After Saudi stop, Merkel visits UAE

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with people working in refugee relief from all over Germany in Berlin. Merkel arrived in Dubai on Monday after a one-day visit to Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo)
Updated 01 May 2017
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After Saudi stop, Merkel visits UAE

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Germany has offered diplomatic help to try to end the war in Yemen, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday as she ended a two-nation Gulf tour taking in the Arab world’s largest economies with a stop in the United Arab Emirates.
Merkel arrived in the seven-state federation following a visit to Saudi Arabia, where she held talks with King Salman and other senior leaders that touched on regional conflicts as well as women’s inequality and other human rights issues.
She said Berlin is offering diplomatic support aimed at resolving the Yemen conflict and has been in contact with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about its proposal, according to a transcript of her remarks provided by her office.
“Germany has offered to support this UN process with its own diplomatic possibilities,” she was quoted as saying. “That has met with the approval of Saudi Arabia. We will now move ahead with the necessary coordination with the UN secretary-general.”
A Saudi-led coalition backed by significant Emirati support has been bombing and battling Yemeni rebels for more than two years in support of the impoverished country’s internationally recognized government.
Shiite powerhouse Iran supports the insurgents, known as Houthis, and the Sunni-ruled Gulf states view the fight as a way to limit Iran’s involvement in their backyard.
While in Saudi Arabia, Merkel had said she does not believe there can be a military solution to the war, which has killed more than 10,000 civilians and created a humanitarian crisis in what was already the Arab world’s poorest country.
The UN recently said some 18.8 million people in the country need humanitarian help or protection.
The German leader was greeted by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan upon her arrival on Monday in the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi. The crown prince is the half-brother of the country’s ailing president and his presumed successor.
Emirati officials did not allow foreign journalists based in the country to witness Merkel’s visit.
German officials have said Merkel would press Gulf rulers to do more to take in refugees and provide humanitarian relief for those fleeing conflict in Muslim-majority countries. Germany has provided refuge to hundreds of thousands of people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years.
Trade is high on Merkel’s agenda too. Her delegation includes prominent German business leaders looking to strengthen ties with the country’s two largest trading partners in the Middle East.
Her meetings in the Emirates, which includes the Mideast commercial hub of Dubai, would include discussion of a free-trade agreement between the Gulf states in the European Union and “how we can move ahead and intensify our economic relations still further,” she said.


Arab Parliament classifies Houthis as a terrorist group, calls on UN and Arab League to do the same

Updated 14 min 36 sec ago
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Arab Parliament classifies Houthis as a terrorist group, calls on UN and Arab League to do the same

  • The Parliament will vote on the draft resolution before submitting it to the UN and Arab League
  • The spokesperson called the Houthi attacks a war crime

DUBAI: The Arab Parliament on Wednesday designated the Iran-backed Houthi militia as a terrorist group and called on the United Nations to take similar action, Saudi state-news agency SPA reported.

The Parliament will vote on the draft resolution before presenting it to the secretary general of the UN and the Arab League’s secretary general, Meshaal bin Fahm Al-Sulami, spokesperson of the Arab Parliament, said.

The Parliament will not condone any group targeting civilian areas, such as Houthi attacks in neighboring countries like Saudi, he said.

These attacks are a war crime, Al-Sulami said.

He also mentioned that Houthi militias are threatening Yemeni MPs for attending Parliament sessions.

The announcement came during a press conference, as the latest session of the Parliament, headed by Al-Sulamai and in the presence of the speaker of the Yemeni Parliament, Sultan Al-Burkani, kicked off.

The Parliament’s session will focus on the current crises, challenges and developments in Arab countries, and will discuss the efforts of the Parliament to support joint Arab action against the dangers and threats facing the Arab national security.