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Arabic press review: UAE and Iran held secret talks

The UAE and Iran reportedly met secretly in Tehran, while Jordanians push back on an Israeli gas deal
Iranian boats carrying commercial goods, mainly food ingredients, at Ras al-Khor in Dubai (AFP)

The UAE allegedly held secret meetings with Iran

A high-ranking UAE security delegation visited Tehran a few weeks ago, a meeting that coincided with the UAE’s partial withdrawal from Yemen, diplomatic sources have revealed, according to pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar.

In the secret meetings held with Iranian officials, the UAE reportedly pushed to restore relations between the two countries, secure joint protection of maritime corridors for oil transferred from all Gulf states, and also discussed Abu Dhabi’s willingness to leave Yemen, according to the paper. 

The meeting took place following last month's incidents in the Gulf waters, when commercial ships and two oil tankers were bombed, the sources added.

The Iranian team was reported as saying: "We have nothing to negotiate with you after crossing the red lines.”

The Emiratis did not give up and asked for Russian mediation with Tehran during UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed's visit to Moscow at the end of last month. However, they got the same answer: “We have nothing to negotiate with you," the sources said.

Hamas going to Moscow

Arrangements are underway for a Hamas delegation visit to Moscow next week. The visit will include talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and a number of Russian foreign ministry officials, according to Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

Hamas deputy chairman Moussa Abu Marzouk is said to be heading the delegation, which will visit the Russian capital next Monday on a three-day visit.

The two sides are expected to discuss the Palestinian situation following the Manama workshop in Bahrain, the US "deal of the century", and Egypt’s role as a mediator, the paper reported, quoting anonymous sources.

The source also revealed that the arrangements were made prior to the Bahraini workshop, and that the visit was scheduled immediately after the workshop.

Moscow has expressed its willingness to host an expanded Palestinian meeting, but stressed the Palestinian factions must come together on basic issues.

In February, Moscow hosted an extensive meeting bringing together 12 Palestinian political factions and entities. However, it failed to provide a unified statement because of the differing positions on the role of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and benchmarks of the political process.

Jordanians campaign against Israeli gas deal

Politicians, trade unionists and popular activists in Jordan have begun a campaign to press the government to withdraw from a gas agreement with Israel, according to news website Arabi21.

The Jordanian national campaign against the gas deal has collected hundreds of signatures for a "notice" to submit to Prime Minister Omar Razzaz, next Sunday.

If Razzaz does not respond or fulfil the request in the "notice", the group plans to file a lawsuit against him.

"The government is still insisting on 'Zionising' Jordan, supporting Zionist terrorism with billions of our money, depriving Jordan and its citizens of developing its sovereign capacity, developing its economy and providing tens of thousands of jobs for its citizens," the campaign has argued.

"The people of Jordan reject this agreement politically and nationally, because of the danger it poses to Jordanian security, and the mortgage of energy resources and the will of the kingdom and its sovereignty to the Zionist enemy," Arabi21 quoted Mohammed Majalien, a lawyer involved in the campaign.

Majalien considered the agreement in direct violation to Jordan’s position on the Palestinian cause, saying the gas is stolen from the people of Palestine.

Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.