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Turkey bank regulator dismisses ‘rumours’ after Iran sanctions report

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Turkey’s banking regulator urged the public on Saturday to ignore rumours about financial institutions, in an apparent dismissal of a report that some Turkish banks face billions of dollars of US fines over alleged violations of Iran sanctions. “It has been brought to the public’s attention that stories, that are rumours in nature, about our banks are not based on documents or facts, and should not be heeded,” the BDDK banking regulator said in a statement, adding that Turkey’s banks were functioning well. The Haberturk newspaper on Saturday reported that six banks potentially face substantial fines, citing senior banking sources. It did not name the banks. One bank faces a penalty in excess of $5 billion, while the rest of […]

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Trump: Raqqa fall ‘critical breakthrough,’ end of Daesh in sight

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

US President Donald Trump on Saturday hailed the defeat of Daesh fighters in their self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa as “a critical breakthrough” in a worldwide campaign against the militants. On Friday, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) formally announced Raqqa’s liberation from Daesh after four months of battles and said the city would be part of a decentralised federal Syria. “Together, our forces have liberated the entire city from ISIS [Daesh] control,” Trump said in a statement, adding: The defeat of ISIS in Raqqa represents a critical breakthrough in our worldwide campaign to defeat ISIS and its wicked ideology. With the liberation of ISIS’s capital and the vast majority of its territory, the end of the ISIS caliphate is in […]

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US’ Rex Tillerson lands in Riyadh at start of Gulf, South Asia tour

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Riyadh on Saturday to attend a landmark meeting between officials from Saudi Arabia and Iraq aimed at improving relations between the two countries and countering Iran’s growing regional influence. The chief US diplomat flew into King Salman Air Base a little more than a week after US President Donald Trump unveiled a strategy to contain Iran and compel Tehran to agree to close what he charged are flaws in the multinational 2015 deal designed to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons. Tillerson’s only official meeting on Saturday was a working dinner with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. He was stopping in Saudi Arabia on the first leg of a six-day trip that will […]

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Ramping up rhetoric, Turkey’s Erdogan chastises US over democracy

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan showed no retreat from a diplomatic row with the United States on Saturday, castigating Washington for what he said an “undemocratic” indictment against his security detail. His comments may further dash hopes of a quick resolution to an on-going diplomatic crisis between the NATO allies. Both Ankara and Washington have cut back issuing visas to each other’s citizens as ties have worsened. “They say the United States is the cradle of democracy. This can’t be true. This can’t be democracy,” Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul. If arrest warrants are issued against my bodyguards in absentia … in the United States, where I went upon invitation, excuse me but I will not say this is […]

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UN fails to bridge differences in month-long Libya talks in Tunisia

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

The United Nations has failed to bridge differences between rival Libyan factions at month-long talks in Tunisia aimed at stabilising the oil producing nation and paving the way for elections. The North African country has been gripped by turmoil since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising ended Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, giving space to militants and smuggling networks that have sent hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe. Political and military fractures have left the country mired in conflict and the OPEC member’s economy in freefall. Rival parliaments and governments have vied for power. A month ago UN envoy Ghassan Salame, the latest in a series of Libya envoys since 2011, announced a one-year “action plan” for a transition toward presidential and […]

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Iraqi central govt controls all oil wells: Minister

October 22, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

All oil wells in Iraq are under the control of the central government, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Ali Hussein Al-Luiebi said Saturday. Speaking to reporters at the 44th Baghdad International Fair, Luiebi said: “Our central government is currently improving the energy refining systems located in the northern regions of the country and is controlling all the oil wells in Iraq.” “The central government has increased the production in Basra and southern oil fields in order to compensate for the loss of oil in the north,” he said. The minister went on to say that the country would not suffer any loss as it had redressed the balance between oil production and export. When asked about the alleged agreement between Rosneft, Russia’s largest […]

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Rights group condemns Lebanese Maronite Patriarch’s remarks on refugees

October 21, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

The Arab Organisation for Human Rights – UK (AOHR) has condemned remarks made by the Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mor Bechara Boutros al-Rahi about Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In a statement, the organisation said: At a time when the countries of the Middle East need to work seriously to end civil wars, the highest religious figure in Lebanon delivers irresponsible and ominous remarks that could trigger civil war in Lebanon. The Patriarch described the Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Lebanon as a “massive burden and a demographic, economic, political, cultural and security danger.” Such remarks from someone who represents a major religious community, the organisation said, could cause a civil war, recalling past bloody clashes in Lebanon which […]

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Kuwaiti Emir praises parliament speaker who expelled Israeli representative

October 21, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

The Emir of Kuwait Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah praised the Speaker of the Kuwaiti parliament, Marzouq al-Ghanim, who expelled a representative of the Israeli parliament from a recent meeting of the Inter-Parliament Union (IPU) held in Russia. Al-Sabah sent a letter to Al-Ghanim stressing that his stance represents the official Kuwaiti position towards the Palestinians and their cause. “We followed with much interest and appreciation your firm response to the representative of the Israeli Knesset at the final session of the IPU’s assembly in Saint Petersburg in Russia,” the Emir said. That was in response to a comment made by a female Tunisian MP who accused the Israeli occupation of arresting and torturing Palestinian MPs and preventing them from attending this […]

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Hamas delegation arrives in Tehran on official visit

October 21, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

A Senior Hamas delegation headed by Deputy Chief, Saleh al-Arouri, arrived in Tehran on Friday to meet with Iranian officials, Quds Press reported. The delegation included Izzat al-Reshiq, Zaher Jabarin, Osama Hamdan, Sami Abu-Zuhri and Khalid al-Qadoumi – Hamas representative in Tehran. According to Quds Press, the Hamas delegation will discuss the latest developments in Palestine with Iranian officials. They would also discuss the recent reconciliation agreement with Fatah, as well as bi-lateral relations with Iran. Read: US says Iran shows ‘true colours’ by restoring Hamas ties In August, a senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Hassan Rouhani. These visits came after a period of frosty relations between the two sides due to the […]

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Turkey banks could face big US fines over Iran

October 21, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Six Turkish banks face billions of dollars of fines from US authorities over alleged violations of sanctions with Iran, the Haberturk newspaper reported on Saturday, citing senior banking sources. Two senior Turkish economy officials told Reuters that Turkey has not received any notice from the United States about such penalties, adding that US regulators would normally inform the finance ministry’s financial crimes investigation board. Turkish authorities are expected to issue a statement to issue the address the issue soon, the senior economy officials said. The report comes as relations between Washington and Ankara have been strained by a series of diplomatic rows, prompting both countries to cut back issuing visas to each other’s citizens. Haberturk did not name the six […]

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