Saudi Arabia, Russia in push for Syria solution

Updated 06 December 2013
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Saudi Arabia, Russia in push for Syria solution

MOSCOW: Saudi intelligence chief has held a new meeting in Russia with President Vladimir Putin on the Syrian conflict, the second closed-door encounter this year.
The Kremlin said in a statement that Prince Bandar bin Sultan discussed with Putin at the president’s suburban Moscow residence the situation in the Middle East and preparations for a Syria peace conference planned in January.
“There was a detailed exchange of views on the situation around Syria, including in the context of preparations for the Geneva II conference,” the Kremlin said, without giving further details.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had also met Prince Bandar in Moscow to discuss the Syria peace conference.
“The emphasis was placed on the need to ensure that regional problems are solved on the basis of respect of the UN Charter and principles of international law,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Lina Sobonina, a Russian political analyst and researcher, told Al Arabiya News Channel that the discussion could address President Bashar Assad’s future role in Syria. Russia might also invite Saudi Arabia to attend the Geneva II conference.
“Russia believes that the participation of all regional powers would be useful and necessary, including Iran and Saudi Arabia,” Sobonina said.
The US-Russian peace initiative dubbed Geneva II, which aims at bringing the Syrian regime and opposition representatives to the negotiating table in a bid to end the bloody 32-month war, is being planned for Jan. 22.
The opposition has agreed to attend the talks on condition that they lead to a transitional phase that excludes Assad and his regime.
But government officials and their backers in Iran and Russia insist there should be no preconditions, and Assad has also said he would be willing to stand for re-election in 2014.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad has said that no solution will be implemented without Assad’s approval.
“The Syrian (government) delegation at Geneva will be working under Assad’s directives, and any solutions proposed will have no impact unless Assad approves of them,” said in remarks in the Syrian press.
According to Muqdad, “in their closed meetings, Western leaders say there is no replacement for Assad.”
He also said that at Geneva 2, “we will gather around the table and we will discuss, without foreign interference ... and there will be an enlarged government.”


More than 85 Houthis killed in battles across Yemen

Updated 17 February 2019
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More than 85 Houthis killed in battles across Yemen

  • More than 40 militants were killed in the southern Taiz province, and 18 others were killed on the Damt front in the southern Ad Dali province
  • Scores of militants were wounded, while the army seized military-grade equipment and ammunition.

DUBAI: More than 85 Iran-backed Houthi militants were killed and more wounded in clashes with the Yemeni army supported by the Arab Coalition across the country on Saturday, Saudi state-news agency SPA reported.

According to the reports, more than 40 militants were killed in the southern Taiz province, and 18 others were killed on the Damt front in the southern Ad Dali province, while more than 30 were killed in clashes with the Hajour tribe northwest of the country.

Scores of militants were wounded, while the army seized military-grade equipment and ammunition.

Meanwhile, Yemen’ Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Hadrami said that the continued conflict stirred by the Houthis threatens the Swedish peace agreement and any progress in the political process.

In a meeting with UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash on the sidelines of the 55th session of the Munich Conference of Security 2019, Al-Hadrami said that the continued Houthi manipulation represents the failed opportunities for peace in Yemen.

For his part, UAE’s Gargash stressed on the need to combine efforts and send clear messages to the international community revealing the truth behind the militia’s violations on the ground.