Erdogan Calls on Putin to Make 'Honorable Exit' from Ukraine War

Erdogan delivers a speech on the sidelines of the NATO Summit on Thursday (AFP)
Erdogan delivers a speech on the sidelines of the NATO Summit on Thursday (AFP)
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Erdogan Calls on Putin to Make 'Honorable Exit' from Ukraine War

Erdogan delivers a speech on the sidelines of the NATO Summit on Thursday (AFP)
Erdogan delivers a speech on the sidelines of the NATO Summit on Thursday (AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will suggest Russian President Vladimir Putin to find an honorable exit from Ukraine and end the war.

Speaking to reporters on a return flight from a NATO summit in Brussels, Erdogan said Turkey could not impose sanctions on Russia due to its energy needs and cooperation.

“We are purchasing half of our gas from Russia,” Erdogan said. “We are building the Akkuyu Nuclear Energy Plant with Russia.”

“I may have a talk with Putin either this weekend or early next week. As we will make an assessment of the NATO meetings with him, we should tell him, ‘After this, you should be the architect of the moves for peace.’ We should find a way to end this by suggesting him ‘Find an honorable exit,’” Erdogan said.

Erdogan added that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was likely to end Ukraine’s bid for NATO membership.

“Ukraine also expressed that it could make some concessions on disarmament,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan and Zelensky held a phone conversation to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

Turkey's position on its acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defense systems is unchanged and the matter is a "done deal", Erdogan was cited as saying, adding talks with Washington on new F-16 jets and kits were going well.

He further said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett may soon visit Turkey, as Jerusalem and Ankara move to improve ties. He also said cooperation on natural gas could play a key role in furthering diplomatic ties.



Kremlin Says German Army Discussing Strikes on Russia, Asks if Scholz Is in Control 

A German national flag is set on the car of the Ambassador of Germany to Russia Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, outside the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia March 4, 2024. (Reuters)
A German national flag is set on the car of the Ambassador of Germany to Russia Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, outside the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia March 4, 2024. (Reuters)
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Kremlin Says German Army Discussing Strikes on Russia, Asks if Scholz Is in Control 

A German national flag is set on the car of the Ambassador of Germany to Russia Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, outside the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia March 4, 2024. (Reuters)
A German national flag is set on the car of the Ambassador of Germany to Russia Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, outside the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia March 4, 2024. (Reuters)

The Kremlin said on Monday a purported recording of German military discussions showed Germany's armed forces were discussing plans to launch strikes on Russian territory, and questioned whether Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in control of the situation.

Russian media last week published an audio recording of what they said was a meeting of senior German military officials discussing weapons for Ukraine and a potential strike by Kyiv on a bridge in Crimea, prompting Russian officials to demand an explanation.

"The recording itself says that within the Bundeswehr, plans to launch strikes on Russian territory are being discussed substantively and concretely. This does not require any legal interpretation. Everything here is more than obvious," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Germany says it is investigating the recording. Russia has summoned Germany's ambassador to demand an explanation.

"Here we have to find out whether the Bundeswehr is doing this on its own initiative. Then the question is: how controllable is the Bundeswehr and how much does Scholz control the situation? Or is it part of German government policy?" Peskov said.

"Both (scenarios) are very bad. Both once again emphasize the direct involvement of the countries of the collective West in the conflict around Ukraine."

Germany is among the NATO countries that have supplied weaponry to Ukraine including tanks. Russia accuses what it calls the "collective West" of using Ukraine to wage a proxy war against it; NATO says it is helping Kyiv to defend itself against a war of aggression.


Hard-Liners Dominate Iran Parliamentary Vote That Saw Boycott Calls, Apparently Low Turnout 

Iranians walk in a street in Tehran, Iran March 3, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
Iranians walk in a street in Tehran, Iran March 3, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
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Hard-Liners Dominate Iran Parliamentary Vote That Saw Boycott Calls, Apparently Low Turnout 

Iranians walk in a street in Tehran, Iran March 3, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
Iranians walk in a street in Tehran, Iran March 3, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters

Iranian hard-line politicians dominated the country's vote for parliament, results released Monday showed, maintaining their hold on the legislature in a vote that saw calls for a boycott and an apparently low turnout.

Authorities still have not released turnout figures for Friday's vote, nor given any reason for the delay. Turnout is suspected to be low after polling stations in the capital, Tehran, saw few voters.

It remains unclear whether turnout was depressed by voter apathy or an active desire to send a message to Iran’s theocracy, though some in the country pushed for a boycott, including imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi.

The vote also was the first since the 2022 mass protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, killed after being arrested by police over allegedly not wearing her required hijab to the liking of authorities.

Of 290 races held for parliament, voters decided 245 seats in the first round, Interior Ministry spokesman Mohsen Eslami said. The remaining 45 will need to have runoff elections, which will be held in either April or May as winning candidates failed to get a mandatory 20% of the vote.

Of the 245 politicians elected, 200 were supported by hard-line groups in voter guides published before the election, according to an Associated Press analysis.

The analysis identified some 45 incoming lawmakers as being relatively moderate, conservative or independent. The current parliament includes 18 pro-reform politicians and 38 others identified as independents.

Of those winning seats, only 11 were women. The current parliament has 16 women as legislators.

Authorities broadly barred politicians calling for any change within the country’s government, known broadly as reformists, from running in the election. Those calling for radical reforms were barred or didn't bother to register as candidates.

The failure of any candidate to get 20% of the vote can happen because many votes are voided, or because there are too many candidates in the race. Iran's 2021 presidential election, which saw hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi elected, witnessed a high number of voided votes, potentially from those who felt obligated to cast a ballot but didn't want to select any of the government-approved candidates.

Vote counting across Iran, done by hand, had wrapped up by Monday. Authorities gave no immediate explanation for not announcing the turnout, though it was easily available to the authorities since each voter was electronically registered upon voting.

The boycott calls have put the government under renewed pressure — since its 1979 revolution, Iran’s theocracy has based its legitimacy in part on turnout in elections.

“The Friday elections appear to have reaffirmed that Iranian policies will not change in the foreseeable future, but the vote demonstrated the Iranian public is broadly dissatisfied with the course the Islamic Republic is taking,” the New York-based Soufan Center think tank said in an analysis Monday.

Iranians on Friday also voted for members of the country’s 88-seat Assembly of Experts, who will serve an eight-year term on a panel which will appoint the country’s next supreme leader after Ali Khamenei, 84. Barred from that race was former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate and a current member of the assembly who reached Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Raisi, a protégé of Khamenei who has been discussed as possible successor to the supreme leader, won a seat again. Another possible successor is Khamenei's son, Mojtaba, who holds no position in the government.


Haiti Orders Nightly Curfew After Weekend of Violence, Prison Break

This screen grab taken from AFPTV shows tires on fire near the main prison of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 3, 2024. (Photo by Luckenson JEAN / AFPTV / AFP)
This screen grab taken from AFPTV shows tires on fire near the main prison of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 3, 2024. (Photo by Luckenson JEAN / AFPTV / AFP)
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Haiti Orders Nightly Curfew After Weekend of Violence, Prison Break

This screen grab taken from AFPTV shows tires on fire near the main prison of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 3, 2024. (Photo by Luckenson JEAN / AFPTV / AFP)
This screen grab taken from AFPTV shows tires on fire near the main prison of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 3, 2024. (Photo by Luckenson JEAN / AFPTV / AFP)

Authorities have ordered a nighttime curfew trying to regain control of Haiti's streets after an explosion of violence during the weekend, including gunmen from gangs overrunning the country's two biggest prisons and freeing their inmates.
A 72-hour state of emergency began Sunday night, and the government said it would set out to find the killers, kidnappers and other violent criminals that it reported escaped from prison.
“The police were ordered to use all legal means at their disposal to enforce the curfew and apprehend all offenders,” said a statement from Finance Minister Patrick Boivert, who is serving as acting prime minister.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry traveled abroad last week to try to salvage support for bringing in a United Nations-backed security force to help stabilize Haiti in its conflict with increasingly powerful crime groups.
The emergency decree was issued after a deadly weekend that marked a new low in Haiti's downward spiral of violence. At least nine people had been killed since Thursday — four of them police officers — as gangs stepped up coordinated attacks on state institutions in Port-au-Prince, including the country's international airport and the national soccer stadium.

But the attack on the National Penitentiary late Saturday was a big shock Haitians, even though they are accustomed to living under the constant threat of violence, The Associated Press reported.
Almost all of the estimated 4,000 inmates escaped, leaving the normally overcrowded prison eerily empty Sunday with no guards in sight and plastic sandals, clothing and furniture strewn across the concrete patio. Three bodies with gunshot wounds lay at the prison entrance.
In another neighborhood, the bloodied corpses of two men with their hands tied behind the backs lay face down as residents walked past roadblocks set up with burning tires.
Among the few dozen that chose to stay in the prison are 18 former Colombian soldiers accused of working as mercenaries in the July 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. Amid the fighting Saturday night, several of the Colombians shared a video pleading for their lives.


Nikki Haley Wins District of Columbia’s Republican Primary and Gets Her First 2024 Victory 

US Republican presidential hopeful and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley reaches out to embraces Retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc before speaking during a campaign rally in Portland, Maine, on March 3, 2024. (AFP)
US Republican presidential hopeful and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley reaches out to embraces Retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc before speaking during a campaign rally in Portland, Maine, on March 3, 2024. (AFP)
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Nikki Haley Wins District of Columbia’s Republican Primary and Gets Her First 2024 Victory 

US Republican presidential hopeful and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley reaches out to embraces Retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc before speaking during a campaign rally in Portland, Maine, on March 3, 2024. (AFP)
US Republican presidential hopeful and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley reaches out to embraces Retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc before speaking during a campaign rally in Portland, Maine, on March 3, 2024. (AFP)

Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

Her victory Sunday at least temporarily halts Donald Trump’s sweep of the GOP voting contests, although the former president is likely to pick up several hundred more delegates in this week’s Super Tuesday races.

Despite her early losses, Haley has said she would remain in the race at least through those contests, although she has declined to name any primary she felt confident she would win. Following her loss in her home state of South Carolina, Haley remained adamant that voters in the places that followed deserved an alternative to Trump despite his dominance thus far in the campaign.

The Associated Press declared Haley the winner Sunday night after DC Republican Party officials released the results. She won all 19 delegates at stake.

“It’s not surprising that Republicans closest to Washington dysfunction are rejecting Donald Trump and all his chaos,” Haley spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a statement, noting that Haley became the first woman to win a Republican primary in history.

Washington is one of the most heavily Democratic jurisdictions in the nation, with only about 23,000 registered Republicans in the city. Democrat Joe Biden won the district in the 2020 general election with 92% of the vote.

Trump's campaign issued a statement shortly after Haley’s victory sarcastically congratulating her on being named “Queen of the Swamp by the lobbyists and DC insiders that want to protect the failed status quo.”

Haley held a rally in the nation’s capital on Friday before heading back to North Carolina and a series of states holding Super Tuesday primaries. She joked with more than 100 supporters inside a hotel ballroom, “Who says there’s no Republicans in DC, come on.”

“We’re trying to make sure that we touch every hand that we can and speak to every person,” Haley said.

As she gave her standard campaign speech, criticizing Trump for running up federal deficit, one rallygoer bellowed, “He cannot win a general election. It’s madness.” That prompted agreement from Haley, who argues that she can deny Biden a second term, but Trump can't.

While campaigning as an avowed conservative, Haley has tended to perform better among more moderate and independent-leaning voters.

Four in 10 Haley supporters in South Carolina’s GOP primary were self-described moderates, compared with 15% for Trump, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 2,400 voters taking part in the Republican primary in South Carolina, conducted for AP by NORC at the University of Chicago. On the other hand, 8 in 10 Trump supporters identified as conservatives, compared to about half of Haley’s backers.

Trump won an uncontested DC primary during his 2020 reelection bid but placed a distant third four years earlier behind Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Rubio’s win was one of only three in his unsuccessful 2016 bid. Other more centrist Republicans, including Mitt Romney and John McCain, won the city’s primaries in 2012 and 2008 on their way to winning the GOP nomination.


Reports about Iran’s Bid for Naval Base in Sudan Sparks Controversy

Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi meets with Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali al-Sadiq in Tehran last month (Iranian Presidency)
Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi meets with Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali al-Sadiq in Tehran last month (Iranian Presidency)
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Reports about Iran’s Bid for Naval Base in Sudan Sparks Controversy

Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi meets with Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali al-Sadiq in Tehran last month (Iranian Presidency)
Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi meets with Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali al-Sadiq in Tehran last month (Iranian Presidency)

Media reports saying Iran has asked the Sudanese Army to set up a military base on the Red Sea coast, have sparked controversy in Sudanese circles.
On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal quoted a Sudanese intelligence official as saying that Sudan refused to let Iran set up a permanent naval base on its coast along the Red Sea in exchange for weapons.
However, local Sudanese media quoted a Sudanese army spokesperson as denying the Iranian offer.
The war in Sudan between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), commanded by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, began on 15 April 2023.
In January, media reports said Iran has supplied Sudan’s army with combat drones. The army has not denied the claims.
Later, Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali al-Sadiq visited Tehran and held talks with high ranking officials as part of the two countries’ efforts to restore their diplomatic relations.
According to a WSJ report, Ahmed Hassan Mohammed, who advises the Sudanese army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said Iran offered the Sudanese army explosive drones and a helicopter carrier in exchange for the base.
However, Al Sudani news website denied the reports. It quoted a Sudanese Army spokesperson as saying that Iran made no such offers to the army.
Also, sources close to the Sudanese army's intelligence service ruled out the presence of such an Iranian offer. The sources said the reports were probably a maneuver from Al-Burhan expressing his dissatisfaction with the regional and international neutral stances concerning developments in Sudan.
But despite the denials, the sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Iran could have made the offer during the visit of the Sudanese foreign minister to Tehran last February.
They added that the current Sudanese leadership is aware that an Iranian maritime base in Sudan will surely lead to hostilities in the region.
The sources said al-Sadiq’s visit to Tehran aimed to send a warning message to regional countries backing the Rapid Forces, cautioning that they could shuffle the cards in light of the current tensions in the Red Sea.
“The Sudanese Army leadership knows that Iran cannot offer them unlimited military support in return of nothing,” the sources said. “Therefore, they are seeking to restore their relationship ...to produce a balance of power in the region, particularly in the absence of any country willing to support them at the military level,” the sources added.

 

 


Newly Enlarged NATO Starts Drill in Finland, Norway and Sweden in Defense of its Nordic Turf 

This photograph taken on February 27, 2024 shows an empty mast amongst member nation flags in the Cour d'Honneur of the NATO headquarters, ahead of a flag-raising ceremony for Sweden's accession to NATO, in Brussels on February 27, 2024. (AFP)
This photograph taken on February 27, 2024 shows an empty mast amongst member nation flags in the Cour d'Honneur of the NATO headquarters, ahead of a flag-raising ceremony for Sweden's accession to NATO, in Brussels on February 27, 2024. (AFP)
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Newly Enlarged NATO Starts Drill in Finland, Norway and Sweden in Defense of its Nordic Turf 

This photograph taken on February 27, 2024 shows an empty mast amongst member nation flags in the Cour d'Honneur of the NATO headquarters, ahead of a flag-raising ceremony for Sweden's accession to NATO, in Brussels on February 27, 2024. (AFP)
This photograph taken on February 27, 2024 shows an empty mast amongst member nation flags in the Cour d'Honneur of the NATO headquarters, ahead of a flag-raising ceremony for Sweden's accession to NATO, in Brussels on February 27, 2024. (AFP)

NATO will kick off an exercise on Monday to defend its newly expanded Nordic territory when more than 20,000 soldiers from 13 nations take part in drills lasting nearly two weeks in the northern regions of Finland, Norway and Sweden.

With over 4,000 Finnish soldiers taking part, the Norway-led Nordic Response 2024 represents the NATO newcomer's largest ever participation in a foreign exercise, according to Finland's military.

“For the first time, Finland will participate as a NATO member nation in exercising collective defense of the alliance’s regions,” the Finnish Defense Forces said in a statement.

Finland, which shares a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border with Russia, joined NATO in April 2023 in a historic move following decades of military non-alignment. With its bid now ratified by all NATO members, neighboring Sweden is currently finalizing formalities to enter the military alliance as its 32nd member — most likely in March.

Both Sweden and Finland had developed strong ties with NATO after the end of the Cold War, but public opinion remained firmly against full membership until Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Nonalignment was seen as the best way to avoid tensions with Russia, their powerful neighbor in the Baltic Sea region. But the Russian aggression caused a dramatic shift in public opinion in both countries, and they applied jointly for NATO membership in May 2022.

For years, the biannual NATO drill, which has been conducted in the Arctic extremes of northern Norway, was called “Cold Response.”

However, “thanks to the NATO expansion with Finland and eventually Sweden, we are now expanding the exercise to a Nordic Response,” the Norwegian Armed Forces said on its website. This year, the drill is hosted equally by Finland, Norway and Sweden.

The participating nations in the exercise that runs through March 15 are Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United States.

Roughly half of the participating troops will drill on land. The rest will train at sea, with over 50 participating submarines, frigates, corvettes, aircraft carriers, and various amphibious vessels, and in the air with more than 100 fighter jets, transport aircraft, maritime surveillance aircraft and helicopters, according to the Norwegian military.

The combined joint training will focus on the defense and protection of the Nordic region, Norwegian military officials said.

“We need to be able to fight back and stop anyone who tries to challenge our borders, values and democracy,” said Brigadier Tron Strand from the Royal Norwegian Air Force, Commander of the Norwegian Air Operations Center, in a statement. “With the current security situation in Europe, the exercise is extremely relevant and more important than ever before,” he added.

“The High North represents an important and strategically located area for NATO” and the Nordic Response 2024 exercise “increases Nordic preparedness and the capability to conduct large-scale joint operations in challenging weather and climate," NATO said on its website.

Finland’s new president, Alexander Stubb, will inspect the drill together with Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre in northern Norway on March 7. It’s the first foreign trip for Stubb since he was sworn in as Finland’s new head of state and its supreme military commander on March 1.


Iran Executes One Over Alleged Israel Link to Attack

A view of the entrance to Evin prison in Tehran, Iran (Reuters)
A view of the entrance to Evin prison in Tehran, Iran (Reuters)
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Iran Executes One Over Alleged Israel Link to Attack

A view of the entrance to Evin prison in Tehran, Iran (Reuters)
A view of the entrance to Evin prison in Tehran, Iran (Reuters)

Iran's judiciary has executed a "terrorist" over a drone attack that targeted a defense ministry site in central Iran last year, state media reported on Sunday.

According to state TV, the person "planned to explode the workshop complex of the Ministry of Defense in Isfahan under guidance of the intelligence officer of Mossad", Israel's spy agency.

The date of the execution and the identity of the accused person were not immediately clear.

Iran has several known nuclear research sites in the Isfahan region, including a uranium conversion plant. The country's sanction-hit nuclear program has been the target of sabotage, assassinations of scientists and cyber-attacks.

Tehran has accused Israel of carrying out several covert actions on its soil.

Iran's intelligence ministry said in February 2023 that it had arrested the "main actors" involved in the drone attack on a defense ministry site in Isfahan, home to the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility.

The previous month, an anti-aircraft system destroyed a drone, and two others exploded during an attack on a defense ministry facility in the province, officials said at the time.

According to the defense ministry, the night-time attack left no casualties and only caused minor damage.

Authorities did not elaborate on activities at the site, but IRNA said the strike had targeted "an ammunition manufacturing plant".

Iran has been engaged in a shadow war for years with its arch-enemy Israel.

In August last year Iran claimed to have foiled a "very complex" Mossad-initiated project to "sabotage" its ballistic missile industry.

In January, Iran hanged four members of its Kurdish minority on charges of spying for Israel. They were convicted of collaborating with Israel on a plan to sabotage an Iranian defence site in Isfahan.

In April 2021, Tehran announced it had started producing 60 percent enriched uranium at the Natanz site, a day after accusing Israel of an attack there.


Malaysia Ready to Re-open Probe of Missing MH370 if New Evidence Emerges

A family member of passengers and crew on board the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 write on a memorial wall during a remembrance event marking the 10th anniversary of its disappearance at the Empire Subang in Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, 03 March 2024. EPA/NAZRI MOHAMAD
A family member of passengers and crew on board the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 write on a memorial wall during a remembrance event marking the 10th anniversary of its disappearance at the Empire Subang in Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, 03 March 2024. EPA/NAZRI MOHAMAD
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Malaysia Ready to Re-open Probe of Missing MH370 if New Evidence Emerges

A family member of passengers and crew on board the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 write on a memorial wall during a remembrance event marking the 10th anniversary of its disappearance at the Empire Subang in Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, 03 March 2024. EPA/NAZRI MOHAMAD
A family member of passengers and crew on board the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 write on a memorial wall during a remembrance event marking the 10th anniversary of its disappearance at the Empire Subang in Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, 03 March 2024. EPA/NAZRI MOHAMAD

Malaysia is willing to re-open an investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370 in 2014, if there is compelling new evidence, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Monday.

About 500 relatives of passengers on the plane, gathered Sunday near the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, demanding a new search.

They lit 239 candles, one for each passenger lost on the flight.

Some relatives came from China, where almost two-thirds of the passengers of the doomed plane were from.

Malaysia, along with Australia and China, ended in January 2017 a fruitless two-year, $130-million underwater hunt for the Boeing 777 that vanished en route to Beijing from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014.

"We have taken the position that if there is a compelling case, evidence that it needs to be re-opened, we're certainly happy to re-open," Anwar told a press conference in Melbourne.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a summit of Australia and the ASEAN grouping of Southeast Asian nations.
"Whatever needs to be done must be done."


Ankara: Time to Start Dialogue Between Moscow, Kyiv on Ceasefire

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met on Sunday with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov (Reuters)
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met on Sunday with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov (Reuters)
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Ankara: Time to Start Dialogue Between Moscow, Kyiv on Ceasefire

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met on Sunday with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov (Reuters)
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met on Sunday with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov (Reuters)

Türkiye says it is now time to start a dialogue between Moscow and Kyiv for a ceasefire, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Sunday in the southern city of Antalya.

Fidan met his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on Friday on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum. He told reporters he had discussed a number of issues with Lavrov, including Ukraine.

“On the issue of Ukraine, our view is that both sides have reached the limits of what they can get by war. We think that it is time to start a dialogue for a ceasefire,”Fidan said.

The foreign minister added that opening up ceasefire talks “doesn't mean recognizing the occupation (by Russia), but issues of sovereignty and ceasefire should be discussed separately.”

NATO member Türkiye, which shares a maritime border with both Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, has sought to maintain good ties with both nations since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

Ankara has provided military support for Ukraine and voiced support for its territorial integrity, but also opposes sanctions on Russia.

Fidan’s meeting with Lavrov came shortly before a trip to Washington to meet his American counterpart Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The meeting will be held within the framework of the Türkiye-US Strategic Dialogue Mechanism, held on March 7 and 8. It comes as Moscow signaled its readiness to hold talks with Washington.

In 2022, Türkiye hosted unofficial peace talks between Russia and Ukraine at the second diplomatic forum in the Turkish city of Antalya. The talks has not yielded any positive results.

Last month, Türkiye’s President Tayyip Erdogan expressed his ongoing willingness to mediate between Russia and Ukraine for a “fair” peace between the two countries.

“We have brought the parties together in Türkiye on multiple occasions. We can do this again and open the door to peace through a solution-focused process management, free from external influences,” Erdogan said.

“In our meetings with both President (Vladimir) Putin and President (Volodymyr) Zelenskiy, we continue our efforts in this pursuit,” he added.


Norway's King Transferred to Oslo Hospital after Getting Pacemaker in Malaysia

The MEDEVAC plane carrying Norwayエs King Harald arrives at Oslo Airport Gardermoen on March 3, 2024. (Photo by Javad Parsa / NTB / AFP)
The MEDEVAC plane carrying Norwayエs King Harald arrives at Oslo Airport Gardermoen on March 3, 2024. (Photo by Javad Parsa / NTB / AFP)
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Norway's King Transferred to Oslo Hospital after Getting Pacemaker in Malaysia

The MEDEVAC plane carrying Norwayエs King Harald arrives at Oslo Airport Gardermoen on March 3, 2024. (Photo by Javad Parsa / NTB / AFP)
The MEDEVAC plane carrying Norwayエs King Harald arrives at Oslo Airport Gardermoen on March 3, 2024. (Photo by Javad Parsa / NTB / AFP)

King Harald V transferred Monday to an Oslo university hospital, with the palace saying he was hospitalized for medical examinations and his health was improving.
The 87-year-old monarch returned to Norway aboard a medical airplane late Sunday, a day after he was implanted with a pacemaker while on holiday in Malaysia.
Harald arrived at Oslo's Rikshospital in a vehicle marked “intensive ambulance” under police escort. According to The Associated Press, the palace said he will be on sick leave for two weeks during which his son, Crown Prince Haakon, will assume the monarch’s duties.
Europe’s oldest reigning monarch was hospitalized for an infection during a vacation on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi.
He underwent surgery at the Sultanah Maliha Hospital on Saturday to implant a temporary pacemaker due to a low heart rate, according to the royal house.
Harald had traveled to Malaysia with his wife, Queen Sonja, reportedly to celebrate his 87th birthday.