Oct 15 - 21, 2001
OIC opposes strikes on any other Muslim country
The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) on
Wednesday opposed the spread of the US-led onslaught on the Taliban in
Afghanistan to any other Muslim country.
The foreign ministers of the 57-member organization
said in a joint statement at the end of an emergency meeting that they
"rejected that any Islamic or Arab country is attacked under the
pretext of the fight against terrorism".
The OIC did not condemn the US-led strikes on
Afghanistan, but instead expressed "concern that they could cause
victims among innocent civilians". It also demanded that the
"territorial integrity and Islamic identity of Afghanistan be
guaranteed".Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri on Tuesday
predicted that his country could be next to face attack.
"We think that the United States may use this
opportunity to...take vengeance against the Iraqi people because Iraq
is not ready to surrender its territory to become a colony for the
United States, Britain and Israel," he told reporters.
Earlier Qatar's Amir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani,
called for a united stance on terrorism.
Speaking on behalf of the ministers present, Sheikh
Hamad also stressed the "need to provide concrete proof of the
blame of presumed perpetrators" of last month's attacks in the
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov echoed the
OIC appeal, telling a special meeting of Russia's upper house of
parliament in Moscow: "The strikes against the territory of
Afghanistan must be surgical. They must target specific individuals
and not the Afghan people." At an earlier meeting in Doha on
Tuesday, Arab League foreign ministers voiced support for the
international fight against terrorism, but could not agree on a common
position on the US-led military attacks on Afghanistan.
"We are all against international terrorism
and we will not tolerate this phenomenon being linked to Islam,"
Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa said. "The UN should be
the pivot of the fight against terrorism," he said.
OPEC oil prices remains below $22 for 10th day
The basket oil price used by OPEC to set its output
remained below the cartel's target band floor of 22 dollars for a 10th
day on Friday, the cartel said on Monday.
Under a price-band mechanism the 10-day period
below the 22-28 dollar target range would trigger an automatic
production cut of 500,000 barrels per day by the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Earlier on Monday an OPEC spokesman said its
ministers were consulting on on how to react to the start of US-led
attacks on Afghanistan, and could make a statement later in the day.
The latest OPEC basket price, based on an average
of seven world crudes, stood at 20.09 dollars on Friday, according to
OPEC secretariat calculations Monday.
OPEC is struggling to react to slumping oil prices
since the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, but decided
at a September 26 meeting to leave its production quotas unchanged.
New York mayor rejects Saudi prince's $10 million
New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on Thursday
rejected a $10 million donation from a Saudi prince, who while
condoling the deaths of thousands of people in the Sept 11 attacks
criticized the American policy in the Middle East.
The donor was Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul
Aziz Alsaud, one of the many foreign visitors, who have gone to the
carnage scene of the World Trade Centre, known as ground zero, with
the mayor since the trade centre attack last month. According to a
report in the New York Times, the prince, who is the chairman of the
Kingdom Holding Company and was No. 6 in July on the Forbes list of
the world's richest people, attended a memorial service at the site
with Mr Giuliani.
There, he gave the mayor a check of $10 million for
the Twin Towers Fund, a charity set up by the mayor primarily for
survivors of uniformed workers, who died. Mr Giuliani initially
accepted the check. With the check was a letter from the prince, in
which he expressed his condolences for "the loss of life that the
city of New York has suffered."
The letter continued, "I would also like to
condemn all forms of terrorism, and in doing so I am reiterating Saudi
Arabia's strong stance against these tragic and horrendous acts."
But the letter did not say what a news release attached to a copy of
the letter did: "However, at times like this one, we must address
some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack. I believe the
government of the United States of America should re-examine its
policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance towards
the Palestinian cause."
The news release attributed the statement to the
prince. The sentiment reflected the tack the Saudis have generally
taken, condemning the Sept 11 attacks while trying to be supportive of
the Palestinian cause. "Our Palestinian brethren continue to be
slaughtered at the hands of Israelis while the world turns the other
cheek", the release read.
Muslim states to discuss effects of WTO membership
Representatives of over 50 Muslim countries will
meet in Jeddah to discuss the effect joining the World Trade
Organization could have on their economies.
Delegates from the WTO, as well as regional and
international bodies, will be taking part. The officials from member
states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference are meeting ahead
of a WTO conference in Qatar next month.
Sources say they will seek to affirm their
countries' desire to become active partners in the new world economic
order, resulting from the liberalization of international trade and
the dismantling of trade barriers between nations.
The two-day meeting is being hosted by the Islamic
Development Bank which has in the past hosted similar consultative
gatherings for OIC countries as part of a series of seminars suggested
by the OIC Standing Committee on Economic and Commercial Cooperation.
US hints at military action against Syria
The United States said on Thursday it could take
military action against countries like Syria later in its campaign
against terrorism if they do not comply with the demands of Washington
and its allies.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage also
told reporters the targets in the campaign include all groups that
threaten the interests of the United States and US allies.
In a later news conference, President George W.
Bush said the United States took Syrian offers of help in the fight
against terrorism seriously but wanted to see results, not just words.
"The Syrians have talked to us about how they
can help in the war against terrorism. We take that seriously and
we'll give them an opportunity to do so," Bush said. But he
added:"I'm a performance-oriented person. I believe in
The United States says it is concentrating for the
moment on its attacks on the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan and Osama
bin Laden's al Qaeda organization, which it blames for the Sept. 11
suicide attacks on New York and Washington.
"Ones (organizations) that are trying to hurt
allied and US interests, I think that's in the main where we will
concentrate next," said Armitage. "We know who has global
reach and is a threat to the United States and our allies."
Asked what the consequences would be if countries
like Syria do not meet US expectations, he said: "The
consequences might be whatever the coalition finds worthy and it runs
the gamut from isolation to financial investigations, all the way up
through possibly military action."
The United States has Syria on its list of
"state sponsors of terrorism" because it hosts Lebanese and
Palestinian organizations that attack US ally Israel. Syria says the
international community should distinguish between terrorism and
groups fighting to free occupied land.
Bush reiterates support for Palestinian state
US President George W. Bush on Thursday reiterated
his support for a Palestinian state as long as it recognizes Israel's
right to exist and said he was taking "seriously" Syria's
offer to help in the global war on terrorism.
"I believe there ought to be a Palestinian
state, the boundaries of which will be negotiated by the parties so
long as the Palestinian state recognizes the right of Israel to exist,
and will treat Israel with respect, and will be peaceful on her
borders," Bush said in his first prime-time nationally televised
Israeli press reports said Bush was preparing to
become further involved in a region that he had largely left to itself
before the September 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington.
They said he would push for establishing a
Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, the aim of the
Palestinians but anathema to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's
government. To add insult to injury, the reports said the plan had
been communicated to Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, but not to
2 die in S. Arabia explosion
Two people were killed and four others were
wounded, all foreigners, when an explosion ripped through an
electronics shop in eastern Saudi Arabia, the official Saudi Press
Agency (SPA) reported.
The agency quoted a police spokesman as saying that
the explosion occurred at about 8 pm local time (1700 GMT) in front of
the shop on King Khalid Street, a shopping area, in the city of al-Khobar.
"Concerned security authorities started investigating the reasons
behind the explosion. Details on the nationalities of the dead and
wounded will be issued later," the spokesman said.
Khobar was the scene of a truck bomb attack in 1996
that killed 19 US servicemen. It was not immediately clear if
foreigners were the target of Saturday's explosion.
Qatar LNG awards contract
Qatar Liquefied Gas Co. gave a Technip and Chiyoda
joint venture a 100 million euro contract to expand the LNG facility
at Ras Laffan on the northeast coast of Qatar.
They will conduct detailed engineering,
procurement, and construction for the debottlenecking of three
liquefied natural gas trains.
The services and works mainly involve replacing or
upgrading some of the key process equipment such as compressors and
turbines in order to expand the capacity of each of the trains from 2
to 3 million tons/year. Work will be executed during four shutdowns
scheduled between 2002 and 2005, the duration of which will be limited
to about 1 month each.
Atofina joins project
Qatar Petroleum Co. Tuesday signed a preliminary
deal for construction of what could eventually become the world's
largest ethane cracker.
The 1 million tonne/year plant at Ras Laffan
Industrial City would come on stream in the second half of 2006. If
expanded to 1.5 million tonnes/year in the second phase, sponsors said
it would be the largest such unit in the world.
A final contract is due to be signed before
yearend. Value of the project was not given. Partners will be Qatar
Petroleum, Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LLC, Chevron Phillips
International Qatar Holdings LLC, Atofina SA, and Qatar Petrochemical
Co. Ltd. (QAPCO), an affiliate of Qatar Petroleum.
ADFD launches projects in Egypt
The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) is
currently undertaking major agricultural, health and housing projects
ADFD Director General Saeed Khalfan Al Rumaithi
said the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation had taken
delivery of the Sheikh Zayed Canal in east Sinai and the extension of
the Hamam Canal.
"The two water projects cost about $85 million
and the first one is designed to carry Nile water through sub-water
pipe under the Suez Canal to irrigate 40,000 acres in the east canal,
while the second will irrigate 148,000 acres," he said.
These projects were ordered by President His
Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh
Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme
Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Canadian shot dead in Kuwait
A Canadian man was shot dead and his wife seriously
injured in a drive-by shooting Wednesday night as they strolled along
a beach south of Kuwait City, security sources said.
The man, identified only as Luke, worked as an
aircraft technician at the emirate's Ahmd Al-Jabr airbase, the sources
His wife was hit by at least three bullets and was
intensive care in the nearby Al-Adan Adan hospital.
She told police that a car had stopped near where
the couple were walking just before midnight and opened fire showering
the couple with bullets.
Kuwait to strip Bin Laden spokesman of nationality
Kuwait is stripping Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the
official spokesman for Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda network, of his
nationality, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported Wednesday.
KUNA said Kuwait's First Deputy Premier and Foreign
Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah told local newspaper editors
in a meeting that his government would withdraw Abu Ghaith's
nationality because of his links to "recent terrorist acts."
Sheikh Sabah said Kuwait denounced Abu Ghaith's
"terrorist actions" and his alleged links to the September
11 terror attacks in the United States, KUNA said.
Israeli tanks, bulldozers raze farmland in Gaza
Israeli armored bulldozers and tanks moved several
hundred meters (yards) into Palestinian-controlled territory in the
southern Gaza Strip Wednesday, razing farmland near a Jewish
settlement, a senior Palestinian security official said.
Khaled Abu Alola, the Palestinian liaison head of
the southern Gaza sector, said three Israeli tanks and four bulldozers
flattened a swathe of farmland and cut down olive trees close to near
the Palestinian town of Al Karara, which is close to the Gush Katif
Jewish settlement bloc.
He said the army had carried out several incursions
in the sector in the past three days, and accused the Israelis of
seizing Palestinian land to build a road to the settlements.
Iran medical centers ready
Medical and emergency centers in Iran's eastern
Sistan Balochistan province are "ready" to take in any
possible Afghan victims of the US and British military strikes against
Afghanistan, the state IRNA news agency said Monday.
Citing a provincial official, IRNA said some 200
medical centers were "ready to take in and provide (medical)
aid" to possible injured Afghan nationals.
Iranian aid teams are also ready to travel to the
refugee camps which have been set up on Afghan territory close to
Iran's eastern border with the country, IRNA said.
Israel shells Lebanese border region
Israeli forces holding the occupied Shebaa Farms
region on the Lebanese border shelled two southern Lebanese villages
Sunday, causing no casualties, police said.
Israeli tanks fired seven shells and bursts of
automatic weapon fire on the villages of Shebaa and Kfar Shuba in the
space of half an hour. At the same time Israeli helicopters flew over
Last Wednesday, Hizbollah fighters fired mortar
rounds on Israeli positions in the Shebaa Farms, triggering Israeli
Tourism to Islamic countries
Iran has put forward a plan aimed at promoting
tourism to Islamic countries in the wake of the attacks on the United
States, a senior official said on Wednesday.
The attacks had painted a negative picture of
Islamic countries and affected tourism but the fallout could be
softened through cooperation, said Mohammad Moeziddin, secretary
general of Iran's Tourism Supreme Council.
"I have made a proposal to arrange for a
special plan for this kind of cooperation between our countries to
decrease the impact of the attacks in the US," he said.
Mohammad, who is also Iran's deputy minister of
culture and islamic guidance, was speaking to reporters after the
opening of a meeting of officials ahead of the Second Islamic
Conference of Tourism Ministers.
UAE cracks down on money laundering
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced Tuesday a
new law cracking down on money laundering as part of world-wide
efforts to dry up financial resources for alleged terrorism.
Offenders face up to seven years in jail and fines
of 300,000 dirhams (82,000 dollars) for transferring or depositing hot
money with intent to conceal its origin.
Money linked to illegal arms deals, drug
trafficking, kidnapping, piracy, terrorism and corruption all fall
under the legislation rubber-stamped Tuesday by the government, the
Emirati news agency WAM reported.
A special anti-money laundering cell will also be
set up at the Central Bank which on September 27 ordered the freezing
of accounts and investments of 26 individuals and organisations
suspected of financing alleged terrorist activities.
Jordan cuts interest rates
Jordan's central bank will cut its discount rate
one half point on Sunday to 5 per cent following similar actions
abroad in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks on the United
States, its governor said.
Omaya Tukan told the press that half-point cuts
will also be applied to the weekly refinance rate, to 6 per cent, and
the interbank rate, to 3.75 per cent.
Iraqi paper: US seeking to control oil-rich Caspian
An Iraqi government newspaper accused the United
States Saturday of seeking to exploit its war against terrorism to
control the oil-rich Caspian basin.
One of the objectives the United States is trying
to achieve under the guise of combating terrorism is "to control
the Caspian Sea region which, according to oil experts, sits on
reserves that could make Western industries operate for decades," Al-Jumhuriya said.
Washington also wants to "check the ability of
the region's nuclear-capable countries to play a role that would run
counter to US strategic objectives," the paper said without
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.
Mohammed, Hariri visit Dubai Internet City
General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,
Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister accompanied visiting
Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafiq Al Hariri, on a tour or Dubai Internet
City and Dubai Media City.