Iran’s Rouhani says Aramco attacks were reciprocal response by Yemen

UNTV News   •   September 17, 2019   •   371

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

 An attack on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facilities was a reciprocal measure by “Yemeni people” to assaults on this country, said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday (September 16), hours after a Saudi-led coalition said the attacks were carried out with Iranian weapons.

Speaking at a news conference in Ankara, Rouhani said Yemeni people “exercised their legitimate right to defense”.

The Iran-aligned Houthi group that controls Yemen’s capital claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack, which knocked out more than half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production and damaged the world’s biggest crude processing plant.

Speaking at the same news conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was ready to help Saudi Arabia following attacks on the Saudi oil industry if needed.

These Russian weapons would protect any infrastructure facilities of Saudi Arabia, he added. (REUTERS)

Iran’s arrest warrant for Trump is a ‘propaganda stunt’ —U.S. official

UNTV News   •   June 30, 2020

U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook said on Monday (June 29) that an Iranian arrest warrant for President Donald Trump and 35 others over the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani was a “propaganda stunt”.

Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr announced the warrants, asking Interpol for help, according to the Fars news agency.

Hook speaking in Saudi Arabia alongside Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir, said: “This is a political nature. This has nothing to do with national security, international peace, or promoting stability. It is a propaganda stunt that no-one takes seriously.”

The United States and Interpol both dismissed the idea of acting on such a warrant.

The United States killed Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, with a drone strike in Iraq on Jan. 3. Washington accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.

Alqasimehr said the warrants had been issued on charges of murder and terrorist action. He said Iran had asked Interpol to issue a “red notice” seeking the arrest of Trump and the other individuals the Islamic Republic accuses of taking part in the killing of Soleimani. (Reuters)

(Production: Mohammed Benmansour, Matthew Stock, Aiden Nulty)

DOLE prepares for repatriation of OFWs who died of COVID-19 from Saudi

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Friday said it is now preparing for the repatriation of the bodies of Filipino workers who succumbed to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and other causes in several regions of Saudi Arabia.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said their preparations include a set of protocols from the Department of Health on the handling, reception, and domestic transport of those who died from COVID-19.

Bello said they will be repatriating the remains of 152 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia who succumbed to COVID-19 and 149 others who died from various causes.

The labor chief said the bodies will be flown home by early next month after he was able to secure the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the repatriation process.

Based on initial preparations, two chartered planes will separately fly the coronavirus fatalities and those who died of other causes.

The bodies will be transported from various points to Riyadh and Jeddah, and will be flown back to the country by the second week of July.

Bello said the three Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) that will be involved in the process will have to abide by the strict guidelines of both the Saudi and Philippine governments in the transport of the remains.

Families will be notified of the arrival of the remains of their loved ones, along with their respective local government units (LGU) to allow their domestic transport, DOLE said.

Upon arrival in the country, the bodies of COVID-19 victims will be transported, with the help of the Department of National Defense, directly to the crematoriums of choice of the family or the LGU.

The remains of those who died of natural or other causes, meanwhile, will be allowed to be fetched at the airport by their respective families.

OPEC and allies agree to extend historic output cut to end of July

UNTV News   •   June 8, 2020

REUTERS – The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies led by Russia, known as OPEC+, agreed on Saturday (June 6) to extend the historic 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) production cut till the end of July 2020.

The decision was made by the OPEC via video conference of members on Saturday to further support the rebound in international oil prices.

All participants agreed to extend the cut of 9.7 million bpd pertaining in May and June by one further month, instead of the planned reduction of 7.7 million barrels a day after this month, according to a statement published on OPEC’s website later Saturday.

The meeting recognized that the output cut carried out in May had helped garner “tentative signs of a recovery” in the global economy and oil market.

It noted that global oil demand was still expected to contract by around 9 million bpd for the whole of 2020.

Meanwhile, countries that failed to achieve 100 percent of its production cuts in May and June will make extra reductions from July to September to compensate for their failings.

All parties will also keep a close watch on the oil market, which will also be assessed at the end of this month to decide whether to extend the agreement further.

According to the Saudi Arabian energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud in the video conference, despite many uncertainties, concerted action by oil producing countries is needed to restore global confidence in the oil market.

Saudi Arabia pumped more than 12 million barrels of oil after talks with Russia and other countries broke down in March.

But during these times, the oil prices fell sharply due to the COVID-19, leading to the continuous collapse of crude oil prices.

On April 13, Saudi Arabia and Russia reached an agreement with other oil producers to cut oil output by a record 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) for May and June.

Since then, international oil prices have rallied sharply, with Brent crude rising from the lowest about 16 U.S. dollars a barrel to about 40 U.S. dollars.

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