Turkey has banned all Syrian aircraft from its air space as it takes an increasingly firm stance against President Bashar al-Assad, while Syrian rebels said on Sunday they had made more gains in a key province near the Turkish border.
Human Rights Watch said Syrian government forces had dropped Russian-made cluster bombs over civilian areas in the past week as they battled to reverse rebel advances, an act which rights groups say can constitute a war crime.
NATO-member Turkey has increasingly taken on a leadership role in the international coalition ranked against Assad.
Saudi Arabia says it is “insulted” by a parliamentary inquiry into how the UK deals with the country and Bahrain.
Saudi officials have told the BBC they are now “re-evaluating their country’s historic relations with Britain” and that “all options will be looked at”.
While they stopped short of cancelling ongoing trade deals, the move reflects growing Saudi resentment at the West’s reaction to the Arab Spring.
Uncertainty over the euro zone debt crisis is now showing signs of restraining business and household spending in the Middle East, a top IMF official said on Sunday after weekend meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
The IMF’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, Masood Ahmed, told Reuters the uncertainty was adding to already existing concerns over political transitions in Arab Spring nations, and a heavy election and legislative calendar in 2013 in the region.
He said the message from the region’s finance leaders during the IMF meetings in Tokyo was that Europe’s debt crisis was seeping into businesses and household spending plans.
Abu Dhabi’s economy grew 6.8 percent in inflation-adjusted terms in 2011, the fastest rate since 2004 and more than double the pace of the previous year, thanks to stronger activity in both oil and non-oil sectors, government data showed on Sunday.
“Growth in GDP at constant prices during 2011 surpassed all the forecasts and estimates made by local and international parties,” the Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi said. The real gross domestic product of Abu Dhabi, one of seven United Arab Emirates, rose 3.0 percent in 2010.
Abu Dhabi, which accounts for most of the UAE’s crude oil output and about 65 percent of the GDP of the second largest Arab economy, released detailed inflation-adjusted GDP data for the first time on Sunday. In the past, the statistics centre only published nominal GDP data.
Saudi Arabia’s biggest listed bank by stock market capitalisation, Al-Rajhi Group, missed analysts’ forecasts with a 3.5 percent fall in third-quarter net profit on Sunday, citing higher operating expenses.
Al-Rajhi reported net earnings of SR1.87bn ($498m) in the three months ended September 30, compared with SR1.94bn in the same period last year. It did not give details on the higher costs.
Ten analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a profit of SR2.11bn on average.
Egypt’s government plans to cut energy subsidies by setting a universal limit on how much cheap fuel and cooking gas every household can buy, Petroleum Minister Osama Kamal told a newspaper Sunday.
The Islamist-led administration that took office in July has vowed to push through reform of the subsidies, which consume as much as a quarter of the state budget, to lower an unmanageable deficit and shift funds to health and education.
Economists say the IMF will not release a $4.8 billion loan until Egypt shows how it will cut a deficit that ballooned after a popular uprising tipped the economy into crisis last year.
The head of Dubai developer Limitless said that the indebted firm’s creditors were “squeezing us for everything” following the restructuring of a US$1.2bn loan announced last week.
Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said Limitless, which was battered by the emirate’s 2009 property crash, expected to have fully paid up everything it owes by 2016.
“We’re generating [revenue], we’re paying all of our interest on time – you can check with the lenders – they’re squeezing us for everything,” said Lootah, who is also boss of Nakheel, another indebted property developer in Dubai.
The gas flow in a pipeline carrying Iranian natural gas to Turkey resumed on Sunday, almost a week after it was halted by an explosion in eastern Turkey, Turkey’s energy minister said.
“The Turkey to Iran natural gas pipeline just started to pump this morning,” Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters.
“Turkey is currently getting natural gas from Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan and we did not have any supply problems,” he said.
Sudan expects to double its oil production in the next two years, to 300,000 barrels per day, as it steps up oil exploration, the country’s petroleum minister said on Monday.
The country has awarded nine exploration blocks to consortiums formed by companies from Canada, Brazil and the Middle East, Awad Ahmed El-Jazz told Reuters on the sidelines of the Petrotech energy conference in the Indian capital.
“We offered last month 9 blocks and had around 72 companies competing for them,” he said.