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Raeisi Africa tour

President Ebrahim Raeisi says strengthening Iran's strategic depth was among the main goals of his tour of three African nations. He made the remarks upon arrival in the Iranian capital at the end of his visits to Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Raeisi described Africa as a land of opportunities, which must not be neglected. He added that Africa also abounds with natural resources, mines and countless potentialities. Raeisi said an agreement reached on bartering petrochemical products with basic goods was a major achievement of his trip. During Raeisi's trip, Iran signed a total of 21 cooperation agreements with the three African nations. On the last leg of his tour, Raeisi said Iran is ready to transfer its technology and experience in various fields to Zimbabwe. He added that Iran has developed good relations with African countries since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Tehran says boosting ties with Africa is high on its foreign policy agenda.

Israeli settlements

Israel is pressing ahead with its land grab policy in the occupied Palestinian territories. Now, an Israeli settlement watchdog says the regime has promoted a record number of settler units in the West Bank during the past six months. According to Peace Now, the extremist cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved plans for the construction of nearly 13,000 settler units since January. This has made 2023 the highest year on record in terms of the number of settler units approved by the occupying regime. Some 700,000 settlers live in 279 settlements across the occupied West Bank. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has criticized the expansion of Israeli settlements in several resolutions. However, the world body has fallen short of taking any practical steps to force the regime to stop its expansionist approach.

Ukraine NATO membership

The US president has dismissed the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO while it is still in war with Russia. Joe Biden says Kiev’s accession to the western military alliance during the conflict could kick off World War Three. Biden made the comments at a joint presser with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Helsinki following a US-Nordic summit. NATO offered Ukraine security guarantees in its latest summit in Lithuania. The bloc also has vowed that Kiev will become a member, but has fallen short of setting a timetable for it. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned NATO against accepting Ukraine as a new member, saying this would generate more tensions worldwide.

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