UN supervision of Yemen port demanded

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 21 March 2017
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UN supervision of Yemen port demanded

JEDDAH: A Yemeni rebel missile was intercepted over the Kingdom Monday, the Saudi-led Arab coalition said.
The coalition said the missile, directed at Jazan, caused no casualties. The coalition destroyed the missile launch pad, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The coalition fighting in Yemen called on Sunday for the UN to place a strategic port under its supervision after 42 Somalis were killed in an attack on their refugee boat nearby.
The refugees had departed from the western port city of Al-Hodeidah en route to Sudan when it came under fire in an incident aid workers said had involved a helicopter.
The Red Sea port near the Bab Al-Mandab strait is under the control of Yemen’s armed Houthi movement, which has been fighting the Arab coalition for over two years.
While the alliance denied responsibility for the attack on Friday, it called for jurisdiction over Al-Hodeidah port to be transferred to the UN.
“This would facilitate the flow of humanitarian supplies to the Yemeni people, while at the same time ending the use of the port for weapons smuggling and people trafficking,” it said in a statement.
It is still unclear who was behind the assault.
Meanwhile, the UN called for an inquiry into the attack.
“Many questions remain unanswered on the circumstances of this horrific event,” said Filippo Grandi, head of the UN refugee agency, in a statement.
“We call on all parties to the conflict to make proper inquiries to ensure accountability and to prevent this from happening again,” he added.
Iolanda Jaquemet, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said: “We do not know who carried it out, but survivors said they came under attack from another boat at 9 p.m.”
The crew used lights and shouted to signal this is a civilian boat. Nevertheless, it did not have any effect and a helicopter joined in the attack, said Jaquemet.


Turkey’s jailed pro-Kurdish candidate in first TV appearance for 20 months

Updated 17 June 2018
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Turkey’s jailed pro-Kurdish candidate in first TV appearance for 20 months

  • Selahattin Demirtas, who has been in detention for close to 20 months on security charges and faces a sentence of up to 142 years if convicted
  • One of Turkey’s best-known politicians, he has had to run his campaign mostly through social media

ANKARA: The jailed presidential candidate for Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition made his first television appearance in over a year and a half on Sunday, giving a campaign speech ahead of next week’s elections.
Selahattin Demirtas, who has been in detention for close to 20 months on security charges and faces a sentence of up to 142 years if convicted, was nominated by his Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as a candidate last month.
One of Turkey’s best-known politicians, he has had to run his campaign mostly through social media from his prison cell in the northwestern city of Edirne, while Turkish media have been saturated with coverage of President Tayyip Erdogan and his ministers.
Speaking on state broadcaster TRT in a scheduled 10-minute address, to which he is entitled under election law, Demirtas said voting for Erdogan and his ruling AK Party would mean putting the fate of the country “between one man’s two lips.”
“The only reason I am still here is that the AKP is scared of me. They think tying my hands here and going from square to square spreading accusations about me is being courageous,” a visibly thinner Demirtas said.
“They are openly violating the constitution by declaring me guilty even though there is no conviction ruling against me, and are trying to direct the public by misinforming them,” he said.
The snap parliamentary and presidential elections on Sunday will herald the switch to the new powerful executive presidency narrowly approved in a referendum last year.
In previous elections, Demirtas won votes beyond his core Kurdish constituency, and is likely to draw significant backing in the first round of the presidential vote, while boosting the prospects of his party entering parliament.
Demirtas’s HDP arranged a viewing of his speech in Istanbul’s Bakirkoy Square, where hundreds of supporters gathered to watch.
“You should have no doubt that I will be acquitted in front of the law as soon as possible. So long as the judicial authorities follow the superiority of the law and not the government’s expectations,” Demirtas said, as supporters cheered and waved flags.