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Zelensky Makes Surprise Trip to Jeddah for Arab League Summit

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky landed in Saudi Arabia on Friday for a surprise appearance at the annual Arab League summit, which will also feature Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after years being excluded.

Saudi state television broadcaster al-Ekhbariya showed footage of Zelensky being welcomed at an airport in the coastal city of Jeddah.

He had travelled to Jeddah aboard a French plane from Poland, according to the Saudi-owned TV Al Arabiya.

Zelensky confirmed the visit, tweeting: “Beginning my first-ever visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to enhance bilateral relations and Ukraine’s ties with the Arab world.

He wrote he would discuss “political prisoners in Crimea and temporarily occupied territories, the return of our people, peace formula [and] energy cooperation.

Saudi Arabia “plays a significant role and we are ready to take our cooperation to a new level,” Zelensky continued.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly offered to mediate between Russia and Ukraine. Last year, Riyadh said it helped with the release of prisoners of war.

The kingdom and its Gulf neighbours have so far resisted Western pressure to cut ties with Russia since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.

Zelensky will also travel to Japan to join the G7 summit in Hiroshima this weekend, top Ukrainian officials said on Friday.

Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine is among the main topics of the meeting.

In Jeddah, Zelensky will share the spotlight with al-Assad, who is being welcomed back into the fold.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz invited Assad to the summit last week following the bloc’s decision to readmit Syria to the Arab League, more than a decade after its membership was suspended amid its civil war.

For the once-ostracized Syrian president, who has been accused of war crimes including the use of chemical weapons, the invitation marks a huge success.

In the West, talks with the Syrian ruler are still off the table, after extensive sanctions were imposed 12 years ago in response to his crackdown on anti-government protests that later resulted in a civil war that drew in foreign powers. (NAN)

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Foreign News

Biden Accuses Trump of Using ‘Hitler’s Language in Newspaper Mock-up

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U.S. President Joe Biden has accused his predecessor and likely election opponent Donald Trump of using Nazi rhetoric following the publication of a video referencing a “unified Reich.’’

Trump is using “Hitler’s language’’.

That’s not America’s, Biden said in a campaign video released.

In the short clip, the Democrat held a phone in his hand and said, referencing the video, is this on his official account? Wow.

Earlier, on Monday, Trump had shared a video which was later deleted on his social media site Truth Social, showing mocks of newspaper articles that would be written if Trump won the presidential election in November.

Among the bits of text featured was a subheading referring to the creation of a unified Reich.

The term, empire in German, is often associated with the Third Reich under Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime from 1933 to 1945.

The word Reich in the video presumably refers to the founding of the German Reich in 1871, with the text being taken from a Wikipedia entry on World War I, according to U.S. media.

The video was created using a ready-made newspaper article mask.

According to the reports, it has also been used in other clips circulating online,.

Other newspaper headlines in the video published on Trump’s platform also make reference to World War I.

Trump’s team later confirmed that the clip had been removed from his account.

A spokeswoman for his campaign team said that “it was not a campaign video, it was created by a random account online and reposted by a staffer who clearly did not see the word.’’

Biden also attacked the Republican, who is hoping to return to the White House, at a campaign event in Boston on Tuesday.

The 81-year-old said that “the threat that Trump poses is greater in the second term than it was in the first,’’ according to reporters travelling with him.

He called Trump a little unhinged and accused him of seeking revenge after losing the 2020 presidential election.

Biden and Trump were all but guaranteed to face off on Nov. 5 in a rematch of the 2020 vote.

They both achieved the required number of delegates to be nominated as candidates of the Democratic and Republican parties respectively.

Trump has been using radical rhetoric in his election campaign, including hateful and dehumanising language, as well as making racist statements and inciting hatred against minorities.

The 77-year-old also compared Biden’s government to the Gestapo, the official secret police of Nazi Germany. (dpa/NAN)

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Foreign News

France Rejects Recognising Palestinian state at Present

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France’s Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné has rejected the idea of recognising Palestine as a state at the moment.

“Our position is clear:  recognition of Palestine is not taboo for France,” the minister said on Wednesday after a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Israel Katz in Paris.

The minister, however, said that  decision in favour of the recognition must be beneficial and would be made at the right time.

He said that such a decision should  enable decisive progress at the political level.

“It is not just a symbolic question or a question of political positioning, but a diplomatic instrument in the service of a solution with two states living side-by-side in peace and security.

“France does not believe that the conditions have been met to date for this decision to have a real impact on this process,” Séjourné said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Norway, Ireland and Spain said they would recognise Palestine as a state on May 28.

Katz’s visit to Paris followed France’s position in favour of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which chief prosecutor applied for arrest warrants on Monday against Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

The Paris Foreign Ministry stated that it supported the ICC, its independence and the fight against impunity in all situations.

After the meeting with Katz, Séjourné wrote on X: “I reaffirmed France’s priorities: immediate release of the hostages, ceasefire, massive humanitarian aid and two states living in peace and security.”

(dpa/NAN)

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Iran to Hold Memorial Services for Raisi on Tuesday

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Memorial ceremonies for President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian are planned in Iran for Tuesday.

Raisi, Amirabdollahian and seven senior Iranian officials died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Local media reported that a ceremony is being planned in the provincial capital of Tabriz in the morning, followed by a ceremony in the religious stronghold and pilgrimage city of Qom.

The date for the funerals of the two statesmen has not yet been announced.

Raisi is to be buried in his hometown of Mashhad.

The helicopter crashed in dense fog on the mountains over East Azerbaijan Province while the deceased were travelling back from a meeting with the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

  (dpa/NAN)

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