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Gulf leaders conclude GCC summit in Riyadh, calling for unity, solidarity

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders stressed the importance of accurate, complete and continuous implementation of the vision of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, which calls for GCC unity, solidarity, and stability, in the final communique of the Riyadh Declaration issued at the annual GCC summit on Tuesday.

The summit, which was the 42nd Session of the GCC Supreme Council, took place at Diriyah Palace in Riyadh, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

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The GCC states include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

According to the communique, King Salman’s vision supports economic unity, joint defense and security system, coordination of stances to enhance GCC solidarity and stability, preserve interests, avoid regional and international conflicts, meet the aspirations of GCC citizens, and enhance the GCC regional and international role, by unifying political stances and developing political partnerships at the regional and international levels.

The final communique was read by GCC Secretary-General Nayef al-Hajraf.

GCC leaders affirmed that any attack against any of the GCC states is an attack on all of them, according to the communique, adding that “any danger that threatens one of them threatens all of them.”

They asserted the GCC member states’ commitment of a collective action against all threats and challenges, the press agency reported.

Climate change

SPA reported that the Gulf leaders “stressed the importance of enhancing the joint cooperation and coordinating plans aimed at achieving sustainability and dealing with climate change and its effects, promoting joint action among the GCC countries to implement the circular carbon economy approach which was launched by Saudi Arabia during its presidency of the G20.”

The relevant committees are assigned to put the necessary mechanisms to achieve the best results related to protecting the environment and benefiting from the Green Saudi and Green Middle East initiatives, launched by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the communique.

COVID-19

In the communique, Gulf leaders also stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation to “continue combating the coronavirus pandemic, and the importance of supporting the process of collective action to combat epidemics and diseases, and similar regulations in the future if they occur,” SPA reported.

They added that they encourage the proposal of effective policies and strategies to deal with such conditions in the future, to help combat them and deal with their economic and social repercussions, travel conditions, and movement among GCC countries.

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US: Bodies of two of three missing kids found in Minnesota lake

The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.

Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been released.

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The chain of events began Friday morning when the father was found dead at a mobile home park in the town of Maplewood, near Minneapolis. Police determined that the woman had left with the children, and a search began.

Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake around 4 p.m. Friday. The shoes of the children were found on the shore.

A search of the lake found one child’s body Friday evening. A second body was found overnight. Searchers from several organizations were busy Saturday looking for the third, as well as the mother.

Authorities believe all three children were under the age of 5.

“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at a news conference on Friday. He called the deaths a “likely triple homicide.”

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Several dozen Romanian and Bulgarian firefighters took up their posts in Greece on Saturday, the first members of a European force being deployed to the country to provide backup in case of major wildfires during the summer.

More than 200 firefighters and equipment from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland will be on standby during the hottest months of July and August in Greece, where a spate of wildfires caused devastation last summer.

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A group of 28 Romanian firefighters with eight vehicles, and 16 firefighters from Bulgaria with four vehicles, were the first to arrive for the two-month mission, financed and coordinated under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

“We thank you very much for coming to help us during a difficult summer for our country, and for proving that European solidarity is not just theoretical, it’s real,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Saturday as he welcomed the members of the Romanian mission in Athens.

“When things get tough, you will be side by side with our Greek firefighters so we can save lives and property.”

The Bulgarian firefighters have been stationed in Larissa, in central Greece.

Last summer’s wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heatwave in 30 years.

Following sharp criticism of its response to the fires, the Greek government set up a new civil protection ministry and promised to boost firefighting capacities.

In Greece’s worst wildfire disaster, 102 people were killed when a blaze tore through the seaside town of Mati and nearby areas close to Athens during the summer of 2018.

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One killed, six injured in shootout between migrant groups in Serbia

One migrant was killed and at least six others, including a teenage girl, were injured Saturday in a shootout between migrant groups in Serbia near the Hungarian border, the state-run RTS television reported.

The 16-year-old girl sustained life threatening injuries in the incident that occurred in a forest in the outskirts of Subotica, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Belgrade, where the injured were hospitalized, RTS reported.

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Police, who made no immediate comment, blocked access to the forest where the incident took place, only around a kilometer from the Hungarian border.

Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin rushed to the scene.

The injured, aged between 20 and 30, have no documents, Subotica mayor Stevan Bakic told local media.

It is not known what triggered the incident, he added.

Local media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member Hungary.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by migrants heading towards Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Although the route is nowhere as busy as it was during Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, tens of thousands of illegal migrants still cross the region annually.

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