Saleh ‘subject to trial’ over Yemen coup: Arab coalition

Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri. (SPA)
Updated 11 February 2017
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Saleh ‘subject to trial’ over Yemen coup: Arab coalition

RIYADH: Ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will be subject to trial over the “criminal” coup in the country, an Arab coalition spokesman has said.
Saleh is a Yemeni citizen and thus “subject to imposition of international penalties for carrying out criminal acts in Yemen,” said Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri, who is also an adviser to the Saudi minister of defense.
Al-Assiri was speaking in an interview with Russia’s Sputnik and RIA Novosti news agencies. He said the legitimate government in Yemen is in charge of its citizens, and as such, “Saleh will be subject to trial based on Yemeni law.”
Al-Assiri said Saleh “belongs to a group of criminals that carried out a coup d’état” in the state, and must cooperate with the legitimate government if he wishes to avoid harsher penalties.
He said the Arab coalition considers “all groups that supported the coup as one body that led Yemen to the destruction and hardship it is currently facing.”
Asked whether Riyadh was targeted by ballistic missiles from Sanaa, as had been claimed by some, Al-Assiri said he “would not comment on such lies, as all incidents taking place in the Kingdom or areas or operations are announced and addressed via official statements by the coalition.”
He added: “No official statement was released about this activity by Houthi militias, which means it is a lie, and we have no time for verbal controversies and debates on media channels.
“We believe in truth, and we say to all those claiming that the Kingdom, or some of its territories, have been the target of such activity to issue a statement or a report. We promised transparency with Saudi Arabia, (the) Arab and international community, and should any such kind of activity occur, we would announce it, as we have nothing to hide.
“To date, Houthi militias targeted the Kingdom with 38 ballistic missiles; all these attacks were addressed and noted in official statements by the leadership of the coalition.
Most of these missiles launches failed and fell inside Yemeni territory, threatening the lives of civilians.”
The spokesman added: “Everyone understands that (Houthi and Saleh militia) groups are losing. Very soon, security, stability and the legitimate government will be restored. Currently, the government controls 85 percent of the country… There is no place in Yemen for rebellious groups.
“The Arab coalition supports the legitimate government, including in their policies. The government spent three months on peaceful talks in Kuwait. All possible options and concessions were discussed. But the opposite party decided to carry out their own policy, and the talks failed. Houthis and the government led by Saleh fuel the conflict, by establishing a parallel government.
“They abducted and killed a lot of people. In fact, those supporting them make up only one percent of the Yemeni population. They want to impose their will on 26 million Yemenis.”


Lebanese budget protesters clash with security in Beirut

Updated 47 min 53 sec ago
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Lebanese budget protesters clash with security in Beirut

  • Over one hundred protesters gathered Monday outside the Government House in downtown Beirut
  • Lebanon faces a looming fiscal crisis as the economy struggles with soaring debt

BEIRUT: Security forces opened water cannons on Lebanese anti-austerity protesters in the country’s capital on Monday, as the government continued to hold marathon meetings to discuss severe budget cuts.
Lebanon faces a looming fiscal crisis as the economy struggles with soaring debt, rising unemployment and slow growth. The government’s tightened budget and key reforms aim to unlock billions of dollars in pledged foreign assistance. But planned cuts have unleashed a wave of public discontent, amid leaks that austerity could target public wages, services and social benefits.

A retired Lebanese soldier chants slogans while holding an army flag, during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday. (AP)

Over one hundred protesters gathered Monday outside the Government House in downtown Beirut shouting “Thieves, thieves!” as the Cabinet met for its 16th session and struggles to reach agreement.
Protesters pushed back against police lines and set fire to tires outside the building. At least two policemen and one civilian were wounded in the scuffles.
Among those demonstrating Monday were public and private school teachers and retired officers.
The government, headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, has sought to calm nerves while also describing the upcoming budget as the most austere in Lebanon’s history.
Hariri said he hopes the government will be able to send the budget to parliament later this week.
Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said the cabinet made “important progress” in discussions Sunday.