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Middle East countries voice concern over military escalation after alleged Israeli attack on Iran

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Countries in the Middle East have voiced their concern over military escalation in the region after Israel on Friday allegedly struck sites near the city of Isfahan, central Iran, in what appeared to be its military response to Iran’s recent retaliatory attack.

In a statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry called on the two sides to exercise the utmost restraint and to fully comply with the rules of international law and the UN Charter, warning against widening the conflict and instability in the region.

Egypt stressed that it will continue to intensify communications with all concerned and influential parties to contain the ongoing escalation and tension.

In addition, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the ministry “is constantly monitoring the tension in the region,” expressing its deep concern about the attack targeting Isfahan on Friday morning.

The ministry said that the escalation must not distract attention from the destruction and loss of innocent lives in the Gaza Strip, renewing its call on the international community to perform its duties and work to stop the suffering of the Palestinian people, according to the statement.

Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi on Friday stressed the need to reduce the dangerous escalation in the region and reiterated that “Jordan will not allow it to be turned into an arena of conflict between Iran and Israel and to endanger its security and the safety of its citizens.”

Safadi, who also serves as the Jordanian foreign minister, added on social media platform X that “the current escalation only serves to divert attention away from the Israeli aggression on Gaza, stopping which must be the priority.”

The Israeli attack came after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confirmed Saturday that it had launched missile and drone attacks on Israel in retaliation for earlier airstrikes by Israel on April 1 on the Iranian consulate building in the Syrian capital of Damascus, which killed seven Iranians.

So far, Israel has not officially acknowledged the strikes on Isfahan, while Iran has not publicly accused Israel of carrying them out.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned the Israeli strikes on Syrian military sites earlier in the day as a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty and a threat to regional stability.

In a statement, the ministry warned that such actions could escalate tensions in the region, potentially leading to a broader conflict, and urged the international community, including the UN Security Council, to condemn the attack and take decisive measures to halt the “crimes” committed by Israel.

In the early hours of Friday, the Israeli military launched a series of airstrikes targeting Syrian air defense sites in the southern region, according to the Syrian Defense Ministry. The strikes caused material losses, while no casualties were reported, it added.

The attack was also confirmed by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reported that more than six Israeli aircraft were observed flying intensively in southern Syria.

The radar battalion responsible for monitoring the airspace, located in the east of Syria’s Daraa province, was targeted, the war monitor added.

Source(s): CGTN

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China, Japan agree to a new round of high-level economic dialogue

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China and Japan on Sunday agreed to enhance dialogue and communication at various levels and convene a new round of bilateral high-level economic dialogue at an appropriate time as Chinese Premier Li Qiang met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the ninth Trilateral Summit Meeting among China, Japan and South Korea in Seoul.

Li said the Chinese and Japanese economies are now closely intertwined and there is huge potential for cooperation in scientific and technological innovation, digital economy, green development and exploring the third markets.

China and Japan should help each other succeed, jointly maintain stable and unimpeded industrial and supply chains, and safeguard the global free trade system, Li said.

He added that China is willing to continue to carry out friendly exchanges with Japan in various fields, through various channels and at various levels, further facilitate people-to-people exchanges and actively carry out youth exchanges, so as to consolidate public support for China-Japan friendly cooperation.

On the release of the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated wastewater, Li said it bears on the health of humanity, the global marine environment and international public interests, and China is highly concerned about it. It’s hoped that Japan can further demonstrate sincerity and constructive attitude to address legitimate global concerns and earnestly fulfill its responsibilities and obligations, Li said.

He also talked about the Taiwan question, saying the Taiwan question is at the core of China’s interests and it’s a red line. It is hoped that Japan will honor its promise and create a positive atmosphere for the continuous development of bilateral relations, said Li.

He called on Japan to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, properly manage differences, continuously deepen cooperation and build a constructive and stable China-Japan relationship.

For his part, Kishida said Japan is willing to promote the sound and long-term development of bilateral relations and Japan adheres to its position on the Taiwan question as stated in the Japan-China Joint Statement signed in 1972.

Japan also stands ready to work with China to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, maintain high-level exchanges, strengthen cooperation in such fields as green economy, medical care, third-party markets, facilitate personnel exchanges, deepen regional cooperation, and jointly tackle climate change and other global issues, Kishida said.

The two sides also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern.

Source(s): CGTN

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Yemen’s Houthis unilaterally release 113 detainees: ICRC

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SANAA, May 26 (Xinhua) — Yemen’s Houthi group unilaterally released 113 detainees in the Houthi-held Yemeni capital Sanaa on Sunday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

“We are pleased to see that humanitarian considerations are being prioritized, particularly for the families eagerly awaiting the return of their loved ones, especially with the approach of the Eid al-Adha celebrations in a few weeks,” said Daphnee Maret, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Yemen.

“We hope this paves the way for further releases,” Maret said.

The ICRC said it had conducted private pre-departure interviews with the detainees to confirm their identities, and “listen to any concerns they may have about the release process, ensure they have been in contact with their families, and gather the necessary information to follow up on their condition if needed,” said Alessia Bertelli, protection coordinator of the ICRC in Yemen.

The ICRC said the latest release, as well as previous ones in 2023 and 2020, is a positive step towards reviving negotiations between the Yemeni government and the Houthis.

In April 2023, nearly 900 prisoners were released following UN-sponsored negotiations between the Yemeni government and the Houthi group. High-profile figures, including Nasser Mansour Hadi, the brother of former Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and Mahmoud Al Subeihi, the country’s former defense minister, were among those who were freed.

The UN has been making efforts to release all detainees, mostly political opponents, human rights activists and journalists, and reach a political settlement between the Yemeni warring parties.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed internationally-recognized government out of Sanaa.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Chinese premier urges China, South Korea to seize more development opportunities

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Chinese Premier Li Qiang on Sunday called on South Korea to work with the Chinese side to grasp the general direction of friendship and mutual trust between the two countries, and respect each other’s core interests and major concerns.

It is hoped that the two sides can be each other’s friendly neighbor of mutual trust and partner of mutual achievement, and promote a sound, steady and substantial development of China-South Korea relations, Li said when meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul.

The industrial and supply chains of China and South Korea are deeply intertwined, and the two sides should seize more development opportunities together, he said.

China is ready to deepen cooperation with South Korea in areas such as high-end manufacturing, new energy, artificial intelligence and biomedicine, he said.

China will further expand market access and strengthen guarantees for foreign investment. It welcomes South Korean companies to invest in China, he added.

The two sides should also oppose turning economic and trade issues into political or security issues, and maintain stable and smooth industrial and supply chains of the two countries and the world, he added.

Li said China is willing to strengthen coordination with South Korea in multilateral fields and jointly promote world peace and development.

Yoon said South Korea adheres to the one-China principle and this position remains unchanged.

He said his country is willing to expand economic and trade cooperation, strengthen people-to-people exchanges with China, deepen cooperation among South Korea, China and Japan, and promote further development of South Korea-China ties.

Both sides agreed to accelerate the second phase of the Free Trade Agreement negotiations between the two countries.

They also agreed to launch a high-level diplomacy dialogue and a security dialogue at an appropriate time, promote people-to-people exchanges and youth exchanges, as well as further facilitate exchanges between people of the two countries.

Li arrived in Seoul on Sunday to attend the ninth trilateral summit meeting of China, Japan and South Korea.

Source(s): CGTN

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