German cabinet approves Patriot missiles for Turkey

Updated 07 December 2012
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German cabinet approves Patriot missiles for Turkey

BERLIN:Germany’s cabinet agreed on Thursday to send Patriot missiles and up to 400 soldiers to Turkey to act as a deterrent against any spread of the conflict in Syria across the border, Berlin’s foreign and defense ministries said.
Turkey, a NATO member hostile to Assad which has taken in thousands of refugees, says it needs the air defense batteries to shoot down any missiles that might be fired across its border.
NATO approved its request for the missiles on Tuesday. The Netherlands and the United States also plan to provide Patriot batteries. Deployment is expected to take several weeks.
Germany’s parliament will vote on the mandate between Dec. 12 and 14, said the ministries.
“The strengthening of the integrated NATO air defense in Turkey is a purely defensive measure which, as a military deterrent, will prevent the conflict within Syria spreading to Turkey,” said the ministries.
“The deployment does not represent the establishment of or monitoring of a no-fly-zone over Syrian territory or any other offensive step,” they added.
The Patriot deployment will come under the command of SACEUR Allied Troops in Europe, which can also order the use of Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), said the ministries.
Turkey has repeatedly scrambled jets along the countries’ frontier and has responded in kind when shells from the Syrian conflict came down inside its borders, fueling fears the civil war could spread.
However, Syria and its allies Russia and Iran have criticized the decision on the missiles, saying it increases regional instability.
Approval from Germany’s Bundestag lower house is not expected to be a problem although some opposition lawmakers, mainly Greens, are against the deployment due to fears of getting caught up in a wider regional conflict.
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has said he expects a broad parliamentary majority in the vote.
The foreign ministry said the suggested mandate would last until the end of Jan., 2014.


Transition government, elections to follow weapons decommissioning: New UN envoy's road map for Yemen

Updated 47 min 12 sec ago
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Transition government, elections to follow weapons decommissioning: New UN envoy's road map for Yemen

  • Martin Griffith the UN special envoy to Yemen hopes to float a new blueprint
  • Yemen's foreign minister said he will work with Houthis as long as weapons are decommissioned

LONDON: The UN special envoy to Yemen has returned to the country armed with a new political settlement to end the ongoing war.

Sources were quoted by Al Sharq Al-Awsat that Martin Griffith the UN special envoy to Yemen hopes to float a new-old blueprint to end the war by getting the parties to agree to a political settlement based on a transitional period to be followed by elections if both parties to the conflict agree to his plan.

Griffith hopes to start political talks without addressing the armed groups and their weapons, in the hope of addressing this sensitive issue later.

The proposed talks center around a negotiation process between a legitimate government and the proponent of the coup carried out by the Houthi militia backed by Iran in September 2015.

Yemen’s foreign minister Andel Malek Al-Mekhlafi said that his government is willing to work with the Houthis in a unity government in a transitional phase, as long as weapons are decommissioned; “so that we don’t legitimize the coup and its gains,” Al-Mekhlafi said.

While Yemen awaits practical steps to apply the UN special envoy’s vision, many experts in Yemen question the Houthi militia’s intent and commitment to any political settlement, with many believing that they will wait for orders from the Iranian government.