#AceNewsReport – Jan.14: As China scrambles to ensure a stable supply of energy, Beijing is looking to boost bilateral relations with oil-abundant Gulf countries by entering into a strategic partnership and expediting the implementation of a free-trade agreement.
In a rare move, Beijing invited a high-level delegation of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, including its secretary general and the foreign ministers of four member countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain – for a China visit this week.“
‘UK to establish £15m permanent Mid East military base-Screenshot from 2014-12-06 12:39:04 ‘
The base, at the Mina Salman Port in Bahrain, will host ships including destroyers and aircraft carriers.
The UK said it was an “expansion of the Royal Navy’s footprint” and would “reinforce stability” in the Gulf.
Bahrain will pay most of the £15m ($23m) needed to build the base, with the British paying ongoing costs.
UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who signed the deal at a security conference in Manama, Bahrain, said it was “just one example of our growing partnership with Gulf partners to tackle shared strategic and regional threats”.
He said the move“builds upon our 30-year track record of Gulf patrols”.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner there was already a “rotating presence” of four British minesweepers at the Mina Salman Port, but the UK had been “piggybacking” on the US naval base there.
He said the new facility would be one of the most important Royal Navy bases in the world and would be used for a “whole host of things” including supporting UK operations in Iraq, where RAF jets have been attacking targets as part of a US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS) militants.
The base would also be used for operations against piracy and for aerial surveillance, he added.
Although as HRW reported Bahrain’s human rights record regressed further in key areas in 2013 and the government made little real progress regarding reforms it claimed to pursue.Security forces continued to arrest scores of individuals arbitrarily in towns where anti-government protests regularly take place. Continuing reports of torture and ill-treatment in detention were consistent with the findings of the 2011 Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).
Britain and the United States have refused to sign a UN document condemning the ongoing human rights abuses in Bahrain, local media report.
Some major European countries including Germany and France signed the document adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, and called on the tiny Persian Gulf island nation to do more to protect civil liberties in the country.
The government’s failure to implement key recommendations of the BICI stand in contrast to its claims it is making progress on human rights.
The judicial system, headed by ruling family members, has yet to hold any senior official responsible for serious human rights violations that have occurred since 2011, including torture-related deaths in detention.
#AceWorldNews – KUWAIT – April 11 – Kuwait has imposed a news blackout on a probe into reports of a recording in an alleged plot to overthrow the Gulf state’s ruling system, Reuters said.
A case was opened in December after a legal complaint which demanded an investigation into tweets about the alleged recording. The Attorney General ordered that the investigation be made secret and banned publishing any information on “the existence of a tape,” according to KUNA news agency.
All forms of communication were banned from discussing the case because rumours “were damaging to the country’s interests.”
Arabian Business – reported that the topic has featured extensively in local media and prompted a rare statement from the ruler’s office this week, which told people to stop discussing the case in order to preserve national unity.
A major OPEC oil producer and US ally, Kuwait has a lively press and the most open political system in the Gulf Arab region, thanks to its elected parliament. The 50-member assembly can question government ministers and block legislation, while the emir has final say in state affairs.
The Attorney General ordered that the investigation be made secret and banned publishing any information on “the existence of a tape that contains information and statements implicating some people of conspiring to overthrow the ruling system in the country and challenge the rights and authority of his highness the emir,” according to the statement carried by KUNA.
The statement, published late on Thursday, said all forms of communication were banned from discussing the case, including news outlets and social media. Such rumours were damaging to the country’s interests, it said.
It said the prosecutor would inform media about the results of the case once the investigation was over. It came one day after the statement from the emir’s office.http://www.arabianbusiness.com/kuwait-orders-blackout-in-court-case-over-plot-tape-546135.html
#AceWorldNews says that according to Moscow and reports from Itar-tass that Russia proposes to convene an international meeting to ensure security in the Gulf, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the third ministerial round of strategic dialogue between Russia and the Council of Cooperation for the Arab States of the Gulf here on Wednesday.
“We are prepared together with Arab partners to modernize Russian concept of ensuring security in the Gulf,” Lavrov noted. “For this purpose we propose to organize an international meeting involving member-countries of the council, Iran, five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and other parties concerned,” Lavrov said.
“It would be possible to contemplate and convene an expert meeting of representatives of academic circles and diplomats,” he added.
Russia also confirms that the country is interested in holding a conference before the end of the year on creating a zone free of nuclear weapons and other types of mass destruction weapons and their delivery vehicles, the Russian president stated.