Arabs to back Mideast talks if Palestine state guaranteed

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud attends talks of the Arab League summit in the Jordanian Dead Sea resort of Sweimeh on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 30 March 2017

Arabs to back Mideast talks if Palestine state guaranteed

THE DEAD SEA, Jordan: Arab leaders on Wednesday adopted the Amman Declaration, issued at the conclusion of the Arab Summit in Jordan, reiterating their readiness to have a historic reconciliation with Israel in return for its withdrawal from land it has occupied since the 1967 war.
The declaration, read by Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said Arab states would back Palestinian-Israeli talks to end the decades-old conflict if it guaranteed the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The Arab Summit — attended by 21 leaders — urged countries not to move embassies to Jerusalem and to reject unilateral Israeli moves that undermine the city’s identity. President Donald Trump has said he would move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
The Amman Declaration says “peace is a strategic option” for the Arab world, based on a two-state solution.
It also calls for a settlement to the Syrian crisis that secures the aspirations of the Syrian people and the country’s unity and sovereignty, and removes the presence of all terrorist groups there, in accordance with the Geneva I communique and relevant UN resolutions, particularly 2254.
The declaration added that the crisis can only be solved via a political settlement with the approval of all Syrian components. It also underlined the need to support countries hosting millions of refugees.
The declaration said Arab leaders support Yemen’s legitimate government and a political settlement to the conflict on the basis of UN Resolution 2216, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative and the outcomes of the Yemeni National Dialogue.
It also expressed support for Arab Coalition efforts to support Yemen’s legitimate government.
The declaration said Arab leaders support the unity and stability of Iraq. It hailed the Iraqi government’s fight against terrorists, and its efforts to achieve national reconciliation that safeguards all components of society. It said Iraq’s stability is part of regional and international stability.
The declaration supports all efforts to reach a political settlement in Libya that includes all parties in a national dialogue, leading to solution that maintains the country’s unity, security and stability, and which serves the interests and hopes of the Libyan people.
Arab leaders vowed to take all measures to fight terrorism and extract it from its roots via a comprehensive strategy that entrenches democratic values and human dignity, and counters ignorance and exclusion.
Arab leaders also said they welcome good neighborliness with other countries based on mutual respect that boosts bilateral cooperation and rejects interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries, attempts to destabilize them, and sectarianism and sedition.
The declaration called on Iran to end its occupation of Emirati islands, and expressed support for the UAE’s efforts to reclaim the islands via all legal and political means. 


Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

Pro-government drive in an industrial district in the eastern outskirts of the port city Hodeidah. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2018

Houthis mobilize to fight ahead of UN envoy’s visit

  • Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday
  • UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week

SANAA: Iran-backed Houthi militias have said they are ready to mobilize more fighters to the frontline despite a lull in battleground Hodeidah, as the UN envoy prepares to visit the country to boost peace efforts.

Dozens of Houthis put on a show of strength on the outskirts of Sanaa on Saturday, apparently getting ready to head toward Hodeidah, a Red Sea city home to a vital port.

Men, some of whom looked very young, were lining up with bandoliers around their shoulders and rifles in their hands, chanting Houthi slogans.

Residents said on Sunday that relative calm had held in Hodeidah city since pro-government forces announced a pause in their offensive last week amid international calls for a cease-fire and UN-led peace efforts.  They added, however, that they remain on edge.

Meanwhile, coalition fighter jets on Sunday carried out a series of strikes targeting Houthi positions west of Marib. The strikes, which were accompanied by shelling, came after the Iranian-supported militia launched ballistic missiles toward the city of Marib. Coalition forces successfully intercepted the missiles, Yemeni army media said.

UN special envoy Martin Griffiths said on Friday that he plans to travel to Sanaa in the coming week to finalize arrangements for peace talks to take place in Sweden soon.

Hameed Assem, a member of the militia delegation expected to take part in the negotiations, said that Houthis will continue to mobilize if UN efforts for peace fail to materialize.

Pro-government forces on Wednesday suspended their 12-day offensive in Hodeidah.

Griffiths said on Friday that both the government and the Houthis have shown a “renewed commitment” to work on a political solution and have given “firm assurances” that they will attend the talks. No date has yet been set.