The Vice Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Ms. Candith Mashego-Dlamini, has successfully concluded her visit to the Middle East region.
Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini began her visit in Ramallah, Palestine, where she co-chaired the launch of the Strategic Dialogue with her Palestinian counterpart, Deputy Minister Dr. Malki.
At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Malki also expressed Palestine's gratitude to South Africa for her strong stance towards the Palestinian cause.
For her part, Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini praised the efforts and steadfastness of the Palestinian people in defending her just cause.
The two sides stressed the need to maintain the strong relationship connecting the two countries and seek means of cooperation at various levels, including advocating more vigorously for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini headed to Amman, Jordan, where she met with her counterpart, Ambassador Hazem Issam Al Khatib.
Formal diplomatic relations between South Africa and Jordan were established in September 1993.
The two delegations reaffirmed the warm and cordial bilateral and multilateral relations that exist between South Africa and Jordan.
Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini and Ambassador Al Khatib also exchanged views and views on political developments on the African continent and the Middle East. During her visit to Beirut, Lebanon, Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the Speaker of Parliament, HE Nabih Berri.
South Africa and Lebanon enjoy cordial bilateral relations.
Formal diplomatic ties were established in June 1994.
During their deliberations, the South African and Lebanese delegations agreed on the urgent need to seek greater opportunities for cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, among other areas.
In Damascus, Syria, Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini paid a courtesy visit to President Bashar Al-Assad.
South Africa and Syria enjoy cordial bilateral relations.
Formal diplomatic ties were established in June 1994.
Both countries have common positions on issues affecting the Middle East region.
During her visit to Syria, the deputy minister also held meetings with various NGOs and multilateral organizations.
Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, on Thursday reiterated his commitment to achieving justice for the victims of the explosions that rocked the Beirut port in 2020. “I assure the families of the victims that I am committed to achieving justice by revealing the complete truth through an impartial judicial process away from any fraud, discretion or injustice.
“I will hold accountable all those who are involved, because no one is above the law,” Aoun said on the second anniversary of the tragic explosions.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati, wished the souls of the victims rest in peace and the hearts of their loved ones soothed.
“We will not reach justice without punishing the criminals.
There will be no resurrection for Lebanon without complete justice, no matter how long it takes,” he said.
The families of the port blast victims on Thursday held a march in memory of their lost loved ones demanding authorities continue investigations into the accident.
The Beirut port was rocked by two big explosions on Aug. 4, 2020, killing over 200 people and wounding more than 6,000 others.
The blasts destroyed a big part of the city and had negative repercussions on the country’s economy.
People gather as an ambulance drives following the sinking of a boat off the coast of Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli, outside the port of Tripoli, Lebanon April 23, 2022. (Reuters photo)
Beiruit, April 24, 2022 Six people died when a boat capsized off the Lebanese coast of Tripoli overnight, including at least one child, Lebanese Transport Minister, Ali Hamie, told Reuters.
The small dinghy carrying around 60 people sunk off the coat on Saturday night with both Lebanese and Syrians aboard.
Hamie told Reuters that a young girl’s body was retrieved on Saturday night and that the army had recovered another five on Sunday morning.
The army had previously said the vessel had left the coast illegally.
In a press conference on Sunday, it said naval forces had crashed into the dinghy as the smuggler in charge tried to evade the military.
“The Lebanese military saved at least 47 people, but we don’t know how many more are missing because we don’t know the total number of those aboard,’’ said Hamie.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced a national day of mourning on Monday.
Lebanon’s economic crisis has seen the local currency lose more than 90 per cent of its value and pushed waves of Lebanese as well as Syrian refugees to try the dangerous sea journey to Europe on small dinghies.
Lebanese citizen Kassem al-Zoeibi, whose relatives survived the accident, said they had tried to flee Lebanon out of desperation.
“Why did they chose this way? It is because there is no way but this way,’’ he told Reuters.
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, Najat Rochdi, expressed her condolences on Sunday and said UN agencies were on the ground to help.
“It’s horrific to see deprivation still pushing people to take a perilous journey across the seas, sacrificing their lives and that of their children in search of a dignified life,’’ Rochdi posted on Twitter. (
At least six people were killed, including a little girl, and almost 50 more were rescued after a migrant boat capsized off the coast of Lebanon, state media said, in the latest tragedy at sea off the crisis-hit country. .
The ship capsized on Saturday night near the northern port city of Tripoli, the starting point for a growing number of people attempting a potentially lethal sea escape.
The deadly crash, weeks before parliamentary elections scheduled for May 15, is not the first of its kind for the crisis-hit country grappling with its worst financial collapse in history.
But it marks a grim reminder of the suffering behind a growing number of people, including Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees, who risk their lives at sea in search of a better future abroad.
“Army naval forces managed to rescue 48 people and recover the body of a dead girl… from a boat that sank while trying to remove them illegally,” the army said in a statement.
He said the ship that set sail from the Qalamoun region, south of Tripoli, capsized due to overcrowding and high water levels that nearly flooded the ship.
"Most of the people on board were rescued," the army said, without specifying their nationalities or how many were still missing.
"Sea, land and air operations are underway to rescue the missing," he said.
The military said a man was arrested for his alleged role in the smuggling operation.
The military recovered five bodies off the coast of Tripoli on Sunday, the state-run National News Agency reported, revising an earlier count of eight dead, hours after the body of a young girl was washed ashore.
One of the survivors claimed that an army boat was chasing the migrant boat and causing it to sink.
"The patrol boat crashed into us twice... to drown us," the man told AFP at the port, before being silenced and led away by a crowd of relatives of the survivors.
Last November, a boat carrying dozens of would-be migrants also capsized off the coast of Tripoli after being chased by the Lebanese army.
The passengers were rescued and towed back to shore.
'destined to die'
Lebanon, which has a "return" agreement with Cyprus to avoid crossings, is mired in an unprecedented financial crisis, with the currency losing more than 90 percent of its value and most of the population living below the threshold. of poverty.
The economic crisis has led to a surge in sea crossings out of the country, with increasing numbers of Lebanese joining the ranks of Syrian and Palestinian refugees trying to cross illegally into Europe.
The UN refugee agency says at least 1,570 people, 186 of them Lebanese, left or attempted to leave Lebanon illegally by sea between January and November 2021.
Most hoped to reach European Union member Cyprus, an island 175 kilometers (110 miles) away.
This is more than 270 passengers, including 40 Lebanese, in 2019.
Lebanon's Transport and Public Works Minister Ali Hamie, who visited the port of Tripoli after the latest incident, called it a "major catastrophe".
Meanwhile, calls circulated on social media for protests to be held on Sunday outside the Tripoli home of Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
Relatives of those aboard the wrecked ship gathered at the port entrance awaiting news of their loved ones.
“My nephew has five children and his wife is pregnant with twins. He was trying to escape hunger and poverty,” said a man waiting to enter the port.
Nissrine Merheb was also waiting for news of her two cousins and their children also on board the ship.
"The people of Tripoli are destined to die," he wrote in a Facebook post.
“Even when we are trying to run away from the filth of politicians and their corruption… death catches up with us,” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron met with the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on Saturday to discuss regional stability, particularly crisis-stricken Lebanon, after insisting he has not ignored Riyadh's rights record. .
Macron landed in the kingdom's Red Sea city after visiting the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as part of a short tour of the Gulf.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shook hands with Macron, who was wearing a face mask, and welcomed him into the royal palace before talks and a lunch together.
He becomes one of the first Western leaders to meet Prince Mohammed in the kingdom since Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated and dismembered inside the Riyadh consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
The killing of Saudi agents seriously tarnished Prince Mohammed's international image.
Dialogue with Saudi Arabia was necessary to "work for stability in the region," Macron said on Friday.
However, he added in a reference to the Khashoggi murder that "it doesn't mean he endorses anything."
"I note that Saudi Arabia had organized the G20 summit ... not many powers boycotted the G20," despite the Khashoggi affair, Macron said.
"We have always been clear on the issue of human rights or in this case."
Riyadh has described the killing as a "rogue" operation, but both the US Central Intelligence Agency and a United Nations special rapporteur have directly linked Prince Mohammed to the murder, a charge the kingdom vehemently denies.
During his discussions with Prince Mohammed, Macron is expected to make the case for Lebanon, where an economic crisis has been exacerbated by a diplomatic dispute unleashed in October between Beirut and some Gulf states, notably Saudi Arabia, which had blocked the imports.
Their efforts are likely to get a boost from the resignation of Lebanese information minister Georges Kordahi, whose remarks about Saudi intervention in the Yemen war sparked the dispute.
'Role to play'
Macron welcomed Kordahi's departure on Friday, saying he hopes "to re-engage all the Gulf countries in relations with Lebanon."
The French president has spearheaded international efforts to help Lebanon emerge from its worst economic recession.
The country's fragile government has been struggling to secure international aid, particularly from wealthy Arab powers.
Kordahi said on Friday that his resignation, which he had initially ruled out, became inevitable earlier this week when he met with Lebanon's prime minister.
"I understood from Prime Minister Najib Mikati ... that the French want my resignation before Macron's visit to Riyadh because maybe it could help them start a dialogue with Saudi officials on Lebanon and the future of bilateral relations," he said Kordahi to reporters.
Lebanon's ties with the Gulf states have also grown increasingly strained in recent years due to the growing influence of the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah movement.
Macron said France had a role to play in the region.
"But how can we work for regional stability and in Lebanon and many other issues while ignoring the first Gulf state in terms of geography and size?" he said, referring to the kingdom, which is the largest economy in the Arab world and the world's largest oil exporter.
On Friday, the UAE signed a record 14 billion euros ($ 15.8 billion) contract for 80 French Rafale fighter jets and pledged billions of euros in other deals during Macron's stopover.
Human Rights Watch criticized the sale, saying the Emirates have played "a leading role in the atrocity-ridden military operations of the Saudi-UAE-led coalition in Yemen."
He said that Riyadh was the largest buyer of French arms in 2020.
Both the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen and the coalition-backed forces have been accused of failing to protect civilians during Yemen's seven-year war.
The Saudi-led coalition intervened in 2015 to support the internationally recognized government of Yemen. The UAE is still part of the alliance, but began a troop reduction in 2019.
From the UAE, Macron headed to Qatar, where he thanked the emirate for its efforts to evacuate 258 vulnerable Afghans to France via Doha, following the takeover of the country by the Taliban in August.
Source Credit: TheGuardian