Independent body rejects criticism of coalition airstrikes in Yemen

Mansour Ahmed Al-Mansour, spokesman for the Joint Incidents Assessment Team, speaks at a press conference at King Salman Airbase in Riyadh on Sunday. (AN photo)
Updated 20 November 2017
0

Independent body rejects criticism of coalition airstrikes in Yemen

RIYADH: An independent assessment panel on Yemen found airstrikes launched by the Saudi-led coalition fully justified.
The coalition complied with military rules of engagement and international humanitarian laws, the panel said.
The coalition on Sunday renewed its call to international agencies to sit “face to face” to discuss untrue reports of civilian casualties and violations in Yemen.
“The Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) has invited international human rights bodies to discuss all cases, and provide details for assessment before accusing the coalition of reckless attacks,” said JIAT spokesman and legal adviser Mansour Ahmed Al-Mansour.
“We’ve asked them to give full information, including photos and coordinates of targets proving violations… but have received inadequate information,” he added.
“JIAT, representing the member states of the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, found airstrikes justified and in accordance with international humanitarian laws in five different cases, citing the presence of armed militants at or near those targets.”
On allegations regarding an airstrike on Al-Sabeen Maternity Hospital in Sanaa on Aug. 4, 2016, Al-Mansour said: “JIAT assessed the incident and found military activities by former (Republican Guards) supporting the armed Houthi militia based inside the former special security forces camp in Sanaa.”
He added: “Coalition forces targeted specific buildings inside the camp, which were legitimate military targets, using guided bombs that accurately hit the targets.”
The bombs’ vibration and shockwaves caused “minor collateral damage” to the hospital nearby, Al-Mansour said. JIAT concluded in its probe that the coalition did not target the hospital, he added.
On accusations regarding the bombing of a residential building in Ibb governorate on Sept. 24 last year, Al-Mansour said the coalition targeted a building used by Houthi militants as their military headquarters.
“This was a legitimate target, located at a distance of 1,070 meters from the claimed residential building,” he added.
Regarding the bombing of Al-Senidar Factory complex in Bani Al-Harith in Sanaa on Sept. 13 last year, he said JIAT assessed the incident and found that “six ballistic missiles were launched toward Saudi Arabia from northern Sanaa from Sept. 4-23 last year.”
He added: “Coalition forces carried out aerial surveillance and reconnaissance missions on these areas, and spotted a convoy of three trucks accompanied by an armed military vehicle.”
He said coalition forces tracked the convoy until it entered Al-Senidar Factory complex, located north of Sanaa.
“The forces then targeted the warehouses inside the complex… a legitimate military target,” Al-Mansour added.
Regarding a Human Rights Watch report in December 2016 about a coalition attack on Al-Zaydiyah security building in Hodeida governorate, he said JIAT found the attack justified because Houthi militants and foreign accomplices were using the building for military purposes.
“Thus the building lost its legal protection prescribed as per international conventions,” said Al-Mansour, adding that this led the coalition to target the building using precision-guided bombs.
He also justified the bombing of Salaa Palace Museum in Taiz, saying it was used “as a weapons storage facility and military barracks by the Houthis.”


Saudi Arabia, UAE lead Arab world in global competitiveness

Majid Al-Qassabi, who chairs the executive committee of Tayseer, said the move to unify efforts of government agencies. (SPA)
Updated 2 min 43 sec ago
0

Saudi Arabia, UAE lead Arab world in global competitiveness

  • The UAE ranked 27th out of 140 countries, maintaining its position of last year, thanks to being first globally in macroeconomic stability conditions

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE topped the Arab world in the global competitiveness index announced by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which uses a new methodology to fully capture the economic dynamics of 140 countries globally.
The Kingdom, according to the report, has advanced to 39th position on the WEF Global Competitiveness Report for 2018, up two places from its ranking last year.
“The ranking, the Kingdom’s best since 2012, came despite the changes in the assessment methods this year,” said a statement, citing Majid Al-Qassabi, minister of commerce and investment, here on Sunday.
Al-Qassabi said: “The integrated work of more than 40 government agencies is one of the most important factors that led to an improvement of the Kingdom’s ranking in the 2018 report.”
Al-Qassabi, who also chairs the executive committee of Tayseer, said the move to unify efforts of government agencies “contributed in addressing the constraints and challenges, and supporting the private sector in the Kingdom.” Tayseer is an initiative that aims to secure and stimulate the investment environment for the private sector and provide the necessary guarantees for the preservation of rights.
The WEF report said Saudi Arabia achieved a full score of 100 percent in the macroeconomic stability index among other countries in the region. In terms of market size, the Kingdom ranked 17th with 76.3 points, thanks to its high gross domestic product. This year, the WEF increased the number of countries under coverage to 140, which affected the ranking of many countries including the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia also ranked third among Arab countries and 39th globally, supported by its conducive macroeconomic environment, a modern infrastructure, and a large market size. The UAE ranked 27th out of 140 countries, maintaining its position of last year, thanks to being first globally in macroeconomic stability conditions.
The report said that Oman ranked 47th globally, up 14 places from last year, and became fourth in competitiveness in the Arab world. The ranks of the other Arab countries globally are as follows: Bahrain (50), Kuwait (54), Jordan (73), Morocco (75), Lebanon (80), Tunisia (87), Egypt (94), and Yemen at the 139th spot.
The key finding of the report is that the changing nature of economic competitiveness in the world is becoming increasingly transformed by new, digital technologies and creating a new set of challenges for governments and businesses, which collectively run the risk of having a negative effect on future growth and productivity.
According to the report, the 10 most competitive economies are the US, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, the UK, Sweden and Denmark.
The report further explains that the competitiveness performance in the Middle East and North Africa remains diverse, with the UAE leading the way in the region. This year’s edition of the Global Competitiveness Report marks an important milestone, as the report series has now been published for 40 years.
The 2018 report ranked 140 economies according to 12 pillars that were weighted equally. These pillars included institutions, infrastructure, ICT adoption, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labor market, financial system, market size, business dynamism and innovation capability.