Hadi govt says Kerry proposal rewards Houthi terror

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel Malek Al-Mekhlafi
Updated 16 November 2016
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Hadi govt says Kerry proposal rewards Houthi terror

DUBAI: Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel Malek Al-Mekhlafi said on Tuesday his government was not interested in a cease-fire and unity government announcement by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Speaking after talks in Oman, which is close to the Houthis, and in the UAE, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition, Kerry said he had presented Houthi delegates with a document outlining a cease-fire and peace deal.
He said the Houthis, whom he met in Oman on Monday night, had agreed to a truce from Thursday, provided the other side implemented it.
“And thus far the Emiratis and the Saudis ... they have both agreed to try to move forward with this,” he said.
The cease-fire would be on the same terms as an earlier one that ran from April until the end of August, when UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait ended in disagreement.
The Yemeni government quickly rejected the move, complaining of being bypassed.
“The government of Yemen is not aware of the statements made by Mr. Kerry and does not consider itself committed to them,” said Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel Malek Al-Mekhlafi.
Remarks attributed to Kerry “are a bid to derail peace efforts and a bid to reach an agreement with the Houthis without the government,” he said. “I believe the current US administration is incapable of providing any guarantees to any party and what Kerry has said is no more than a media bubble at our people’s expense,” Al-Mekhlafi told Al-Jazeera television.
Kerry, in what could be his last trip to the Gulf before Obama’s term ends in January, is seeking a breakthrough to end the fighting between the Houthis, backed by Iran, and the internationally recognized government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
“The key is now to get everybody on board,” he said, adding that it was now essential to implement a UN peace road map drawn up by special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
“We have to have the final pieces, but I’m very hopeful that this can really come together, and has the potential to be a real turning point in this conflict, providing that everybody does their part,” Kerry added.

Saudis intercept missile
Saudi air defense forces on Tuesday intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired from Yemen toward the Kingdom.
The missile was fired toward Najran but was shot down, said a coalition statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency.
Coalition forces responded by targeting the source of the fire inside Yemen, it added.


Calm in Hodeidah as observers move in to monitor cease-fire

Sporadic clashes continued until about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, but residents said there was calm after that. (AFP)
Updated 19 December 2018
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Calm in Hodeidah as observers move in to monitor cease-fire

  • “Both parties said publicly they are abiding by the cease-fire,” a UN official said
  • The truce in Hodeidah officially began at midnight on Monday

JEDDAH: Truce monitoring observers will be deployed in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Wednesday as the first 24 hours of a UN-brokered cease-fire passed without incident.

The Redeployment Coordination Committee comprises members of the Yemeni government supported by the Saudi-led coalition, and Houthi militias backed by Iran, and is overseen by the UN. 

The head of the committee will report to the UN Security Council every week.

Deployment of the observers is the latest stage in a peace deal reached after talks last week in Sweden. Both sides in the conflict agreed to a cease-fire in Hodeidah and the withdrawal of their forces within 21 days.

“Both parties said publicly they are abiding by the cease-fire,” a UN official said on Tuesday.

Local authorities and police will run the city and its three port facilities under UN supervision, and the two sides are barred from bringing in reinforcements.

UN envoy Martin Griffith said the committee was expected to start its work swiftly “to translate the momentum built up in Sweden into achievements on the ground.”

The truce in Hodeidah officially began at midnight on Monday. Sporadic clashes continued until about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, but residents said there was calm after that. 

“We are hopeful that things will go back to the way they were and that there will be no aggression, no airstrikes and lasting security,” said one, Amani Mohammed.

Another resident, Mohammed Al-Saikel, said he was optimistic the cease-fire would pave the way for a broader truce. “We are hopeful about this cease-fire in Hodeidah and one for Yemen in general,” he said. “We will reach out in peace to whoever does the same.”

The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution that asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to submit proposals by the end of the month on how to monitor the cease-fire.

The resolution, submitted by the UK, “calls on all parties to the conflict to take further steps to facilitate the unhindered flow of commercial and humanitarian supplies including food, fuel, medicine and other essential imports and humanitarian personnel into and across the country.”