GCC demands deterrent UN action against Syria

Updated 11 September 2013
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GCC demands deterrent UN action against Syria

Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries renewed their calls to the UN on Tuesday to take “deterrent action” against Bashar Assad’s regime over an alleged chemical attack that killed hundreds of Syrians.
GCC foreign ministers also denounced the participation of foreign forces and militias in the killing of Syrian people, urging the UN to act immediately to protect Syrians and help them defend themselves.
 “The UN Security Council must assume its responsibilities,” Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Khalifa said at the start of a GCC ministerial meeting in Jeddah.
He urged “deterrent measures against the perpetrators of this ugly crime, for which the Syrian regime is responsible.” 
Sheikh Khaled’s statement made no mention of Russia’s latest proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision for eventual destruction.
The surprise proposal was made on Monday and is aimed at averting punitive US strikes against the Syrian regime.
The ministers expressed their deep concern over the worsening situation in Syria and its negative impact on the region’s security and stability. They denounced the “dangerous human rights violations by Assad’s regime against his people, using all kinds of weapons, including weapons of mass destruction.”
The meeting held the regime responsible for the continuing tragedy. 
Sheikh Khaled said the Russian proposal would not end the plight of Syrians. “We’ve heard of the initiative. It’s all about chemical weapons, but doesn’t stop the bloodshed.”
A group of US senators was crafting a new measure Tuesday that ties authorization for a military strike on Syria to action by the United Nations.
The lawmakers, including allies and foes of President Barack Obama, were altering a resolution currently under debate which would green-light limited US strikes.
Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem said Tuesday his  country wanted to join the chemical weapons ban treaty and is ready to give other countries and the United Nations access to its arsenal.
The GCC meeting denounced the recent terrorist bombing in Bahrain and supported the measures taken by Manama to fight terrorism. It also denounced the terrorist attack on the UAE embassy in Libya.
The meeting hoped that Hassan Rowhani’s election as the president of Iran would improve GCC-Tehran ties, instill respect for the sovereignty of countries in the region and curb interference in the internal affairs of other countries. 
It urged Tehran to respond favorably to diplomatic efforts to resolve its nuclear issue peacefully.
 


Yemen groups agree to reopen Sanaa airport, still in talks on port at Sweden talks

Updated 40 min 10 sec ago
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Yemen groups agree to reopen Sanaa airport, still in talks on port at Sweden talks

  • Askar Zaeel, a member of the government delegation, said his camp would hold firm to UN Security Council Resolution 2216
  • Multiple draft proposals have been submitted to the two delegations over the past week

RIMBO, Sweden: Yemen's warring parties agreed on Wednesday to reopen Sanaa airport in the Houthi-held capital, sources said, as Western nations press the two sides to agree on confidence-building measures before the end of the first UN-led peace talks in two years.
The Iranian-backed Houthi movement and the Arab coalition-backed government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi were still discussing a UN proposal on the contested port city of Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is due to attend final talks in Sweden on Thursday to support his envoy's efforts to launch a political process to end the nearly four-year-old war. Another round of talks could be held in early 2019.
The Houthi militia hold most population centres, including Hodeidah and the capital Sanaa from which it ousted Hadi's government in 2014. The government is now based in the southern port of Aden.
The two parties agreed that international flights would stop at a government-held airport for inspections before flying in or out of Sanaa, two sources familiar with the talks said.
They have yet to agree on whether those inspections would be in Aden airport or that of Sayun, the sources added.
The Arab coalition intervened in the war in 2015 to restore Hadi's government controls the air space.
UN envoy Martin Griffiths, trying to avert a full-scale assault on Hodeidah, where coalition forces have massed on the outskirts, is asking both sides to withdraw from the city.
His proposal envisions an interim entity being formed to run the city and port and international monitors being deployed.
Asked if the government could accept that proposal, culture minister Marwan Dammaj said: "We are still discussing it."
Both sides have agreed to a UN role in the port, the entry point for most of Yemen's commercial imports and vital aid, but differ on who should run the city. The Houthi militia want Hodeidah declared a neutral zone, while Hadi's government believes the city should fall under its control as a matter of sovereignty.
"The devil is in the details - withdraw how far (from Hodeidah), the sequence, who governs and delivers services," said one diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.
They have also yet to agree on shoring up the central bank, and on a transitional governing body, although a deal was struck on a prisoner swap that could see 15,000 prisoners released.