World Bulletin/News Desk
Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi visited Qatar in the past week to discuss the fate of 48 Iranians kidnapped by rebels in Syria, a deputy foreign minister said on Saturday, according to Iran's Fars news agency.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian did not say who Salehi met while in Qatar, whose government is a major supporter of rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran's closest ally in the region.
Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow Assad seized the group of 48 Iranians in August, accusing them of being members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards sent to help Syrian government forces crush the uprising which began in March last year.
Iran says the group was on a religious pilgrimage and has called for their immediate release.
"During this trip in addition to the developments in Syria, specifically the 48 kidnapped Iranian pilgrims in Syria were discussed," Amir-Abdollahian said, according to Fars.
Iran has called on Turkey and Qatar to use their links with rebel groups to help secure their freedom.
The al-Baraa brigade, part of the main rebel group, the Free Syrian Army, said last week it would start killing the Iranians within 48 hours unless Assad freed Syrian opposition detainees and stopped shelling civilian areas.
But Qatar, following a request from Iran, urged the rebels not to carry out the threat. Amir-Abdollahian said on Saturday the kidnapped Iranians were in good health.
Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, also visited Qatar this week, Qatari news agencies reported. Saudi Arabia is also supporting the Syrian rebels.
There was no indication of any link between the two visits.
The Pentagon criticized Russia's military drills near the border with Ukraine, while Russia demands U.S. stop Ukraine's military operation
Nine police and poll officials were killed, dozens of people injured in India violence during parliamentary elections.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said planes bombed the market in the town of Atareb on Thursday morning, killing 27 people and seriously wounding many others
It is the second time members of parliament have moved against Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah in less than a year over a shortage of state-funded homes.
Security Council members are considering sanctions on South Sudan's warring parties and U.N. peacekeeping chief demanded "serious consequences" be imposed to force an end to the violence
The four warplanes will be sent to Malbork in northern Poland on April 28 on a double mission
"The partition itself has already been done. Now there only remains the declaration of independence," said Abdel Nasser Mahamat Youssouf, member of a youth group lobbying for the secession
A town councillor from the prime minister's party, Rybak was kidnapped last week and his mutilated body was found in a river near Slaviansk
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said "We are forced to react to such a development of the situation."
“Today we commemorate the Meds Yeghern and honor those who perished in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century” Obama said.
Israeli media reports said that Israel would impose economic sanctions on the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Lieberman, who has helped to mastermind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy of closer relations with Russia, made no apology for the government's fence-sitting on Ukraine
Mariupol, an industrial port city of nearly half a million people, is one of a series of flashpoints across eastern Ukraine
Wade's impending return has heightened tensions in one of Africa's most stable democracy
Women and children are among the group, some of whom suffer from poor health.
EU leaders consider the takeover as illegal and have asked the EU executive arm, the European Commission, to propose economic, trade and financial restrictions on Crimea for rapid implementation.