said in a statement that the Syrian conflict allowed ISIS extremists to emerge and flourish into Iraq in 2014. Baghdad will not launch any attack on Syria and let any operation from Iraqi soil against its neighbor Syria, Hadithi added. Baghdad attempts to maintain unity and stability for Syria in an effort to completely defeat ISIS and create the circumstances that will prevent its return, he said
The European Union foreign policy chief said preserving Iran nuclear deal is vital for the European bloc. Federica Mogherini told reporters on Monday ahead of the bloc’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg. “On the Iran deal, we’re doing all we can to work with our American friends to make sure that all parties stay fully committed to the full implementation of the agreement,” Mogherini was quoted by European External Action Service (EEAS) as saying. “As it is the case so far as we know the last joint commission that we chaired was positive, everybody recognized that Iran is fully compliant with its nuclear commitments as has been confirmed by the IAEA for 11 times,” she said.
“Let me add that preserving the agency credibility is crucial especially in a time when we enter maybe hopefully, some interesting discussions with DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea]. So work is ongoing and we believe it would be essential to stay united in this,” she noted. The top EU diplomat continued, “Let me also add the Europeans have always made it clear for us that keeping the agreement in place is vital. It is a strategic interest for the EU and we will stick to it.” On the sanctions, the top official said, “I do not foresee any decision to be taken today on this. As you know, we have already sanctions in place on Iran – non-nuclear related. I do not expect [foreign] ministers to take decision on this today.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday agreed that the two countries should work together to further improve bilateral ties and expand cooperation. China and Japan are important neighbors and bilateral relationship has gone through some twists and turns in recent years, which affected communication and cooperation of the two sides in various areas, said Wang. year, he said. The Chinese top diplomat, who arrived in Japan Sunday for a three-day visit, expressed the hope that with efforts from both sides, his visit could become an important step for bilateral relationship to return to normal track. Saying that the momentum of improvement in bilateral ties did not come by easily, he emphasized that it should be cherished. He also said that China attaches importance to the positive remarks made by Abe on the Belt and Road Initiative, and Japan will joining the Belt and Road construction.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has met with a high-ranking Chinese diplomat in Pyongyang, amid a flurry of diplomacy following Kim’s recent surprise visit to Beijing. Kim’s trip, during which he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, was considered an attempt to repair traditionally warm ties with China that have deteriorated over North Korea’s development of ballistic missile and nuclear weapons technology and China’s enforcement of United Nations economic sanctions. Kim said during his meeting with Song on Saturday that he and Xi “reached important consensus” in Beijing, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency. Song agreed that the two leaders had reached consensus, and said China is willing to work with North Korea to safeguard peace on the Korean Peninsula, Xinhua reported. Song Tao, who heads the ruling Communist Party’s International Department, led an art troupe to Pyongyang to attend an arts festival, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.
BANGUI – At least 135 people have been injured in the worst outbreak of violence in years in the Central African Republic’s capital, aid agencies said on Friday, straining hospital trauma centres. At least 21 people died in clashes this week when United Nations peacekeepers and local security forces battled armed groups in Bangui’s PK5 neighbourhood – a Muslim enclave of the majority Christian city – over three days, a local official said.
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said it had treated 83 people since the weekend at a hospital and a health centre, while the Red Cross said 52 injured had arrived at another hospital.It is the worst violence seen in the capital since 2015, said MSF’s operational manager William Hennequin.”We are worried to see such level of violence and the impact it could have outside Bangui,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The head of U.N. peacekeeping said civilians killed were young people who had been “manipulated” and armed by criminal gangs to confront the peacekeepers and Central African Republic forces.