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UAE: Israel deal should remove any hurdle to F-35 sales | News

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The United Arab Emirates’s accord to normalise ties with Israel should remove “any hurdle” for the United States to sell the F-35 stealth fighter jet to the Gulf Arab state, a senior Emirati official said.

The US has sold the F-35 to allies – including Turkey, South Korea, Japan and Israel – but sales to the Gulf require a deeper review because of American policy for Israel to maintain a military advantage in the Middle East.

“We have legitimate requests that are there. We ought to get them … The whole idea of a state of belligerency or war with Israel no longer exists,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in an online interview with the Atlantic Council on Thursday.

However, he said the UAE had not made any new requests to the Americans since the deal with Israel was announced last week.

“The UAE expects that its requirements will be accepted and we feel that with the signing of this peace treaty in the coming weeks or months … that any hurdle towards this should no longer be there,” Gargash said.

The Gulf state, one of Washington’s closest Middle Eastern allies, has long expressed interest in acquiring the fighter jet made by Lockheed Martin Corp, which Israel has used in combat.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country would oppose any sale, citing a need to maintain Israeli military superiority in the region.

‘Qualitative Military Edge’

Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s under-secretary of defence for acquisition and sustainment and a leader in the US weapons export process, told reporters in general the US aims to reach a letter of agreement for new F-35 sales in about six months.

US President Donald Trump’s said on Wednesday: “They’d like to buy F-35s, we’ll see what happens, it’s under review.”

Washington guarantees Israel receives more advanced American weapons than Arab states, giving it what is labelled a “Qualitative Military Edge” over its neighbours.

In the region, only Israel now flies the F-35 fighter jet as a planned purchase by Turkey collapsed over Ankara purchasing Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile system.

Gargash has repeatedly said the UAE’s decision to open diplomatic ties with Israel had nothing to do with Iran. However, the UAE’s government long has considered Iran its top regional threat.

For the UAE, its pilots have seen the F-35 in action as US Air Force squadrons flying the stealth fighter have rotated in and out of Al-Dhafra Air Base near Abu Dhabi since 2019 [File: Kyodo via Reuters]

Netanyahu repeatedly denied there was any link between arms deals and opening ties to the Emirates. That was met with scepticism in Israel, particularly amid accusations he bypassed Israel’s defence establishment in agreeing to a past German sale of advanced submarines to Egypt.

Critics have accused Netanyahu of lying over a key element that is believed to have clinched the deal for the UAE. Netanyahu’s defence minister and governing partner, former military chief Benny Gantz, said he was kept in the dark about the UAE deal until the last minute.

“Israel must never forget, not even for a split second, that any dent in its strength is liable to pull the rug out from under its feet in the long term,” said Amos Gilead, director of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center.

“Intentions are fluid and vulnerable to rapid changes.”

‘Defence aspect’

For the UAE, its pilots have seen the F-35 in action as US Air Force squadrons flying the stealth fighter have rotated in and out of Al-Dhafra Air Base near Abu Dhabi since 2019. The Emirati air force has dozens of F-16s and French-made Mirage 2000s already in service.

But the F-35s would provide a far-greater edge over Iran, whose air force largely dates back to purchases made before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and includes some locally built aircraft. The F-35’s stealth capability also make it far more difficult for Iranian anti-aircraft batteries, already internationally criticised for shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet in January, to pick up.

The UAE has repeatedly sought to buy armed American Reaper drones. It already used Chinese-made armed drones on the battlefield in Yemen, where the Emirates joined a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels there who hold the capital. That war, which began in 2015, has become the worlds worst humanitarian crisis.

Responding to questions on Thursday about its efforts to buy the F-35, the Emirati foreign ministry said the UAE-Israel agreement will eventually include “a security and defence aspect”.

Meanwhile, Gargash said when the normalisation agreement with Israel is formally signed, “Abu Dhabi will have its embassy in Tel Aviv based on international consensus to a two-state solution” with the Palestinians.

“The embassy will be in Tel Aviv. This is very clear,” he said.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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