The consortium will represent the 12 participating universities and work with the federal government, businesses and not-for-profit organisations to identify best practice models of refugee education…reports Asian Lite News
Twelve Australian universities have established a new consortium to help build pathways to higher education for refugees, it was announced on Monday.
Led by Canberra’s Australian National University (ANU) , the Australian Refugee Welcome University Sponsorship Consortium (ARWUSC) will offer refugees in the country who were displaced by conflict the opportunity to restart their education, reports Xinhua news agency.
Bronwyn Parry, a leading global health and social medicine researcher from ANU and co-lead of ARWUSC, said in a media release that the formation of the new organisation marks the start of a new chapter in Australia’s refugee history.
“Refugees have historically made a very important contribution to modern Australia, building the successful, harmonious multicultural society we have today. They have also made significant inputs to our economy and can play a key role in driving our future prosperity and social wellbeing,” she said.
The consortium will represent the 12 participating universities and work with the federal government, businesses and not-for-profit organisations to identify best practice models of refugee education.
The government has committed to increasing Australia’s humanitarian refugee intake to 20,000 places in the financial year 2023-24, an increase of 2,125 from 2022-23.
Brian Schmidt, the Vice-Chancellor of ANU, said the consortium would deliver long-term benefits to Australia by offering opportunities to “extremely talented” young people who have had their educational journey disrupted.
“We need to do something to address this, and this team of higher education experts, led by ANU, is leading the charge with the help of the Australian government,” he said.
Sisi also hailed the current momentum of the relations between Egypt and Iraq…reports Asian Lite News
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met with visiting Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi in Cairo, where they discussed ways of further promoting bilateral relations, said the Egyptian presidency.
During the meeting, the Egyptian President highlighted “the distinguished Egyptian-Iraqi relations and Egypt’s keenness to further promote cooperation between the two countries in all fields,” said Egyptian presidential spokesman Ahmed Fahmy in a statement on Sunday.
Sisi also hailed the current momentum of the relations between Egypt and Iraq, whether at the bilateral level or through the tripartite cooperation mechanism with Jordan, Xinhua news agency reported.
For his part, the Iraqi Parliament Speaker highlighted Baghdad’s close bilateral relations with Cairo.
“He also praised Egypt’s role in restoring stability in Iraq and contributions to consolidate security, stability and development in the region and strengthen Arab unity,” said the statement.
Syrian FM in Egypt
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held talks with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad, who is visiting Cairo for the first time in more than a decade, said the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.
The two Ministers “discussed various aspects of bilateral relations and means of advancing and promoting them … in addition to a number of regional and international issues of common concern,” said Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid in a statement on Saturday.
Shoukry reiterated Egypt’s full support to efforts aiming at reaching “a comprehensive political settlement” and achieving national reconciliation in Syria, Xinhua news agency reported.
Achieving a comprehensive political settlement “will put an end to foreign interference in Syrian affairs, guarantee the restoration of full security and stability of Syria, preserve its territorial integrity and sovereignty, protect its people’s resources and eliminate all forms of terrorism,” he said.
Syria’s political settlement will also allow the voluntary and safe return of millions of Syrian refugees, he added.
For his part, Mekdad expressed his country’s appreciation for Egypt’s “supportive role” over the past years as well as Egypt’s humanitarian relief assistance offered following the devastating earthquake in Syria in February.
The Syrian Foreign Minister hoped for “more Arab solidarity with Syria in order to overcome its crisis and restore its historical role in supporting Arab causes”.
Syria has been shunned by many Arab states and its Arab League membership has been suspended since the Syrian conflict started in 2011.
During the talks, Sisi highlighted Egypt’s unwavering support for Iraq and its people at all levels…reports Asian Lite News
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani here to discuss issues of mutual interest.
During the meeting on Sunday, the two leaders agreed that sustained coordination is a must for facing challenges and restoring peace and stability in the region, according to the Egyptian Presidency.
Sisi highlighted Egypt’s unwavering support for Iraq and its people at all levels, particularly in the fight against terrorism and for the country’s security and stability, Xinhua news agency reported.
Egypt is willing to diversify and put into work various frameworks of political, economic, and cultural cooperation with Iraq, Sisi said, stressing the need to intensify cooperation within the framework of the Trilateral Cooperation Mechanism among Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.
For his part, al-Sudani lauded the firm and historical bonds between the two countries and Egypt’s efforts to support Iraq at all levels.
In this respect, he appreciated the “prominent role” that Egypt has played in forwarding the mechanisms of joint Arab action to maintain peace and development in spite of challenges in the region.
The two sides discussed issues of common interest, including border situation, adding the Iraqi government has taken measures to protect its border with Iran..reports Asian Lite News
Visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian held meetings with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad on border situation, bilateral cooperation and regional security.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said at a joint press conference with Amir-Abdollahian that the two sides discussed issues of common interest, including border situation, adding the Iraqi government has taken measures to protect its border with Iran from being used to launch attack against neighbouring countries, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Iraq’s Constitution prohibits the use of Iraq’s lands to attack neighbouring countries,” he told reporters.
For his part, Amir-Abdollahian told reporters that Iran supports strengthening Iraq’s security and sovereignty in confronting terrorism.
The top Iranian diplomat also thanked the Iraqi counterpart for “his endeavours to bridge the views of all parties” in an effort to facilitate Iran’s normalization talks with Saudi Arabia and Egypt respectively.
Amir-Abdollahian also met with Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid later in the day, where Rashid said the two countries could contribute to enhancing security and stability in the region, according to the Iraqi presidency’s statement.
During a separate meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani, the two sides emphasised the importance of enhancing bilateral cooperation in security, economic and cultural fields, according to an official statement.
The Turkish air operation came after last Sunday’s terror attack that rocked Istanbul’s crowded Istiklal Avenue and killed at least six people and left 81 injured.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday indicated that he could go beyond air strikes and launch a ground operation in northern Iraq and northern Syria to eliminate the terror threat, according to Anadolu Agency.
While talking to the reporters after returning from Qatar to Turkey, Erdogan said, “This is not limited to just an air operation.”
“As we’ve said before, if someone disturbs our country and lands, we will make them pay the price. So, there are terrorist organizations in our south that are planning many attacks or that carry out such attacks and pose a threat (to Turkiye),” he added.
These remarks came after Turkey launched Operation Claw-Sword, a cross-border aerial campaign against the terror group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)/YPP which has an illegal hideout across Iraq and Syrian borders, reported Anadolu Agency.
The Turkish air operation came after last Sunday’s terror attack that rocked Istanbul’s crowded Istiklal Avenue and killed at least six people and left 81 injured.
After the attack, Turkish police arrested the suspect who planted the bomb on Istanbul’s Istiklal street.
“We consider it to be a terrorist act as a result of an attacker, whom we consider to be a woman, detonating the bomb,” CNN quoted Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktayas saying on Sunday.
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said that CCTV footage shows a woman sitting on a bench for more than 40 minutes and then getting up one or two minutes before the explosion, leaving a bag or plastic bag behind. He further informed that earlier, a woman, who was suspected of being involved in the attack, was kept in custody.
Bozdag, who made the comments in an interview with privately-owned A Haber news channel, said Turkish security forces believe the woman is the suspect, and officials are investigating her, according to CNN.
The Turkish National Defense Ministry said the operation was carried out in line with the right of self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter, as per the Anadolu Agency report.
Erdogan said nearly 70 aircraft, including armed drones, took part in the operation and added that a total of 89 terror targets, including shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels, and ammunition depots were destroyed.
“At this point, 45 terrorist targets at a depth of approximately 140 km (87 mi) in northern Iraq, and 44 targets at a depth of about 20 km (12 miles) in Syria were hit,” he added.
Asked if Turkey talked about this operation with Russia and the US, Erdogan recalled the Sochi deal between Ankara and Moscow to remove the terrorists from north-eastern Syria bordering the country, reported Anadolu Agency.
“They had the responsibility to clear the terrorists from the area. Unfortunately, even though we reminded them many times over and over, they did not do this… We said that we would not remain silent against this and that we would take steps against the terrorists there if they could not do it,” Anadolu Agency quoted him saying. (ANI)
According to the power-sharing system in Iraq after 2003, the presidency should be reserved for the Kurds, the Speaker’s post for the Sunnis, and the Prime Minister’s post for the Shias….reports Asian Lite News
Iraq’s Parliament has decided to hold a session on Thursday dedicated to electing the next President of the country.
On Tuesday, Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi announced the decision in a press release after a regular session, noting that the agenda for Thursday’s session would only include the election of the President, reports Xinhua news agency.
According to the power-sharing system in Iraq after 2003, the presidency should be reserved for the Kurds, the Speaker’s post for the Sunnis, and the Prime Minister’s post for the Shias.
So far, disagreement persists between the two major Kurdish parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, over the position of the President.
On Monday, Muhsen al-Mandalawi, first deputy of Parliament Speaker, said in a statement that some 170 lawmakers submitted a request to hold a session on Wednesday dedicated to electing the next president of the country, in an attempt to end the political deadlock a year after the October 10 elections last year.
Political tensions in Iraq have escalated in the past months between the Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and Sadrist Movement, the biggest winner in the October parliamentary elections in 2021, and his rivals in the Shia parliamentary parties in the Coordination Framework (CF).
Al-Sadr demanded in the past weeks to dissolve Parliament and hold early elections, but his demands were rejected by the CF parties which became the largest bloc after al-Sadr ordered his followers to withdraw from Parliament in June.
Over the past months, persistent disputes between the Shia parties have hampered the formation of a new government, which requires a two-thirds majority of the 329-seat Parliament under the Iraqi constitution.
Iraqi FM made the remarks when meeting with GCC Secretary-General Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, reports Asian Lite News
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said ohis government is interested in developing relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries at all levels.
Hussein made the remarks when meeting with GCC Secretary-General Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, where “the two sides discussed ways to enhance cooperation”, the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad said in a statement.
The Minister said the Iraqi government is interested in developing relations with the GCC countries at all levels and called on foreign companies to invest in Iraqi infrastructure.
For his part, Al-Hajraf affirmed “GCC’s support for the security and stability of Iraq”, stressing the keenness of GCC countries to advance their relations with Iraq in the service of common interests, reports Xinhua news agency.
The two sides also discussed some regional and international issues of common concern, especially the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war on food security and the need to work collectively to confront the possible repercussions of the crisis.
The protests began after competing political factions failed to agree on the formation of a new government.
Supporters of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr reached the Iraqi Prime Minister’s building on Saturday, following the protest against the nomination for Prime Minister by rival Iran-backed parties.
Meanwhile, Iraqi security closed the roads to the building of the Supreme Judicial Council, Al Arabia reported adding that a leader in the Sadrist movement urged peaceful demonstrations in front of the Judicial Council.
Demonstrators waved Iraqi flags and portraits of al-Sadr, chanted, and sat down in the legislative chamber, with no lawmakers present.
Thousands of protesters also gathered outside the parliament building, with security forces using tear gas, water cannons and sound grenades to disperse them.
Protesters also disassembled large concrete barriers surrounding the heavily-fortified area.
The unrest comes just days after hundreds of protesters on Wednesday burst into the heavily fortified Green Zone in the centre of the Iraqi capital, dancing, singing, posing for selfies and eventually peacefully dispersing, reported Sputnik.
The Wednesday protests began after competing political factions failed to agree on the formation of a new government.
Hundreds of protesters had descended on Iraq’s parliament building on Saturday, putting on a repeat performance of Wednesday’s unrest.
The protesters were opposing the candidacy of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani for the post of Prime Minister, as they believe him to be too close to Iran. al-Sudani is a former minister and ex-provincial governor and is nominated for the Prime Minister’s post on behalf of the Coordination Framework.
Visuals from the site showed protestors singing and dancing and one person was seen lying on the desk of the speaker of the Iraqi parliament.
No lawmakers were present and only security forces were inside the building as protestors barged in, reported Al Jazeera.
However, after a few hours of Wednesday protest, al-Sadr had issued a statement on Twitter telling them their message had been received, and “to return safely” to their homes, signalling there would be no further escalation of the sit-in, Al Jazeera reported.
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi also called on the protesters to “immediately withdraw” from the closely-guarded Green Zone, which is home to government buildings and diplomatic missions. In a statement, he warned that security forces would see to “the protection of state institutions and foreign missions, and prevent any harm to security and order”.
Shortly after, protesters began making their way out of the parliament building with security forces supervising.
Earlier, the police used water cannons to disperse the demonstrators, but still, many breached the gates to the area, according to Al Jazeera.
The demonstrators walked down the Green Zone’s main thoroughfare, with dozens gathering outside the doors to the parliament building.
The demonstrators, outside the two entrances to the Green Zone, started chanting “Al-Sudani, out!”
This incident and al-Sadr’s subsequent show of control over his followers, carried an implicit warning to the Framework Party of a potential escalation if the government is formed with al-Sudani at the helm.
Al-Sudani was selected by State of Law leader and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Before al-Sudani can face parliament to be seated officially as prime minister-designate, parties must first select a president.
Notably, Al-Sadr’s bloc won 73 seats in Iraq’s October 2021 election, making it the largest faction in the 329-seat parliament but, ever since the vote, talks to form a new government have stalled, and Al-Sadr stepped down from the political process. A deadlock persists over the establishment of a new government.
In 2016 too al-Sadr’s supporters stormed the parliament in a similar fashion. They staged a sit-in and issued demands for political reform after then-Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi sought to replace party-affiliated ministers with technocrats in an anti-corruption drive.
Mass protests erupted in 2019 amid public anger over corruption and unemployment and this current protest pose a challenge for the oil-rich country. (ANI)
A soldier and a civilian were killed and four people wounded in two attacks by militants of the Islamic State (IS) terror group in northern and central Iraq, security sources said…reports Asian Lite News
In the northern province of Nineveh, a soldier was killed and two others wounded when a roadside bomb, believed to be planted by IS militants, exploded near an Iranian security unit outside a village near the town of Tal Afar, nearly 70-km west of the provincial capital Mosul, an army officer told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The source said the attack took place on Saturday when the troops were hunting down IS militants in the area, Xinhua news agency reported.
In a separate incident, a civilian was killed and two others wounded when a roadside bomb, reportedly planted by IS militants, exploded in a village in the Tarmiyah area, nearly 30 km north of the capital Baghdad, Ihsan al-Rubaie from the Baghdad police told Xinhua.
Iraqi security forces have been fighting IS militants over the past months to crack down on their intensified activities.
The security situation in Iraq has been improving since the defeat of the IS in 2017. However, its remnants have since spread into urban centres, deserts, and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against the security forces and civilians.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said his country welcomes the reopening of the Iranian and Saudi Arabian Embassies in Riyadh and Tehran, reports Asian Lite Newsdes
Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi has met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Tehran in an aim to push for resumption of the peace talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
“We discussed the challenges that the region is facing,” Al-Kadhimi said during a joint press conference with Raisi, adding, “We agreed to work together to bring stability and peace to the region”.
Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said his country welcomes the reopening of the Iranian and Saudi Arabian Embassies in Riyadh and Tehran.
Iran only seeks to promote the region’s interests, Amir-Abdollahian said here in a meeting with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
He praised the Iraqi government for its efforts to encourage dialogue among regional countries and play a constructive role in the normalization talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as other Middle Eastern nations, reports Xinhua news agency.
Iran maintains that the solution to regional problems lies within the region, Amir-Abdollahian said, adding that Iran backs the continuation of the ceasefire in Yemen, highlighting the necessity of lifting the siege on the Arab state.
The Foreign Minister noted that given the commonalities between Iran and Egypt, improving relations between Tehran and Cairo will be in the interest of the region and the Muslim world.
The Iraqi Prime Minister underlined Iran’s important position and role in regional developments, saying his country is serious about developing ties with Iran.
He assured his host that Iraq will continue its efforts to encourage dialogue and cooperation among regional states.
The Iraqi Prime Minister described his country’s relations with the Iran as very important and added, “Today we agreed to strengthen trade relations between the two nations and countries within the framework of common interests”.
Al-Kadhimi arrived in Tehran early Sunday for high-level talks with senior Iranian officials, following his trip to Saudi Arabia, where he was welcomed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud.
Both crown prince and Iraqi PM held a session of official talks, during which they reviewed the bilateral relations between the two fraternal countries and areas of joint cooperation, in addition to exchanging views on a number of issues, which contribute to supporting and strengthening security and stability in the region, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
On June 16, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said in a phone conversation with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian that “Iraq is ready to continue facilitating direct talks between the Saudi and Iranian foreign ministers in Baghdad to restore relations to normal”, according to a statement by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.
To improve bilateral relations and ease regional tension, Baghdad hosted four rounds of direct talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia last year, and the fifth round was held in April this year.
Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in early 2016 in response to attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran after the kingdom executed a Shia cleric.
The two rivals’ strained relations showed signs of improvement after they resumed direct talks on normalizing diplomatic relations in April 2021.
Recently, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani arrived in Cairo for his first visit to Egypt since the two countries restored diplomatic ties last year.
The two-day official visit included talks with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in all fields.
Tamim’s visit also saw the signing of a number of economic agreements, and ensured Qatari investment in Egypt, especially in the energy field.