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“Israel source of tension”

Iran’s president Ebrahim Raeisi says the presence of Israel in the region only foments tensions and does not help the regional security in any way. Raeisi made the remarks in a meeting with his Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, on the sidelines of the sixth summit of the Caspian Littoral States. Raeisi said security in the region can only be established through cooperation among regional countries. He said Iran has proven to be a friend for its neighbors in hard times and will never abandon them. The Iranian president also met with his Turkmen and Russian counterparts in separate meetings.

Russian warning NATO

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow would respond if NATO deployed troops and infrastructure in Finland and Sweden after they joined the alliance. Putin was talking to reporters in a news conference in Turkmenistan's capital city of Ashgabat. He said it was inevitable that Moscow's relations with Helsinki and Stockholm would sour after they join the US-led military alliance. Putin also condemned what he called NATO's "imperial ambitions." He accused the alliance of seeking to assert its supremacy through the Ukraine conflict. Putin said NATO does not care for the well-being of the Ukrainian people and only means to defend its own interests. He added that the objective of Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine remains unchanged. Putin said the ultimate goal of Moscow's operation is liberating Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region and ensuring Russia’s security.

Sudan anti-coup protests

Sudanese security forces have fatally shot another protester during anti-coup demonstrations in the capital Khartoum. The latest death brings to one-hundred and three the number of protesters killed in anti-coup demonstrations in the country so far. Wednesday's demonstrations saw hundreds taking to the streets in several neighborhoods around Khartoum, calling for civilian rule. Larger demonstrations have been planned for Thursday. Months-long unrest in Sudan led to the ouster of former President Omar al-Bashir in 2019. A subsequent power-sharing deal struck between the military and civilians was scrapped in a coup in October last year. Many officials who worked in the former Bashir regime have been allowed to return to civil service or have been released from jail, intensifying people’s anger.

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