UN envoy: International community committed to peace in Yemen

The United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. (AP file photo)
Updated 03 December 2016
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UN envoy: International community committed to peace in Yemen

ADEN: The UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Friday confirmed the international community’s commitment and responsibility to achieving peace in Yemen based on the agreed-upon terms of reference of the Gulf initiative, the National Dialogue and UN Security Council resolutions.
Following his meeting with Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Friday in Aden, Ahmed said the international community, the UN Security Council and 18 countries sponsoring peace efforts reconfirmed the legitimacy of Hadi and the government of Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid bin Dagher.
The envoy said the meeting was “positive,” and included discussion of peace efforts and opportunities in Yemen.
Hadi said rebels were continuing their hostilities, and were not serious about achieving peace.
He presided over an extraordinary meeting of the government in Aden on Friday, attended by bin Dagher.
During the meeting, Hadi stressed the importance of merging efforts to defeat the rebels in all areas of Yemen, especially in Taiz.
“Battles of honor and perseverance continue in the face of invaders seeking to destroy the city and kill and displace the population,” said the president.
The official Yemeni News Agency reported that the meeting included discussion on issues related to the status of services, development and field work in Yemen in the face of the coup and Houthi militias.
Hadi touched on the government’s peace efforts as per the agreed-upon references of the Gulf initiative, the National Dialogue, and UN Security Council resolutions such as 2216.
He referred to “important” steps taken, namely that “the state has agreed to issue salaries of state employees in the civil and military sectors in the coming days.”
Mohammed Mousa Al-Ameri, advisor to the president, said the government was determined to proceed with military operations against the rebels, especially after they had rejected peace initiatives and recently formed their own government.
“There is no choice before Yemenis but to build a federal state and continue in the regional project that will allow all Yemenis to achieve and live in justice, quality, and resolution of their issues,” Ameri said during a meeting on Friday in Al-Baidaa province with leaders of the popular resistance.
Those leaders praised the role of the Arab coalition in standing by the legitimate government in order to restore the state and its institutions, and assisting the popular resistance in Al-Baidaa against the Houthi rebels.
Meanwhile, the coalition said 172 civilians were killed and several hundred injured, including women and children, in November by “indiscriminate and heavy shelling” by rebels targeting residential neighborhoods in Taiz.
The coalition added that dozens of homes, commercial and civilian establishments were partially or totally destroyed by rebel shelling.
It said schools, mosques, government buildings and health facilities were bombed, while 36 schools in Al-Salu in Taiz were shut down due to weeks of shelling and targeted attacks.
Water and electricity are still cut off in Taiz, and most health and medical facilities have been destroyed.
Aid organizations have still not reached Taiz since the partial lifting of the siege on the city from its western port in mid-August.
The coalition said 752 families had been forcefully displaced from their homes due to armed combat and indiscriminate shelling in the Taiz countryside.


Turkey, Russia, Iran to hold Syria talks next week

Updated 7 min 45 sec ago
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Turkey, Russia, Iran to hold Syria talks next week

ASTANA: Russia, Iran and Turkey will hold the next round of talks on Syria's conflict on November 28-29 in the Kazakh capital Astana, Kazakhstan's foreign minister said on Monday.
"The participants plan to discuss the current situation in Syria, in particular in Idlib, creating conditions for the return of refugees and internally displaced people, and post-conflict reconstruction," Kairat Abdrakhmanov said in Astana.
The meeting will be the 11th in the Astana peace process -- set up in early 2017 by Russia and Iran, who support President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, and opposition backer Turkey.
Abdrakhmanov said representatives of Damascus and armed opposition groups would take part, but did not specify what level of officials from Russia, Iran and Turkey would attend.
The Astana process was launched after Russia's military intervention in Syria tipped the balance in the regime's favour. It has gradually eclipsed an earlier UN-sponsored negotiations framework known as the Geneva process.
This month's meeting comes with continued violence threatening plans for a buffer zone around Idlib, the last major opposition stronghold in Syria.
Russia and Turkey agreed in September to set up the buffer zone to avert a Syrian regime offensive, but jihadists who hold around 70 percent of the area have refused to withdraw.
Fighting in the area has continued, with jihadists on Friday killing 22 regime fighters in an attack on government forces in the northwest of Hama province near the planned zone.