Saudi-led coalition ‘will not allow Houthi militia to become another Hezbollah’

Major General Ahmed Al Asiri, spokesman for the Arab Coalition attends a press briefing at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London, Britain, in this November 3, 2016 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 April 2017
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Saudi-led coalition ‘will not allow Houthi militia to become another Hezbollah’

PARIS: The Arab coalition will not allow Houthi militias in Yemen to become like Hezbollah in Lebanon, its spokesman said.
Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri said the coalition would not accept any notion that the militants become part of a solution in Yemen.
Speaking at a forum in Paris, Al-Assiri said military operations in Yemen are being performed with caution in order to protect civilians, adding that Houthi militias are trying to hide their command and control centers among civilians.
“We seek to deliver humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people,” he said. “The Arab coalition was created to preserve the Yemeni state, and the coalition’s main goal is to preserve its legitimacy and people’s rights, and to alleviate the suffering of civilians subjected to Houthis’ injustice.”
He noted that legitimate forces have achieved progress in Yemen and the political leadership has returned to Aden.
Al-Assiri said Yemen’s suffering started the day the Houthis turned against the legitimate government, with militias using civilians as human shields and disguising their military command among them.
He advised against “hasty” executions of military plans in Yemen, which “may lead to losses. The policy of blockading the militias leads to effective results.”
The coalition cooperated with Yemeni forces to defeat Al-Qaeda in Yemen, he said, stressing that it is seeking “a comprehensive political solution that satisfies everyone.”
A solution for Yemen has to entail the implementation of international resolutions and to be consistent with the will of the Yemeni people, with no gray areas that might consider the militants as part of the solution, Al-Assiri said.
He added that the legitimate government in Yemen is training young people on security and combating terrorism, while the coalition avoids using indiscriminate bombing that would endanger civilians.
Al-Assiri said the coalition’s sea blockade is not a siege, it is only a means of controlling the parties that use the waters, and as such, claims that the blockade has led to famine are false.


Sudan’s army calls for unconditional talks with protesters

Updated 20 June 2019
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Sudan’s army calls for unconditional talks with protesters

  • Protest leaders have set conditions for a resumption of talks, including a withdrawal of the military and militias from cities
  • At least 128 people were killed across the country since security forces cleared the sit-in area outside the military’s headquarters

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s military council said talks on the transition of power should resume without preconditions, signaling a continued standoff with opposition leaders who launched nighttime demonstrations to push for civilian rule.
Protest leaders have set conditions for a resumption of talks, including a withdrawal of the military and militias from cities, the resumption of Internet service and an international investigation of the violent razing of their sit-in camp on June 3.
Transition talks collapsed over the military’s crackdown.
At least 128 people were killed across the country since security forces cleared the sit-in area outside the military’s headquarters. Authorities offer a lower death toll of 61, including three from security forces.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the council, told health workers in Khartoum on Wednesday that the council did not have preconditions for returning to the negotiating table with the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, which has represented protesters.
He said neither side should make up-front demands.
“I repeat our invitation to all political forces and the FDFC to come (for talks), and there is no need for preconditions,” he said. “We do not deny their role in the uprising and the popular revolution ..., but the solution should be satisfactory to all Sudanese factions.”
Protest leaders could not be reached immediately for comment.
On Saturday, the Sudanese Professionals’ Association said it would stick to its conditions for the resumption of talks.
Meanwhile, protest leaders launched nighttime protests this week.
Late Wednesday, about 300 protesters, mostly young people, marched in Khartoum’s western district of Abbasiya, waving Sudanese flags and calling for justice for those killed since the sit-in dispersal.
Protesters avoid daytime demonstrations for fear of being quashed by security forces heavily deployed in Khartoum.
The military council has rejected the idea of an international probe and said it had started its own investigation along with another one by prosecutors.
An Ethiopian initiative to resume talks apparently failed to make progress in the deadlock. A top general in the military council pushed back last week against a key demand from the protest leaders to have the majority in a transitional legislative body.
Burhan said that the country cannot remain without a government, more than three months after the military ousted autocratic President Omar Al-Bashir in April.
“We do not want that things (get) out of control,” Burhan said. “Another coup could be carried out because of the country’s impasse.”