IRAN WANTS US TO SHOW GOODWILL PRIOR TO NUCLEAR DEAL

US President Joe Biden should lift some sanctions on Iran to show his goodwill towards reviving the international nuclear agreement with Tehran, Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Sunday, a report said on April 10. Iran and the United States have engaged in indirect talks in Vienna over the past year to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement which then-US President Donald Trump left in 2018. Negotiations have now stalled as Tehran and Washington blame each other for failing to take the necessary political decisions to settle remaining issues. “If Biden has intentions to lift sanctions and return to the nuclear deal, he should issue an executive order to show his goodwill instead of applying sanctions on natural and legal persons in Iran,” the foreign minister said. “On multiple occasions, we have told Americans they should bring forward one or two practical points prior to any agreement, for example by releasing some of Iran’s assets withheld in foreign banks,” Amirabdollahian added.

EGYPT IMPRISONS 14 MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD LEADERS

The Egyptian Supreme State Security Criminal Court at the Tura Courts Complex, on April 7 issued a judgment convicting defendants in the case known in the media as “returnees from Kuwait” with penalties ranging from life to rigorous imprisonment. The convicts included 14 defendants from the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood group opposed to the ruling. Among the defendants in the case are: Samir Younis Al-Khudari, head of the administrative office for members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait, Abu Bakr al-Fayoumi, Hussam Muhammad Al-Adel, Najeh Awad Bahloul, Moamen Abu Al-Wafa, Abd Al-Rahman Muhammad, Abd Al-Rahman Ibrahim, Walid Suleiman Muhammad, Islam Eid, Khaled Al-Mahdi, Muhammad Khalaf, Islam Ali and Faleh Hassan. Kuwait handed over the arrested persons to Egyptian security in mid-2019. At that time, the Muslim Brotherhood responded and confirmed that the arrested persons were Egyptian citizens who entered Kuwait and worked according to the legal procedures regulating expatriates’ residence in Kuwait. None of them was proven to have violated the laws of the country. Human Rights Watch criticised the Kuwaiti step, considering the deportation: “Violates Kuwait’s obligations under international law.”

COUNCIL MEMBER HERALDS MOVE TO SOLVE SUDAN CRISIS

Member of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan and head of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), El Hadi Idris, revealed on April 8 that the disputed parties are close to concluding an agreement on a “common vision” to end the current political crisis in the country. This came in a speech delivered by Idris during a graduation ceremony of more than fifty graduates of the Holy Qur’ān memorisers in the Mowailih suburb, west of the capital Khartoum. The statement declared: “El Hadi Idris announced an imminent agreement between the Sudanese parties on a common vision to end the current crisis that the country is witnessing.” “The SRF, based on its national responsibility in this critical juncture the country is going through, has proposed a national initiative to unite the Sudanese people to set a comprehensive handling of the situation in the country. It is expected that the results of the initiative will appear soon,” the statement expressed.

IRAQ ENTERS CONSTITUTIONAL VACUUM

After Parliament failed several times this year to elect a new president, Iraq has entered a constitutional vacuum. These events led to the end of the constitutional deadline set by the Federal Supreme Court on April 6. This required the court to resort to legal jurisprudence and issue a decision to continue the term of current President Barham Salih until a new president is elected. Since its first session on February 9, Parliament has been unable to elect a president from 40 candidates led by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) candidate, the current president, Barham Salih, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s candidate, Rebar Ahmed. Iraqi Parliament failed twice during the past week to hold a session to elect the president of the republic because the required quorum of two-thirds of the 329 MPs had not been met. The tripartite Alliance to Save the Homeland, consisting of the Sadrist Movement, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Sunni Alliance, which is calling for the formation of a national majority government, failed to mobilise the largest number of votes to meet the required threshold.

IMRAN KHAN OUSTED IN PARLIAMENT NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE

Pakistan’s parliament voted out Prime Minister Imran Khan in a no-confidence motion late Saturday (April 9), capping a month-long political turmoil that gripped the nation of 220 million. As many as 174 lawmakers voted in favour of the no-trust motion, two more than the required 172 for a simple majority in the 324-member National Assembly, the lower house of parliament. It is the first time a Pakistani prime minister has ever been ousted by a no-confidence motion put forward by the opposition. The session was presided by Ayaz Sadiq, a former chair of the house, as Asad Qaiser and Qasim Suri, the speaker and deputy speaker, respectively, stepped down minutes before voting began. The combined opposition, led by the Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, had submitted the no-confidence motion on March 8.

TURKEY HAILS PROGRESS IN AZERBAIJAN-ARMENIA PEACE

Turkey on April 8 welcomed the progress made toward an Azerbaijan-Armenia peace treaty during a meeting of the leaders of the two countries and the head of the European Council. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and European Council President Charles Michel held discussions in Brussels on April 6. Ankara welcomes the decision of Azerbaijan and Armenia “to instruct their respective ministers of foreign affairs to begin preparations for a peace treaty as well as their agreement on the establishment of a joint border commission by the end of April between the two countries,” read a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement. “Turkey supports and actively contributes to the efforts for establishing peace and stability in the region,” the ministry said. After the April 6 meeting, Michel announced that Aliyev and Pashinyan agreed to launch a “concrete process” for peace talks and made “a lot of progress.”

Image with caption: 167 cyclists competing in 1st stage from Aegean tourism hub Bodrum to beach resort town of Kusadasi

TOUR OF TURKEY KICKS OFF ALONG SCENIC AEGEAN ROUTE

The 57th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey commenced from the Aegean tourism hub of Bodrum on April 10. A total of 167 racers from 25 teams are competing in the first stage of what is the world’s only intercontinental cycling competition. They will cover 207 kilometres (129 miles) from Bodrum in Mugla province to the beach resort town of Kusadasi in neighbouring Aydin province, a scenic route in a region known for its rich history and mesmerizing natural beauty. The eight-stage race spans a total distance of 1,303 kilometres (810 miles) and will culminate in Turkey’s most iconic city Istanbul on April 17. The racers will change continents at three different points – from Asia to Europe on the sixth day, returning to Istanbul’s Asian side in the latter stages and then crossing to the metropolis’ European part again.

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