Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, Jan. 29

ADEN, Yemen -- Chairman of Yemen's Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) Rashad al-Alimi issued on Sunday a republican decree to form new reserve military units in the war-ravaged Arab country to fight the Houthi rebels.

"President Rashad al-Alimi issued a decree to establish reserve military units called the Nation Shield Forces, which will be under his personal supervision and leadership as the supreme commander of Yemen's armed forces," said a statement released by the state-run Saba news agency. (Yemen-New Military Units-Formation)

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ANKARA -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Türkiye may respond "differently" to Finland's NATO bid in a way that would "shock" Sweden, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

"We may respond differently to Finland if necessary. Sweden would be shocked when we respond differently to Finland. But Finland should not make the same mistake," Erdogan said at a meeting in the northwestern province of Bilecik. (Türkiye-Finland-Sweden-NATO Bids)

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TEHRAN -- The Iranian top banker said on Sunday that a direct connection has been established between the banks of Iran and Russia, reported the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Mohammadreza Farzin, governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), said that within the framework of the joint action plan of banking cooperation signed last year by the two countries' central banks, the first step toward the implementation was taken on Sunday. (Iran-Russia-Banking Cooperation)

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TEHRAN -- The Iranian foreign minister said on Sunday that Iran and Saudi Arabia are expected to resume talks on normalizing ties soon, the official news agency IRNA reported.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks at a joint press conference with his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani following their meeting in the Iranian capital Tehran, commenting on the next round of rapprochement talks between Tehran and Riyadh. (Iran-Saudi Arabia-Normalization Talks)

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