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UN Secretary General condemns call to assassinate Sudan envoy Perthes

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UN Secretary General condemns call to assassinate Sudan envoy Perthes

UN Secretary General condemns call to assassinate Sudan envoy Perthes

The United Nations condemned a video circulating on the internet in which an unknown person calls for the fatwa and murder of the UN Special Envoy to Sudan, Volker Perthes.

“We are deeply concerned by a video circulating featuring a man requesting a fatwa at a public event last night in Khartoum.

“The man requested that he should be allowed to assassinate the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Sudan, Volker Perthes,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary General, in a statement.

“The language of incitement and violence will only deepen divisions on the ground. It will not deter the UN mission from carrying out its duties,” Dujarric said.

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The UN Mission, led by Perthes, remains committed to supporting the people of Sudan in achieving the political transition to democratic rule, pursuant to its mandate, the statement said.

In Islam, a fatwa settles disputed questions on interpretations of Islamic law.

According to Sudanese media reports, the call was made during a political meeting on Monday evening.

Sudan, riven by crisis, is also undergoing a period of political upheaval.

The East African country had been ruled with a heavy hand for nearly 30 years by strongman President Omar al-Bashir until he was forced from office in April 2019 following mass protests and a military coup.

The military, led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the civilian opposition agreed to a joint transitional government in a constitutional agreement to pave the way for democratic elections in 2022.

According to the agreement, al-Burhan would have had to withdraw from the transitional government by 2021 at the latest and leave the leadership of the country to civilians.

However, on Monday, the interim military government missed a new deadline to appoint a prime minister, again delaying the promised democratic elections.

The delay came amid a dispute between the military and civilian leadership.

Some negotiating partners criticised what they saw as political influence of the UN mission in Sudan, which aims to support the political transition.

Perthes, who is German, has been UN Special Representative in Sudan since 2021.

It was not clear what specifically had led to the fatwa, though Perthes is often slammed by Islamists and supporters of al-Bashir.

He had campaigned for more democracy and rights for women in the country. 

UN Secretary General condemns call to assassinate Sudan envoy Perthes

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Biden Vows to Maintain NATO Strength Amid Election Concerns

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Biden Vows to Maintain NATO Strength Amid Election Concerns
Biden Vows to Maintain NATO Strength Amid Election Concerns

Biden Vows to Maintain NATO Strength Amid Election Concerns

U.S. President Joe Biden closed a three-day NATO summit in Washington on Thursday by reaffirming his commitment to a robust NATO, amid a press conference that also touched on U.S. politics and concerns about his mental fitness.

Biden, 81, is facing calls to step aside for another Democratic candidate in the upcoming presidential race due to fears of mental decline. The Republican Party is expected to nominate former President Donald Trump, 78, at its convention starting Monday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Biden criticized Trump’s stance on NATO, stating, “My predecessor has made it clear he has no commitment to NATO. He’s made it clear that he would feel no obligation to honor Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which commits all allies to respond if one is attacked. But I made it clear a strong NATO is essential to American security. And I believe the obligation of Article 5 is sacred.”

“I will not bow down to Putin. I will not walk away from Ukraine. I will keep NATO strong,” Biden emphasized.

The summit concluded with NATO leaders announcing increased military support for Ukraine, including air-defense systems and a pledge to spend 40 billion euros ($43 billion) next year. They also affirmed Ukraine’s irreversible path to NATO membership.

Additionally, the U.S. and Germany announced the deployment of long-range cruise missiles to Germany to bolster NATO’s deterrence in Europe.

Despite these announcements, Biden’s closing press conference was dominated by questions about the upcoming presidential election and his candidacy. When asked if he could still handle Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the future, Biden replied, “I’m dealing with Xi right now and (I’m in) direct contact with him. I have no good reason to talk to Putin right now. There’s not much that he is prepared to do in terms of accommodating any change in his behavior. I’m not ready to talk to Putin unless Putin’s ready to change his behavior.”

During the hour-long press conference, Biden occasionally struggled with his speech, at one point confusing Trump with Vice President Kamala Harris. When asked about Harris’ ability to beat Trump, he mistakenly said, “Look, I wouldn’t have picked Vice President Trump to be vice president, did I think she was not qualified to be president” (sic). He later asserted, “I think I’m the most qualified person to run for president.”

This followed an earlier gaffe where Biden introduced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as “President Putin,” before quickly correcting himself.

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer, in a separate press conference, defended Biden’s leadership, saying, “We have a bigger NATO, and more countries; we have a stronger NATO. We have a real sense of resolve. President Biden led through all of that.”

Finnish President Alexander Stubb also expressed confidence in Biden’s capabilities, stating, “I have absolutely no concerns about the capacity of the current president of the United States to lead his country and to lead our fight for Ukraine and to lead NATO. We human beings, when we’re treated in the public eye, we’re never as good as we sometimes look, and we’re never as bad.”

Biden Vows to Maintain NATO Strength Amid Election Concerns

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Iraqi court sentences former IS leader’s wife to death

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Iraqi court sentences former IS leader’s wife to death

Iraqi court sentences former IS leader’s wife to death

An Iraqi court on Wednesday sentenced the wife of the former top leader of the Islamic State (IS) group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to death.

According to Supreme Judicial Council statement, the Karkh Criminal Court issued the death verdict for the wife of the terrorist over joining the IS group and detaining the kidnapped Yazidi women in her house in west Mosul.

In 2019, the U.S. forces conducted a raid targeting al-Baghdadi in Syria’s northern province of Idlib, killing the IS leader.

Al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, established the IS in 2014.

The extremist militant group, which once captured large swathes of land in western and northern Iraq, was defeated in late 2017.

Iraqi court sentences former IS leader’s wife to death

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Iran’s late president Raisi to be buried in home city of Mashhad

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Iran’s late president Raisi to be buried in home city of Mashhad

Iran’s late president Raisi to be buried in home city of Mashhad

Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash at the weekend, is to be buried in his home city of Mashhad on Thursday.

Raisi is to be laid to rest at the city’s shrine of Imam Reza, the eighth imam of Shia Islam.

High-ranking representatives of friendly states are expected to attend, including Russian parliamentary leader Vyacheslav Volodin.

Iran’s state railway company has organised special trains to take mourners from Tehran to the north-eastern city.

There have been several ceremonies and public displays of mourning for Raisi, late foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other victims of Sunday’s crash.

Millions of mourners flocked to a funeral procession in Tehran on Wednesday.

Raisi and Amirabdollahian were killed in the crash with seven other occupants of the ill-fated helicopter.

They went down in dense cloud in the mountains while travelling back from a meeting with Ilham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan.

Iran’s religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered five days of national mourning, and a nationwide holiday was held on Wednesday.

Raisi’s death has provoked mixed reactions in Iran.

While supporters of the country’s Islamic regime have mourned the loss of an important political figure, critics have highlighted the heightened repression his administration oversaw.

Iran’s late president Raisi to be buried in home city of Mashhad

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