Call for joint Arab action at Lebanese-Kuwaiti summit

Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (R) receiving Lebanese President Michel Aoun at Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait City on Jan. 23, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2018

Call for joint Arab action at Lebanese-Kuwaiti summit

BEIRUT: Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Lebanese President Michel Aoun called for increased Arab unity at the official Lebanese-Kuwaiti talks in Kuwait on Tuesday.

The two leaders announced plans to improve cooperation between the countries and highlighted the need for joint action, and to seize the chance to unite Arab stances and restore solidarity during the upcoming Arab Summit.

Kuwait’s emir and Lebanon’s president also condemned the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a statement released after the summit.

President Aoun expressed his gratitude “for Kuwait’s support for Lebanon in all circumstances.”

He requested that Kuwait participate in all three conferences for supporting Lebanon: The Rome Conference, the Paris Conference and the Brussels Conference, which will be held next month.

According to the Press and Information Office at the Baabda Palace, Emir Al-Sabah told President Aoun during a one-on-one meeting that “he has given his directives to the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to provide Lebanon with economic support and respond to its needs.”

He also said: “We will not hesitate to help Lebanon, whether directly or through international conferences.”

Kuwait’s emir believes his country’s current membership of the UN Security Council “can help highlight the rightness of Arab causes.”

According to his press office, Aoun said that Lebanon’s current stability encouraged investment and contribution to the economic development plan currently being developed.

He also referred to the suffering of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the repercussions of their presence on Lebanon’s economy, social life and security conditions.

President Aoun arrived in Kuwait on Tuesday for an official two-day visit, during which he will meet Kuwaiti officials and members of the Lebanese community living there.

The Lebanese-Kuwaiti summit was held in the conference hall at the Bayan Palace.

It began with general talks followed by two bilateral meetings. The talks were attended by Aoun’s official delegation, which consists of Gebran Bassil, Jamal Jarrah, Ayman Choukair, Inaya Ezzeddine and Kuwaiti officials, including Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah, Adviser Mohammed Abdullah Abu Al-Hasan and Kuwait’s Ambassador to Lebanon Abdul-Al Al-Qena’i.

Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah said in a statement published by KUNA that the visit had been productive.

“The talks between Lebanon and Kuwait reviewed the bilateral relations between the two countries, their people, and ways to improve them in all fields to meet their aspirations and expand the scope of cooperation between Kuwait and Lebanon in a manner that serves their common interests,” he said.

“A friendly and cordial atmosphere prevailed at the talks, reflecting the mutual desire for greater cooperation and coordination at all levels.”

President Aoun later met Bishop Ghattas Hazim, Metropolitan of Baghdad, Kuwait and Dependencies, in his residence at the Bayan Palace.

Saudi Arabia's KSRelief says blast kills 5 foreign demining experts in Yemen

Updated 17 min 38 sec ago

Saudi Arabia's KSRelief says blast kills 5 foreign demining experts in Yemen

SANAA: A Saudi demining group says five of its international experts have been killed by an accidental explosion in Yemen while transporting mines and explosives to be destroyed.
The MASAM Demining Project said Monday that two South Africans, a Croatian, a Bosnian and a Kosovar were killed a day earlier while transporting the material in the central Marib province to a remote location where it could be safely detonated. It says a British national was wounded.
The project, part of the Saudi King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), began last year and seeks to remove unexploded ordnance from Yemen.
MASAM says the experts “lost their lives while attempting to bring safety and security to the Yemeni people, and their service to mankind will not be forgotten.”

This comes as Yemeni security officials say UN envoy Martin Griffiths has arrived in the capital, Sanaa, on an unannounced visit to discuss the “complex situation” in and around the coastal city of Hodeidah, where Yemen’s warring parties agreed to a cease-fire last month and agreed on a prisoner exchange that has yet to take place.
Also under discussion from Monday will be disagreements between the Houthi militia, who hold Hodeidah, and Retired Dutch Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert, who is heading a UN mission charged with monitoring the cease-fire.
The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of Sanaa by the Iranian-backed terrorist group. An Arab coalition allied with the internationally recognized government has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.
The officials spoke anonymously as they weren’t authorized to brief journalists.
Meanwhile, the coordination cell at the Advanced Operations Center in Hodeidah identified 688 violations committed by the Houthi militia since the cease-fire took effect on Dec. 18.
A cell report published by the Yemeni News Agency said that these violations committed by the Houthis led to the killing of 48 citizens and 362 others wounded, some with serious injuries.
A military source in the committee pointed out that the Houthi violations continue with various types of weapons, which target civilian houses, public places and army positions.
The source stressed that the militia continues to strengthen its defensive positions by planting mines and digging trenches and land passages at the entrances to the city and the main sites.
The source pointed out that the Iran-backed militia aims to provoke the forces of the Yemeni National Army and the Arab coalition through these increasing violations, in a clear intent to thwart the Stockholm cease-fire agreement.
The source called on the office of the UN envoy to take the necessary and serious measures to pressure the Houthi militia to immediately stop these violations and abide by the UN-led agreement on Hodeidah.