Monday February 24, 2020
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Russia accuses Turkey of shooting down jet to defend ISIS oil supply

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New Delhi: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday accused Ankara of shooting down a Russian warplane to safeguard oil supplies from the Islamic State (IS) group to Turkey. Russia confirmed that the oil deposits controlled by IS transited through Turkey on an industrial scale responding to which Turkish President Recep Erdogan said he would “resign if this is confirmed.”

Moscow accused Turkey of shooting down a Russian Su-24 on November 24 to protect illicit oil supply from Syria to Turkey, on several grounds said Putin on the sidelines of the climate change summit in Paris on Monday.

“We have every reason to believe that the decision to down our plane was guided by a desire to ensure the security of this oil’s delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers,” said Putin in an interview with a Russian daily.

Meanwhile, the Turkish authorities refused to apologise over the incident, as they accused Moscow of rolling out sanctions intended at unleashing economic revenge. Putin blamed Ankara of protecting Islamic State oil exports after rejecting Turkish President’s proposition of a discussion on the sidelines of Paris Summit.

He went on to claim that the country was supporting sources and funds for the jihadist group. The shooting down of the Russian jet on the Turkey-Syria border was the first time that a Nato country struck off a Russian plane since 1952 and rebuked relations between the two conflicting actors in the Syria conflict.

Russia also positioned further halt on reciprocal economic sanctions aimed at damaging Turkey’s fundamental tourism and agricultural sectors. Putin declared bans on chartered flights and the sale of package holidays, scrapping Russia’s visa-free regime with the country.

 

Moscow has several times requested Ankara to “stop this practice,” Putin added, but specified that Russia “traced some (terrorist activities) located on the territory of the Turkish Republic and living in regions guarded by special security services and police that have used the visa-free regime to return to our territory, where we continue to fight them,” he said.

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President of Egypt Calls for Collective Action Against Countries Supporting Terrorism

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The president of Egypt Urges world leaders to take decisive action against states supporting terrorism. Pixabay

Egypt’s president Wednesday called for “decisive” and “collective” action against countries supporting “terrorism” in an apparent reference to Turkey and Qatar, who back the Muslim Brotherhood group, which is outlawed in Egypt.

The three countries also support opposing factions in the war-torn Libya.

Addressing a two-day forum on peace in Africa in the southern city of Aswan, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi also said achieving sustainable development in Africa is needed, along with efforts to fight militant groups in Egypt and the Sahel region that stretches across Africa south of the Sahara Desert.

“There should be a decisive response to countries supporting terrorism and a collective response against terrorism, because the terrorist groups will only have the ability to fight if they are provided with financial, military and moral support,” he said.

Abdel Fattah Al Sisi Egypt
The President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. VOA

The gathering in Aswan is attended by the leaders of Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Senegal along with officials from the U.S., Britain and Canada.

The Sahel region is home to al-Qaida and Islamic State group-linked militants. El-Sissi said Egypt could help train forces and provide weapons to countries in the region to fight extremists.

Egypt has for years been battling an Islamic State-led insurgency that intensified after the military overthrew an elected but divisive Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Morsi in 2013 amid mass protests against his brief rule.

Militant-related violence in Egypt has been centered on the Sinai Peninsula, as well as in the country’s vast Western Desert, which has witnessed deadly attacks blamed on militants infiltrating from neighboring Libya.

Since Morsi’s ouster, tensions have grown between Egypt and Turkey and Egypt and Qatar. The political party of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo designated as at terrorist group in 2013.

Upcoming conference

El-Sissi also said a “comprehensive, political solution would be achieved in the coming months” for the conflict in Libya, which descended into chaos after the 2011 civil war that ousted and killed long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi. He did not elaborate.

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This photo provided by the office of Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, dignitaries including Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, gather, for a photo during a two-day forum on peace in Africa in the southern city of Aswan, Egypt. VOA

He said that would put an end to a “terrorist hotbed that pushes militants and weapons to (Libya’s) neighboring countries including Egypt.”

El-Sissi apparently was referring to an international summit in Berlin that aims to reach an agreement on actions needed to end the conflict. The conference had been scheduled for October, but it has apparently been postponed.

After the 2011 civil war, Libya split in two, with a weak U.N.-supported administration in Tripoli overseeing the country’s west and a rival government in the east aligned with the Libyan National Army led by Gen. Khalifa Hifter.

Maritime border agreement 

El-Sissi’s comments came amid heightened tensions with Turkey after a controversial maritime border agreement it signed last month with Libya’s Tripoli-based government.

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Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, which lie between the two geographically, have denounced the deal as being contrary to international law, and Greece expelled the Libyan ambassador last week over the issue.

Hifter has for months been fighting an array of militias allied with the Tripoli authorities to wrestle control of the capital.  He is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as France and Russia, while the Tripoli-based government receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy. (VOA)