Archive for Middle East
At least one civilian has been killed and several others injured near the Russian Embassy in Damascus by shellfire from militants fighting against the Syrian government. According to Syria’s official news agency, SANA, two mortar shells hit al-Adawi area in Damascus. Opposition sources, however, claimed that five shells have hit the area with some of them striking near the Russian Embassy. Residents in the area said the mortars landed about 150 meters from the building that houses the Russian Embassy. Militants have targeted the Russian Embassy several times since the beginning of unrest in Syria two years ago.
The Ethiopian embassy in Cairo is surrounded by heavily armed personnel and armoured vehicles. Ethiopian citizens, both refugees and Ethiopian-passport holders, are savagely harassed and beaten by ordinary Egyptians and the police everywhere they move. According to our sources, it is very difficult for Ethiopians to move around and many people are starving as they fear for their life to go out and buy foodstuff and drinking water. Egyptians are preparing a massive demonstration against Ethiopia to be held next Friday. On the other hand, Ethiopian Ambassador to Egypt Mohamed Dirrir met with Egyptian opposition leader and former Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa in Cairo today. Ambassador Mohamed Drirr has a two hours meeting with Amr Moussa on the recent developments on the Nile and has made clear that Ethiopia has no any intention of harming Egypt or affecting its access to the Nile waters.
The U.S. Embassy to Turkey has issued a warning to its citizens in Turkey about potential violence. The embassy issued a warning letter for the attention of American citizens, reminding of the tension in the country that has been ongoing since last week. U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone has canceled a trip to the U.S. due to the ongoing unrest in Turkey. He had been due to attend an American-Turkish Council meeting. Meanwhile, the German Foreign Ministry has urged German citizens to stay away from demonstrations, according to German Embassy spokesman Peter Kettner. Germany also called on Monday for calm and for dialogue in Turkey after days of clashes between anti-government protesters and police.
A man who pleaded guilty to plotting with Iranian intelligence operatives to murder the Saudi ambassador to the United States by hiring Mexican drug cartel assassins to bomb a crowded Washington, D.C., restaurant was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Manssor Arbabsiar, 58, an Iranian-born, naturalized U.S. citizen, told Southern District of New York Judge John Keenan that he accepted responsibility for the plot while insisting he has “a good heart.” Arbabsiar was caught on tape in 2011 responding to a statement from a confidential informant that there could be mass casualties, including the deaths of U.S. senators, from the bombing. “No problem,” he answered. “No big deal.” His lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, asked the judge to sentence him to 10 years behind bars, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Glen Kopp told the court that the 25-year maximum was warranted because Arbabsiar “worked for over six months to assassinate a foreign diplomat on American soil” and cause “mass carnage” in the process.
Egypt’s Antiquities’ Ministry has criticized a U.S. Embassy message to American citizens in the country, urging them to be extra cautious because of recent incidents near the pyramids in Giza. A ministry statement says the warning is “baseless.” An embassy message earlier this week urged Americans to “elevate their situational awareness” when visiting the pyramids because of a “lack of visible security or police” presence there. It noted incidents of “angry groups of individuals surrounding and pounding” on cars with visitors, sometimes trying to open car doors. The ministry insists the pyramids’ area in Giza, Cairo’s twin city, is “totally secure” and that the overall situation for tourists has improved.
Dozens of Egyptians gathered outside the Ethiopian embassy in Cairo, in protest at the start of the construction of the Renaissance Dam, demanding the expulsion of the Ethiopian ambassador from Egypt. The demonstrators chanted slogans calling for the expulsion of the Ethiopian ambassador to their country, in protest at the start of the Ethiopian government to build a dam Renaissance, and begun converting the course of the Blue Nile. According to sources, Ethiopian Ambassador to Egypt, Mohammed Drirr, was not in the Embassy compound during the protest. The embassy staff prevented the protesters from burning the Ethiopian flag after one demonstrator attempted to down the flag.
Pakistan Embassy in Saudi Arabia is working on war footings to find alternate means of employment for those Pakistani workers who intend to continue to stay in the Kingdom. Credible diplomatic sources told The Nation on Friday that efforts of Pakistani Embassy to find alternate means of jobs in the Kingdom were bearing fruit as some Saudi companies have positively responded to its request. It was further learnt that the Saudi Embassy in Pakistan was also making efforts to facilitate Pakistani Embassy in securing jobs for those Pakistan have been laid off along with thousands of foreigner workers. The sources in the Foreign Office maintained that about 60 companies that have the ability and willingness to employ foreign workers have been approached by the Embassy to arrange employment for the Pakistani workers. They said that representatives of these companies were visiting the Embassy on daily basis to interview workers in various categories; a unique and successful initiative of holding ‘Job Fair’ in the Embassy, they added. The sources further said that Pakistan’s Ambassador in Riyadh has held meetings with the Saudi Labour Minister and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and to impress upon them the huge negative impact on Pakistani workforce in Saudi Arabia of the current Saudization drive. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Embassy in Riyadh are fully cognizant of the difficulties being faced by Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia and are working overtime to minimize the impact of Saudization drive on Pakistani workers. Taking advantage of the three month grace period given by the Saudi government, our Embassy in Riyadh has taken a number of initiatives to help Pakistani workers regularize their stay in Saudi Arabia and also to help illegal workers to leave the Kingdom without any penalty and before expiry of the grace period on 3 July 2013.
The American embassy in Cairo has bad news for anyone traveling to Egypt: For now, the pyramids in Giza should be considered off limits — at least if you’re visiting without a trusted guide. Describing a pattern of increasing lawlessness at the iconic tourist destination outside Cairo, the embassy is warning that some visitors have found their cars surrounded by angry individuals, and that in some cases those individuals have tried to open the doors. Turbulence at the pyramids is terrible news for Egypt, whose economy is in a tailspin at the moment. Tourism has been a source of strength for the country’s economy in the past, but it has also struggled enormously in the aftermath of the revolution, whose accompanying chaos has understandably scared off many tourists from visiting.
After 17 years of investigations and six months of buildup in the Belarus Ambassador Affair case filed against him, the moment has arrived: Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman testifies on Wednesday in one of the most dramatic legal-political events in the country’s history. Liberman, still arguably the second most powerful man in the country and a heartbeat away from the position of prime minister if found innocent, will fight for his political future in his first and possibly only day of testimony. He is accused of fraud and breach of public trust and has denied all of the charges. The convoluted story has become more familiar to the public recently, after major media events such as the testimony of star prosecution witness, former deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon. Former Belarus ambassador Ze’ev Ben-Aryeh has been convicted of illegally giving Liberman classified investigative material regarding an earlier money-laundering case against Liberman. Liberman admitted he received the material but there, the narratives of the prosecution and Liberman split.
Newsline: Philippine mission in Saudi Arabia tells employers to contact recruiters for maids, not embassy
The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia said many employers have been flocking to the embassy, looking for overseas Filipino workers whom they can hire as domestic workers. However, the embassy issued an announcement saying the embassy is “not a recruitment agency. Those looking for a household worker should contact an accredited recruitment agency.” In a news release, the embassy belied alleged “widespread SMS messages, social media and Internet news” that it has household workers for transfer of employment. It explained that undocumented Filipino workers going to the embassy are correcting their status but not necessarily seeking transfer of employment. The embassy said it posted offers for jobs for Filipinos, on a blog linked to its website, and on a board outside the embassy. “The Embassy stresses that it is not responsible for the transactions and agreements made between the companies and the Filipinos, and it does not endorse any of the companies,” it said.