By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – The Trump administration has cleared the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of wrongdoing and approved the sale of thousand of mine-resistant vehicles, despite indications it violated past arms agreements, according to a report published Friday.
A CNN investigation found last year that as part of its campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen the UAE and Saudi Arabia were transferring arms to forces it backs in the war-torn country, including those with ties to al-Qaeda, in violation of agreements with Washington.
Neither the UAE nor Saudi Arabia are allowed to transfer arms provided by the US without Washington's prior approval.
But following a year-long investigation, officials at the State Department have been telling lawmakers they are "satisfied no actual transfers were made," and has "made sure the UAE fully appreciates the letter of their agreements," anonymous officials told the news outlet.
The members of Congress said they would then approve the sale, which includes up to 4,569 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, estimated to cost $556 million, given the department's assurances.
The investigation's findings have not been made public despite concluding earlier in the year. But a State Department official not only confirmed the probe has wrapped up, but told CNN "We believe that the UAE now has a better understanding of its EUM (End User Monitoring) obligations."
One official told CNN it took a year for the Trump administration to conclude its investigation because of Abu Dhabi's "delaying tactics."
The Defense Security Cooperation notified the public of the potential sale, which must clear a congressional-review period, May 7.
Turkey marks 567th anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest
By Burak Dag
ANKARA (AA) - Anadolu Agency is here with a rundown of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic and other news in Turkey and around the world.
- Coronavirus in Turkey
Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday that Turkey doesn’t expect a second wave of the novel coronavirus, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.
Turkey also reported 931 more COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals over the past day, bringing the total number of recoveries in the country to 130,852.
Twenty-four more people died from virus, bringing the death total from the outbreak to 4,609. More than 2 million tests have been conducted so far nationwide.
As of Monday, Turkey began easing measures against COVID-19, with domestic flights and inter-city travel resuming and restaurants opening their doors to customers.
Over 77,000 Turkish citizens who went into precautionary coronavirus isolation after being evacuated from abroad have finished their quarantines in student dormitories, said a top Turkish official.
- Global coronavirus developments
Worldwide coronavirus cases exceeded 6.5 million, according to the US’ Johns Hopkins University.
The worldwide death toll exceeded 386,000, while the number of people who recovered stands at more than 2.8 million.
The US is the worst-hit country, with the death toll surpassing 106,500.
Russia, still ranking third among countries with the most COVID-19 cases, reported more recoveries than infections on Wednesday, with 8,972 people discharged from hospitals while 8,536 were admitted.
Meanwhile in Africa, the death toll has risen to 4,493, with 149 more fatalities. South Africa emerged as the worst-hit African country in terms of cases with 35,800, while Egypt suffered the most deaths with 1,100.
Italy reported 71 more fatalities from coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 33,601, as the country lifted restrictions on regional travel and resumed international tourism.
Italy is also one of the first countries in Europe to reopen its borders to international tourism – hoping to relaunch its key tourist industry, hit hard by the pandemic.
Since the start of the outbreak, the death toll in France reached 29,021, with cases rising slightly to 151,677, up 352 from the previous day.
Spain’s Health Ministry confirmed that 240,300 people have now been infected by the virus in Spain – up nearly 400 from Tuesday, when 219 people tested positive compared to 137 on Monday and 71 on Sunday.
Belgium on Wednesday decided to further ease coronavirus-related restrictions, with cafes, restaurants, and gyms set to reopen on June 8.
- Worldwide protests over George Floyd killing
As protests over the brutal death of George Floyd continued to rock the US, Pope Francis condemned racism in any form but added that violence is self-destructive.
In the US, the Pentagon announced that it had transferred about 1,600 troops to the Washington, DC area in response to the ongoing protests.
Meanwhile, thousands of people took to the streets of London Wednesday to march in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and protest the killing of Floyd.
Turkey's ruling party spokesman hailed demands for equality in the US.
Former US Defense Secretary James Mattis slammed President Donald Trump on his handling of the Floyd issue, saying that Trump is "the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people."
Current Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday he does not support Trump's proposal to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act to quell protests across the country.
- Other developments
The Libyan army took complete control of the Tripoli airport after it was under the control of warlord Khalifa Haftar’s forces for one year.
The Kosovo Assembly on Wednesday elected Avdullah Hoti prime minister, leading the country’s sixth government since it declared independence in 2008.
Russia on Wednesday congratulated Turkey on 100 years of diplomatic ties.
As anti-racism protests continue worldwide, boxing legend Muhammad Ali was commemorated Wednesday four years since his passing, not only for his talent in the ring but also his legacy in fighting racism and discrimination in the US.
The US announced Wednesday that Chinese airlines will be suspended from operating passenger flights to and from the US.
The move is reportedly retaliation for China not approving US airlines providing passenger service to China amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The World Economic Forum announced Wednesday that the 2021 Davos summit in Switzerland will be held under the theme of the Great Reset.
A senior PKK terrorist surrendered to Turkish security forces in southeastern Turkey, the country's Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday.