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  • Experts caution reality check on joint Arab force

    Smoke and flames rise from an alleged weapons storage depot at a Shiite Huthi rebel camp after an airstrike by the Saudi-led alliance on March 30, 2015 in the Yemeni capital SanaaDespite an agreement at a weekend Arab summit to establish a joint military force, serious doubts remain that it will become a reality on the ground, experts say. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced the accord on Sunday at the end of the summit he hosted in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, setting a four-month timeframe for the 22-member Arab League to decide on the composition and rules of engagement of the joint force. "The notion of a truly joint Arab military force still remains an aspiration rather than a reality," said Frederic Wehrey, an expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "Despite the statements of unity, there are vast differences between the Arab states and that was evident with the situation in Yemen," he said.

  • PM Modi seeks Saudi help to rescue Indians from Yemen

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pictured here in New Delhi on February 16, 2015, asked Saudi Arabia's new king for his support in efforts to evacuate some 4,000 stranded Indians from war-torn YemenPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked Saudi Arabia's new king for his support in efforts to evacuate some 4,000 stranded Indians from war-torn Yemen. Modi expressed his "deep concern about the safety and welfare of the approximately 4,000 Indian citizens in Yemen" when Saudi King Salman telephoned him late evening, the Indian foreign ministry said. "Prime minister briefed his majesty King Salman on India's evacuation plan and requested his majesty's support and cooperation," a ministry statement said, adding that the king assured Modi of "all possible assistance". India has moved to airlift its citizens from the Middle East country, which has been plunged into chaos by a Huthi Shiite rebellion that has triggered Saudi-backed air strikes on the capital Sanaa.

  • Erdogan says Iran visit still on despite 'domination' row

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 30, 2015 in LjubljanaPresident Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday insisted he was still planning to visit Iran next week, despite a war-of-words with the Islamic republic triggered by the Yemen crisis and his accusations Tehran was seeking domination of the region. Majority Sunni Muslim Turkey has said it supports the Saudi-led operation against Iran-allied Huthi Shiite rebels in Yemen to restore order in the country. Meanwhile Iran announced Monday it had "invited" the Turkish envoy to the foreign ministry for an explanation after Erdogan said last week that Tehran's bid for domination of the region could no longer be tolerated.

  • NATO chief seeks closer cooperation with the European Union
    BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO'S secretary-general wants more joint action with the European Union to face the security challenges coming from Russia and the violent Islamic extremism plaguing some countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

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