Monday, December 3, 2012
Syria was on the agenda along with energy and trade issues as Putin makes first visit outside Russia since October.Russia and Turkey cannot agree on how to respond to the Syrian conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is in Istanbul for talks with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said. "Russia and Turkey for the moment cannot find a mutual approach on the methods of how to regulate the situation in Syria. But our assessment of the situation completely coincides," said Putin during a press conference with Erdogan on Monday. Erdogan told Putin that Russia should stop supporting the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad, a claim Putin denied. "We are not defenders of the existing regime in Syria, I have already stated this, we are concerned about something else, we don't want to repeat the mistakes of past." Russian-Turkish tensions came to a head in October when Turkey intercepted a Syrian plane en route from Moscow to Damascus on suspicion that it had military cargo, drawing an angry response from Russia. Erdogan says the Turkish and Russian foreign ministers will work together more intensively on the Syrian problem. Patriot missiles Russia also objected to Turkey's request to NATO for the deployment of Patriot missiles on its volatile border with Syria. It warned that such a move could spark a broader conflict that would draw in the Western military alliance. Putin told the joint press conference that the deployment of US-made Patriot missiles with war-ravaged Syria would worsen tensions. "Creating additional capabilities on the border does not defuse the situation but on the contrary exacerbates it," said Putin. But Turkey insists the US-made Patriots would be used for purely defensive purposes. Dimitri Peskov, who is Putin's spokesman, told Al Jazeera that there were differences over Syria between the two men. "Turkey says Assad’s regime should go. We say if Assad leaves, the tens of thousands of refugees in Turkey right now will increase to hundreds of thousands. There will be a gap in the government and there will be lots of blood on the streets. This is what we say". Protesters had chanted anti-Putin slogans outside Erdogan's office and another demonstration was staged outside the Russian consulate in Istanbul before the two leaders began their meeting on Monday. Trade links Despite their differences on some thorny political issues, Russia and Turkey enjoy growing trade and energy links. The trade volume between the two countries is expected to reach $35bn by the end of this year. Turkey depends on Russia for most of its natural gas and oil supplies. In 2010, Ankara struck a deal with Moscow to build the country's first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu in the southern Mersin province. Putin told the press conference that his country would finance the total cost of the plant. Russian state company Rosatom is set to construct the 22-billion-dollar plant. It is expected to be completed by 2022. It is Putin's first trip outside Russia since he visited Tajikistan on October 5 and follows speculation that the normally globe-trotting leader is having health problems.
The Express TribuneUS Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar in Brussels to discuss US-Pakistan relations and Afghanistan. “As part of their regular series of consultations, Secretary Clinton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Khar and their delegations reviewed the progress in US-Pakistani relations in 2012 based on their commitment to identify shared interests and act on them jointly,” said a readout provided by a senior State Department official late on Monday.
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Executive Director Karamat Ali visited Malala Yousuzai in Birmingham on Saturday. Ali delivered a signed messaged on behalf of the programme, administration and support staff at PILER to Malala. The message included wishes to Malala for a speedy recovery, as well as support for her stand against extremism in Pakistan. Doctors have noted an improvement in Malala’s health; who is able to walk again and displays a sharp memory. Although she is doing better, it may be a while before she fully recovers and is allowed to be discharged from the hospital. Malala sent her thanks to the PILER team as well as to her friends and supporters in Pakistan.
By A.B. YehoshuaJust as the PLO was transformed into the Palestinian Authority, so it is time to start treating Hamas not as a 'terror organization,' but as a government. During the War of Independence in 1948, the Jordanians shelled western Jerusalem for months, besieged the city and prevented water and fuel from reaching its residents. Hundreds of civilians were killed during the shelling, yet Israel did not refer to the Jordanians as terrorists, but as an enemy. Once a cease-fire was attained, Israel began open negotiations with the Jordanians, at the end of which an armistice agreement was signed. For years prior to the Six Day War, the Syrians shelled towns in the Galilee, killing and injuring many. Syria's Baath constitution even contains a clause about the annihilation of Israel. Yet the Israelis never called the Syrians terrorists but rather enemies, and even reached agreements with them, including a disengagement agreement following the Yom Kippur War. The Egyptians under Gamal Abdel Nasser called for Israel's destruction many times and even tried to realize that goal on the eve of the Six Day War, yet still the Egyptian tyrant was never a terrorist but an enemy. Even the Nazis weren't called terrorists. Their acts of horror were perpetrated while they were in uniform, openly before all, affiliated with the regime and clearly identifiable. They were the cruelest enemy in the history of mankind, but they were not terrorists. The time has come to stop calling Hamas a terrorist organization and define it as an enemy. The inflationary use of the term "terror," of which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is particularly fond, impedes Israel's ability to reach a long-term agreement with this bitter enemy. Today Hamas controls the territory; it has an army, governmental institutions and broadcasting stations. It is even recognized by many states in the world. An organization that has a state is an enemy, not a terror organization. Is this just semantics? No, because with an enemy one can talk and reach agreements, whereas with a "terror organization" talking is meaningless and there is no hope for reaching accord. It is therefore urgent to legitimize, in principle, the effort to reach some sort of direct agreement with Hamas. That's because the Palestinians are our neighbors and will be forever. They are our close neighbors, and if we don't reach a reasonable separation agreement with them, we will inevitably lead ourselves down the path to a bi-national state, which will be worse and more dangerous for both sides. That's why an agreement with Hamas is important not only for the sake of bringing quiet to the border with Gaza, but also in order to create the basis for establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Since Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip, there have been worrying signs that the Hamas government in Gaza is losing the ability to distinguish the possible from the impossible, and Israel's military blows are not only failing to sober up Hamas, but actually strengthening its martyr-driven aggressiveness. How did it happen that in the wake of Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, violence exploded? There are religious fanatics everywhere, but not every fanatical government exposes itself, unnecessarily, to the devastating response of the Israeli army, one of the strongest militaries in the world. To understand and perhaps try to change Hamas' behavior, which has more than a smidgen of suicidal urge, Israel must hold genuine, direct talks with Hamas. Just as the "terror organization" PLO turned into the Palestinian Authority, so it is worth treating the Hamas "terror organization" as the Hamas government. Underlying Hamas' behavior is a contradiction: On the one hand, there throbs a justified feeling of heroism and strength since they managed to get the settlers and Israeli army out of Gaza without any pre-conditions. On the other hand, there is a feeling of deep frustration that that very act brought upon them a profound blockade, within a narrow territory, cutting them off not only from Israel but mainly from their people in the West Bank. And so, encouraged by their success in tossing the Israelis out of the Strip, they think they can oust them from the rest of the "conquered lands," or at least force them to lift the siege. But because they have no faith in Israel and they believe that dividing the Palestinian people into two parts is in Israel's interest, and they know that Israel will never again try to govern Gaza - instead of trying to rebuild the Gazan economy, stop the violence, and build a normal life (and thus perhaps convince the Israelis to enable them to link up with their brethren in the West Bank), they choose the way that has proven itself in the past in Gaza: unremitting aggression. For all the cease-fire, neither side has a sense that the cycle of violence is over. The suicidal element now evident in Gaza can lead, with the nefarious support of Iran, to more death and destruction. Therefore it is imperative to try, by stopping demonization on both sides and by direct negotiations, to reach the outline of an agreement between Israel and Hamas that will be based on four principles: - Hamas' accepting strict international supervision over demilitarization of the Strip of all offensive high-trajectory weapons. - Opening the passage between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. - Opening Israel's border to the controlled entry of Palestinian workers. - Gradually opening the safe passage between Gaza and the West Bank, based on the rules set in the Oslo Accords, in order to begin to restore Palestinian unity. This will lay the basis for negotiations with Israel, since the PA cannot reach a peace agreement with Israel without the participation of Hamas. Decisions of great national importance call for broad national support. This has applied to Israel, both in heading to war and signing peace agreements, and so it has been for many peoples in history. Talking with Hamas and gradually restoring its ties to the Palestinian people in the West Bank is essential both in order to eventually reach an agreement on two states for two peoples, as most of the people of Israel want, and in order to prevent the slow but continuous slide toward a bi-national state.
Daily TimesNATO has expressed readiness for political dialogue and cooperation with Pakistan and stressed the importance of its ties with the country in the fight against “terrorism” as the military alliance prepares the way for its 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan. “Most urgently, we need to remain united to defeat terrorism,” NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen told visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. “At NATO we understand well that Pakistan has paid a high price in these efforts. The alliance stands together with you to combat this scourge,” Rasmussen said in a statement. It is “clear that the pursuit of peace and security in your region is in the interest of the broader international community. That includes peace in Afghanistan, where Pakistan has a particular role to play,” he said. The statement said Khar also held talks with the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s government body, where officials voiced their readiness to “develop political dialogue and cooperation with Pakistan.” They also stressed that “Pakistan’s positive engagement was needed to ensure long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region,” it said. NATO foreign ministers, led by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are due to meet Tuesday and Wednesday at alliance headquarters in Brussels for talks at which Afghanistan will be a top agenda item. Khar discussed regional and global issues of mutual interest with the NATO secretary general. The foreign minister said that Pakistan had a strong and long history of cooperation with the NATO and that it was committed to working closely for the common objective of peace and stability in the region, particularly in Afghanistan. Briefing the secretary general about Pakistan’s commitments to improving relations with Afghanistan, the foreign minister said that sincere efforts were being made by her country to build trust between the two countries at all levels. Rasmussen commended the role Pakistan has played to fight a common threat of terrorism and extremism and assured that NATO would remain its steadfast partner in this regard. He also assured the foreign minister that the NATO regarded Pakistan as an important player, both regionally and globally, and that the two sides had a common stake to jointly work towards creating an environment necessary for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. He said that NATO was committed to turning its relationship with Pakistan into a strategic partnership. It also wanted to reinvigorate its political dialogue with Pakistan and to move beyond 2014. The NATO chief thanked the government of Pakistan for concluding a transit agreement with the military alliance. Talking about the situation in Afghanistan, he said that NATO was committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan and assured that it would not leave a security vacuum in that country after its withdrawal in 2014. Rasmussen also appreciated Pakistan’s response to the recent visit of Afghan High Peace Council and for playing a very positive and strong role for political reconciliation in Afghanistan. Later, the foreign minister also addressed the North Atlantic Council and briefed them on the regional situation with particular reference to the efforts Pakistan was making for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Protesters in Saudi Arabia have once again held a demonstration against the Al Saud regime in the country’s oil-rich Eastern Province, Press TV reports. On Sunday, the demonstrators chanted anti-regime slogans in the Qatif region, situated about 418 kilometers (259 miles) east of the capital Riyadh, and called for the immediate release of senior cleric Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amer. The cleric has been behind bars since last year for criticizing the ruling Al Saud monarchy. Since February 2011, protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia, mainly in Qatif and Awamiyah in Eastern Province, primarily calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, as well as an end to widespread discrimination. However, the demonstrations turned into protests against the repressive Al Saud regime, especially after November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the province. Saudi forces have also arrested dozens of people including prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The country's officials warned in October that they would deal "firmly" with anti-regime demonstrations. Amnesty International slammed the warning, and urged the authorities to "withdraw their threat."
indiatimes.comPakistan's former federal minister for human rights Ansar Burney has written letters to Pakistan's prime minister and president seeking immediate action against the real estate builder on whose behest century old Sri Rama Pir temple in Karachi was demolished on Saturday. While talking to TOI over phone from Karachi Burney said that it was a blasphemy case and government of Pakistan should deal with iron hand against the persons responsible for demolition of Hindu temple. "I have written letters to Pak president and prime minister asking them to book persons who had brought disgrace to idols of Hindu deities and those behind demolition of temple under blasphemy act". Karachi based President of Pak Hindu Seva Trust, Sanjesh S Dhanja said that there was much disappointment among Hindus of Pakistan following demolition of temple . "I wonder that despite stay orders how could anyone demolish the temple" he said adding that Hindu's of Pakistan believed in police and judiciary of Pakistan. "I believe that government will take strict action against those responsible for the demolition of temple" Delhi Minorities Commission has condemned the demolition of century old Hindu temple in Karachi by building contractor and has demanded from Pakistan government to reconstruct the temple to restore confidence among minority Hindu community of Pakistan. While talking to TOI Chairman , Delhi Minorities Commission Safdar H Khan said that razing down of a religious place of any community was most deplorable incident. Khan who is also Vice President India Islamic Cultural Center said that he would write to Pakistan High Commission to express his resentment and would also demand reconstruction of temple by Pakistan government. Meanwhile President of Hindu Shiv Sena, Surinder Kumar Billa has expressed mass migration from Pakistan following demolition of historical temple. "Hindus are not safe, they had been migration to India in recent past and I am sure the migration of Hindu's will again begin unless Pakistan government take strict action against the culprits to win over hearts of Hindus of Pakistan".
The Express TribuneA 22-year-old youth, accused of burning a copy of the Holy Quran, died in police custody at Warburton police station on Sunday, The Express Tribune has learnt. The youth, Nadeem, was detained without an FIR by the Nankana Sahib police seven days ago. Police say he was being kept in protective custody. He was later shifted to Warburton police station, 20km for Nankana Sahib. Talking to The Express Tribune, Nankana Sahib district police officer (DPO) Ghulam Mubashar Maken said the youth fell severely ill while in custody at Warburton police station and subsequently died. He said allegations against Nadeem had not been substantiated so far. He added that they were informed by a local committee of Ulema that there was no proof so far to suggest the youth had burned the Holy Quran copy. Since they had been waiting for the committee’s final decision, no case was registered against the youth, DPO Maken said. Meanwhile, police have handed over Nadeem’s body to his heirs and initiated proceedings under section 174. DPO Maken said Nadeem’s father Yousaf had told the police that his son was mentally unstable. He added that even after his son’s death, Yousaf was unwilling to take legal action. Police officials also suggested that Nadeem was tortured by local resident when they allegedly discovered him burning a copy of the Holy Quran. They also suspect he may have been an addict. Christian woman Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death in 2010 on blasphemy charges, also belongs to Nankana Sahib.
RADIO PAKISTANBilawal Bhutto Zardari says attacks on temples‚ graveyards‚ properties and lives of the minorities are an attack on the Jinnah's vision of Pakistan and pose an existential threat to the country. Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has taken strong exception to the latest incidents of attacks on the minorities and urged provincial governments and the law enforcement agencies to do their best to protect the fundamental rights of the minorities of the country. The Chairman PPP said yesterday there was a report of demolition of a Hindu temple in Karachi and today we woke up to the news of desecration of graves of innocent Pakistanis in Lahore. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the attacks on temples‚ graveyards‚ properties and lives of the minorities are an attack on the Jinnah's vision of Pakistan and pose an existential threat to the country‚ something Shaheed Benazir Bhutto gave her life fighting against. The Chairman PPP appealed all political parties‚ religious bodies‚ civil society organizations and all institutions of Pakistan to rise up to defend the Jinnah's Pakistan as the continuing attacks on the minorities‚ if un-checked will threaten the very existence of Pakistan. He said our forefathers did not give their lives for an intolerant‚ extremist‚ sectarian and authoritarian Pakistan. I appeal you to rise up to defend Jinnah's Pakistan and my party will stand by you‚ shoulder to shoulder.
http://www.brecorder.comKhyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information, Mian Iftikhar Hussain on Saturday said that all three provinces of the country are against the construction of disputed Kalabagh Dam and any attempt aimed to raise the issue for interest of certain elements would be thwarted. Addressing to the Civil Officers Mess, he said that we reject the decision of Lahore High court in this regard, as the project would cast a negative impact on overall stability of the country. He said that keeping in view the perilous affects of Kalabagh Dam, work should be initiated on Baasha Dam and Katzarra projects rather to serve the motives of those who are working to create misconception between judiciary and parliament. Mian Iftikhar said after the 18th Amendment the consensus of a province is necessary for construction of dams and Supreme Court should take notice of the decision regarding Kalabagh Dam. He said that apex court should take a decision that reflects the wishes of people and further improve the existing stature of courts. Information Minister said we will also demand of the revenue generated from water of our land that was taken in form of Ghazi-Brotha project by diverting the natural course of River Indus. He said that fertile land of our province have been left barren by the project.
Associated PressPakistani Hindus Sunday protested the destruction of a Hindu temple in the southern port city of Karachi. The temple was razed, along with some nearby homes, by a builder.