Oct 08 - 14, 2001
Iran-Russian military-defence cooperation
Iran-Russian military-defence cooperation enjoys
great importance, a Russian industrialist told an Iranian defence
ministry delegation here Thursday.
Iranian military delegation, led by
Brigadier-General Hossein Alaei, general manager of the army air
industries, made a visit to the Russian ship building companies.
Referring to the Iranian Defence Minister
Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani's current visit to Russia and the deals
which were signed between the two sides, Alaei said that the current
achievements are the outcome of the last visit of Russian and Iranian
presidents in Moscow.
Regarding the importance of the two countries' role
on the regional affairs, Alaei continued that Iran and Russia have
common viewpoints about the regional issues particularly the Caspian
Alaei expressed hope that the two nations' joint
endeavours would lead to the solution of Afghanistan's crises as well
as establishment of peace in the region.
The Russian industrialist stressed that there is no
limitation for extension of cooperation between the two countries.
Russia agreed in March to provide Tehran with estimated Dlrs 7 billion
worth of arms over the next years. Moscow says it would only supply
Ivanov said last month Russia's weapons supplies to
Iran are currently small and fulfil contracts signed during the Soviet
times, or the early 1990s.
Shamkhani's trip is part of an ongoing
rapprochement between the two states. Sergeyev paid a visit to Tehran
in December last year which was followed by a visit to Moscow by
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in March this year.
Oil price slips to $19.65
The basket oil price used by Opec to set its output
slipped again to 19.65 dollars, below the 22-dollar floor of the
organization's target range for a seventh trading day, its secretariat
said on Thursday.
The basket price, an average of seven world crudes,
was down from $20.30 the previous day, said Opec officials, who base
the daily basket price on the previous working day's world crude
prices. Under a price mechanism system aimed at keeping prices within
a 22-28 dollar range, Opec could cut production by 500,000 barrels a
day if the basket price remains below 22 dollars a barrel for 10
trading days in a row.
The 10th day will be reached on Friday if the price
remains below 22 dollars. Opec ministers agreed at a meeting in Vienna
last week to leave output unchanged, but signalled they would cut
output in the coming weeks if oil prices remained weak.
Jordan's port of Aqaba keen on success
The rapid transformation of the Jordanian port of
Aqaba into a regionally competitive hub for investment, trade and
tourism is already taking shape with the adoption and implementation
of key economic, social and legislative directives.
According to Mr Akel Biltaji, the Chief
Commissioner for the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, the young
King Abdullah II of Jordan was quick to build upon the vision of his
father the late King Hussein who had foreseen the immense potential of
the Red Sea coastal city.
This through developing upon the initial blue
prints for this strategically important undertaking and setting into
motion its relevant requirements.
For that purpose, the Jordanian parliament passed
the Aqaba Special Economic Zone law in August of 2000 under which the
Aqaba Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) was established.
In his briefing to reporters participating in a
press forum under the name of "Economic Reform and
Development..(ASEZA), a Model" Biltaji affirmed that Aqaba was
not being detached from the rest of the country or sold off as some
may have suggested.
A number of Jordanian economists, parliamentarians
and ordinary citizens had voiced concerns that turning Aqaba into a
special economic zone may allow Israel to buy lands and control
businesses under the cover of foreign investments and thus undermining
the sovereignty of the country. Others feared for the moral fabric of
the sea port.
Biltaji went on to say that several new investors
have expressed their interest in establishing new projects. This in
addition to plans for the development of the sea port, the airport and
a rail road.
It is hoped that (ASEZA) would bring in up to $6
billion in investments creating some 70,000 jobs over the next 20
years, in addition to a 6% growth level, Biltaji added.
Riyadh 'sure' US won't attack Arab country
Saudi Arabia is "sure" Washington will
not strike at an Arab country in retaliation for the anti-US terror
attacks, Defence Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz said Wednesday
after talks with US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
"We are sure that the United States is not
thinking of undertaking such an action," Prince Sultan said when
asked if Riyadh had obtained guarantees that Washington would not
attack an Arab country.
But the kingdom "could not demand guarantees
from the United States ... about any action it will undertake,"
he said at a news conference with Rumsfeld.
The Saudi defence minister said the United States
made no requests to use bases in the kingdom in support of air strikes
against Afghanistan's Taliban rulers.
"There were no such requests presented by the
United States in the first place, and this matter was not a point of
discussion between the two sides," he said, speaking through an
Washington favours Palestinian statehood
The United States is getting ready to announce that
it will recognize the creation of a Palestinian state and jumpstart
the Middle East peace initiative in order to create a broader
coalition against its war on terrorism.
The initiative was to have been detailed last month
in a speech by Secretary of State Colin Powell at the UN General
Assembly and would have represented the first time a Republican
administration has backed a Palestinian state, said an exclusive
report in Tuesday's New York Times. But the plan was shelved after the
Sept 11 disaster.
In the aftermath of the attacks, as Secretary
Powell organized the international coalition, he signalled to friendly
Arab countries that the administration would follow through on its
desire for a more visible US role in the ME. But the
Israeli-Palestinian initiative was postponed.
Now Arab leaders are urging Mr Bush to go ahead
with the initiative because it would help them build support in their
countries for the fight against terrorism, which is likely to involve
military action against Muslim populations, the paper said.
At the State Department, some officials argue that
Mr Powell should make the planned speech sooner rather than later, and
certainly before military operations begin inside Afghanistan, the NYT
Israelis kill 7 Palestinians in Gaza
Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians in the
Gaza Strip on Wednesday in retaliation for a deadly raid on a Jewish
settlement as a shaky Middle East ceasefire agreement threatened to
Violence also spread to the West Bank, where
unknown men fired into a crowd of thousands of Jewish worshippers in
Al Khalil, wounding two Israeli women, one seriously, the army said.
The latest bloodshed left an already shaky truce in tatters, dealing
another blow to Washington's efforts to end the fighting as it tries
to draw Arab nations into the anti-terror alliance.
Iran's wool and mohair exports triple
Iranian exports of wool and mohair during the first
five months of the current Iranian year (started March 21) reached
1,770 tons and valued at dlrs 5.76 million, the Persian daily Abrar-e
Eqtesadi reported on Thursday, quoting information released by the
Exports Promotion Center of Iran on Wednesday.
"The figure shows increases of 189.7 per cent
and 76 per cent in terms of weight and value, respectively, compared
to the figures of the same period of the previous year (started March
20, 2000)," it added.
In the year 2000 the country exported some 611 tons
of wool and mohair valued at dlrs 3.27 million to various countries
abroad, the report further said.
Turkey seeks large heating oil cargoes
Turkey is looking for large volumes of diesel and
heating oil on the European spot market after a halt to cross-border
smuggling from Iraq, traders said. Iraq halted the supplies, which
contravene United Nations sanctions, after the September 11 attacks on
the United States, in an effort to build up domestic stocks in the
event of military action by the U.S.-led coalition, traders say.
Traders say smuggled imports from Iraq fell to 1.5
million tonnes last year, compared with three million tonnes in the
Jordan woos Tirupur knitwear investors
Jordan Investment Board (JIB) intends to encourage
investors form Tirupur garment industry to set up knitwear factories
in its qualified industrial zones (QIZ). A three-member team from JIB
has met the members of the Tirupur hosiery industry to explain the
investment opportunities in Jordan. JIB provides capital subsidies of
25-75 per cent to the textile and apparel ventures.
The QIZs also provide access to the European Union
(EU) and the US markets through the Jordan accord. Presently,
industrial parks in Jordan have 3,000 production facilities with
investment of nearly $150 million.
Syrian, Egyptian, Saudi co-ordination
The Egyptian foreign minister Ahmad Maher has
stressed the importance of the Syrian, Egyptian and Saudi coordination
in dealing with regional and international developments and for
serving unwavering Arab stances towards the need of fighting terrorism
in the framework of the UN and to make a distinction between it and
the legitimate resistance against occupation, as guaranteed by
In statements he made in Cairo on Wednesday, Maher
stressed that the elimination of tension in the Middle East requires
Israel's complete withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories in
Jerusalem, the Golan, and the Palestinian territories until June 4,
1967 border line in implementation of UN security council resolutions
Arab free trade zone
The economic unity council of the Arab League said
in a report it issued on Monday (October 1st) that Doha's meeting (the
fourth ministerial meeting of the world Trade Organization to be held
on November 9-13) necessitates rapid implementation of the Greater
Arab free zone area and making the set reduction in the provisional
customs tariff especially in regard to agricultural items and
expanding the scale of the said agreement so as to include services
and intellectual property rights.
Flights on which every single shipment was booked
via the Internet using SkyChain have been achieved by Emirates
Skycargo at two of its stations — Lahore in Pakistan and Bangkok in
Arms export deal signed with Turkey
Pakistan has signed a deal with Turkey to export
arms and ammunition, said Pakistan Ordnance Factories Chairman Lt-Gen
Abdul Qayyum on Wednesday. He said the deal included supply of 20
million cartridges of 5.56mm bore of Nato standards and around 30,000
spares of 7.62mm G3 rifle.
The contract was signed during the world defence
exhibition in Ankara by POF on behalf of Pakistan and MKEK on behalf
of the Turkish Republic. A delegation led Defence Production Division
Secretary Zahid Anis, participating in the exhibition, held talks with
their counterparts of the host country.
Islamic banks deny financing terrorism
Islamic banks are not involved in financing
terrorism, the Bahrain-based General Council for Islamic Banks and
Financial Institutions insisted Thursday.
In a statement, the council's secretary general
Ezzedin Khuja said none of its 34 members in Bangladesh, Bahrain,
Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan "are involved in any way in
financing terrorist operations or illegal acts." "The
institutions operate under precise norms and rules under the control
of the central authorities of a sovereign state ... and in total
transparency," he said.
He condemned all forms of terrorism and complained
of a "tendentious campaign" in the West to link Islamic
banks to the US terror attacks of September 11.
In Manama, the banking capital of the oil-rich
Gulf, Information Minister Nabil Al-Hamr told AFP last week that no
financial institutions or charities on the archipelago were involved
in shady dealings.
Global glut slashes Uganda's coffee exports
The value of Uganda's coffee exports, vital to the
economy, has plummeted by almost a third year-on-year this season
because of falling prices and a failed stock retention scheme,
officials said Wednesday.
Exports for the season ending September 30 were
worth about 105 million dollars, against 165 million dollars for the
preceding year, according to William Naggaga, the board secretary of
the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).
By weight, exports of coffee — long the backbone
of the east African country's economy — actually rose from 2.9
million 60-kilo bags to 3.1 million bags.
"This is all self-inflicted damage because as
producers we have failed to control supply. We have too much coffee on
the market," Naggaga lamented.
Palestinian kids want to die throwing stones
Osama Al Kalban, 14, writhing in bed from a bullet
wound to his upper right leg, dreams about Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee
one minute and becoming a martyr the next.
"I will someday," he says, expressing his
wish to die hurling stones at Israeli soldiers, the activity he and
hundreds of others joined last Friday and Saturday in demonstrations
marking the one year anniversary of the Palestinian Intifada, uprising
against Israeli occupation of Arab land.
Arab leaders warn no end to terrorism without
Ever since last month's hijacked jetliner attacks
on the United States, Arab leaders have warned there will be no end to
terrorism without solving the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Central to their reasoning is the US administration
of President George W. Bush, blatantly shunning its commitments to the
peace process and blindly backing Israel.
Saudi Arabia has branded the US policy in the
Middle East "unfair" and is pressing Washington to revise
its position if it wants to wipe out terrorism.
"If they do not review their position toward
the Palestinian cause, problems will continue even in those countries.
Danger signals are clear and they must face reality," Interior
Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdel Aziz warned.
Qatari emir donates three million dollars to US
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani has
donated three million dollars to the United States in solidarity with
the victims of last month's terror attacks, a newspaper reported
Sheikh Hamad donated one million dollars to the
World Trade Center relief fund, one million to the families of firemen
killed when the center's towers collapsed and one million to the
Cornell University hospital, "which has played a great role in
the aftermath of the attacks," Al-Raya said.
Kuwait Airways cuts flights
Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) announced
Wednesday it was reducing flights to some Arab destinations throughout
October due to the international situation.
Kuwait stock market
The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) lost 0.8 per cent
in the week closing Wednesday, taking the index below the 1,600-point
psychological barrier. The KSE index closed at 1,597.7 points, up 18.5
per cent on the year but still down 43.6 per cent on its all-time high
of November 1997.
Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin
Abdul Aziz, who has major investments in the United States, is seeking
to contain the damage there to the kingdom's image following the
September 11 attacks, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.
Interviewed in his Riyadh office, Prince Alwaleed
said the attacks had not affected his own investment relationship with
US companies, but that things are no longer the same.
Russian companies win Iraq contracts worth $40 bln
Russian companies have won contracts worth 40
billion dollars to help develop Iraq's oil and gas, petrochemical and
industrial sectors, Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammad Mehdi Saleh said
"We agreed a long-term programme of economic
cooperation, under which Russian firms will implement projects in Iraq
worth 40 billion dollars," Saleh said, quoted by the official INA
The programme covers more than 70 projects, 17 of
them in the oil and gas sector, six in the petrochemical field and 15
in industry, Saleh said, without elaborating.
Exports from Russia to Iraq have reached 4.3
billion dollars since the UN oil-for-food programme was introduced at
the end of 1996, Saleh said.
Bush signs Jordan trade deal
President George W. Bush signed a US-Jordan free
trade agreement into law Friday, hours before welcoming Jordan's King
Abdullah II to the White House for talks on combating terrorism, the
White House said.
"The president signed privately the free trade
agreement," Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters.
"The president looks forward to discussing various areas of
cooperation with the king." The commercial accord — negotiated
under Bush's predecessor, Bill Clinton — cleared the US Senate just
four days ago, after languishing in the US Congress for nearly one