Yemen government sets conditions for Houthi talks

In this file photo, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek Al-Mekhlafi speaks to the media after peace talks on Yemen.(Reuters)
Updated 05 January 2018
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Yemen government sets conditions for Houthi talks

SANAA: Deputy prime minister and foreign minister Abdulmalik Al-Mekhlafi said the Iran-backed rebels must immediately stop all crimes committed against politicians and civilians in Yemen.
The rebels, who sparked the war in Yemen when they seized the capital in 2014, must also release all detainees and stop launching missiles, Al-Mekhlafi told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The other conditions for talks include a call for the rebels to stop attacking and besieging cities and allowing humanitarian aid to reach civilians.
Al-Mekhlafi said the rebels must also back the three references for a political solution in Yemen, including the Gulf Initiative, outcomes of the Comprehensive National Dialogue and Security Council Resolution 2216.
“The current situation stipulates the need for rebels to show good intention, as there will be no return for talks in the way they went before,” he said.
The minister stressed that Houthis have “proved they are no partners in peace, and are not ready to currently engage in peace”.
UN-sponsored talks in Kuwait in 2016 broke down with the two sides deadlocked and the Houthis and their then ally, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh were condemned for attempting to form a a political council to run the country.
Last year the Houthi’s alliance with Saleh crumbled, and the rebels killed the former president in December.
Al-Mekhlafi said the rebels’ unwillingness to find a political solution was also down to their backing by Iran.
“Iran considers the Houthis and their battle in Yemen as part of its war to control the Arab region, and therefore behave accordingly,” he said.


Hezbollah leader boasts group has ‘highly accurate’ missiles

Updated 32 min 4 sec ago
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Hezbollah leader boasts group has ‘highly accurate’ missiles

BEIRUT: The leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah is boasting the group possesses “highly accurate” missiles despite Israeli attempts to prevent it from acquiring such weapons.
Hassan Nasrallah spoke in a televised speech on Thursday to supporters commemorating Ashoura, one of the most important religious holy days for Shiite Muslims.
Nasrallah says Israel knows the regional balance of power has changed, and that recent Israeli strikes in Syria to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring those weapons failed because this “has already been achieved.”
He says Hezbollah now has “highly accurate ... missiles” and that, should Israel impose a war on Lebanon, “it will face a fate and a reality it never expected.”
Israel worries Hezbollah has been improving its capabilities and increased its strikes in Syria to prevent weapons shipments to the group.