Coalition’s priority is to protect Yemen civilians

A member of the Saudi security force stands guard in front of the logo of the Saudi-led Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition during a meeting for the coalition's chiefs of staff in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this March 27, 2016 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 February 2017
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Coalition’s priority is to protect Yemen civilians

ADEN: The Saudi Arabia-led Arab coalition supporting the legitimacy in Yemen has made the protection of civilians its top priority and is taking all measures to minimize losses.
The coalition leadership, which reaffirms its commitment to international human rights and humanitarian law, has taken steps to protect civilians, members of medical units and humanitarian organizations as well as journalists.
The coalition works extensively with UN organizations and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to support humanitarian efforts based on respect for international human rights.
An independent team formed by the coalition, consisting of top officials, military advisers and military, international and humanitarian law authorities, is working to assess incidents and accidents and investigation procedures.
The team is working to develop these processes and it provides reports about each incident that include studies, lessons learned, conclusions and recommendations for future action.
The coalition forces that participated in the Operation Decisive Storm and are now participating in the Operation Restoration of Hope have an interest in restoring legitimacy to Yemen and shows a great concern for the lives of civilians, their homes and for the provision of their basic needs such as water, food, schooling, hospitals and others.
The coalition is also determined to protect existing infrastructure in Yemeni cities and towns that are in the crossfire of Houthi rebels.
Despite the fact that the Geneva Convention and the additional protocol warn against the use of civilians as human shields, Houthis and ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s forces are still concentrated in residential areas.
Abdulrahman Berman, a lawyer with the Yemeni National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms, said that Houthi rebels in Yemen are seeking revenge by using people as human shields.
As such, these rebels are legally and ethically accountable to the Yemeni people and the international community, he said.
The coalition has on several occasions, especially in conflict areas such as Saadah, evacuated civilians as soon as possible before launching airstrikes on hiding places of Houthis and other rebels.
A confidential report by UN experts monitoring the sanctions imposed on Yemen has also accused Houthis of using civilians as human shields.
The report revealed that Houthis deliberately hid fighters and weapons near civilians in Al-Mokha and Taiz in order to avoid being attacked, which is in violation of international humanitarian law.
Earlier, Mansour bin Ahmed Al-Mansour, media spokesman of the joint team for evaluating incidents in Yemen, rejected accusations that the Arab coalition targets civilians in Yemen as “inaccurate” and stressed that Houthis use civilian facilities for military purposes.


Saudi foreign minister meets French envoy

Francois Gouyette
Updated 19 min 29 sec ago
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Saudi foreign minister meets French envoy

  • Saudi Arabia and France have a strong history of bilateral trade relations
  • France is a major arms supplier to Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir received French Ambassador Francois Gouyette in Riyadh on Monday.
During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern. Dr. Adel bin Siraj Mirdad, an undersecretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also present.
The two countries have a strong history of bilateral trade relations within the defense, infrastructure and aerospace sectors.
Former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls signed €10 billion worth of contracts in October 2015 in the fields of aerospace and military contracts on behalf of Airbus, transport, energy, health and food markets with French companies. France is also a major arms supplier to the Kingdom.
The Kingdom and France share longstanding economic ties, to which Saudi Vision 2030 provided an incentive to further strengthen a win-win relationship.
France is the third-biggest investor in the Kingdom, with more than $15 billion of investments, while Saudi Arabia is France’s leading commercial partner in the Gulf, with commercial flows amounting to more than $8 billion.