Yemen: The international community must unite to stop export of Iranian weapons to the Houthis

Newly recruited Houthi militants take part in a gathering in the capital Sanaa to mobilize more militants to battlefronts to fight pro-government forces in several Yemeni cities. (AFP)
Updated 05 March 2018
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Yemen: The international community must unite to stop export of Iranian weapons to the Houthis

DUBAI: The Yemeni government reiterated its call for the international community to join forces to stop the continued export of Iranian weapons to Houthi militia, Saudi state-news channel Al-Ekhbariya reported.
The exports are a violation of UN Security Council resolutions and contribute to the continuation of the war and instability in the region, the government said.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalik Al-Makhlafi said during his meeting with the US Ambassador to Yemen Matthew Tueller that the Iranian-backed Houthis have worked in every way to prevent reaching a sustainable peace in the country.
Al-Makhlafi reiterated the position of the legitimate government, which is committed to the peaceful solution based on the three reference points agreed upon locally, regionally and internationally.
He also renewed the support of the legitimate government for the new UN Secretary-General’s envoy, Martin Griffiths, expressed appreciation for the efforts of former envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
He stressed the need to take advantage of the international community’s understanding of the situation in Yemen and build on the terms of the solution agreed upon to reach a sustainable peace that strengthens the government’s efforts to alleviate the suffering of Yemeni citizens at the hands of the militia.
For his part, Ambassador Tueller stressed the US’ support to the Yemeni government in the face of risks and challenges, pointing out the importance of continuous communication and coordination between the two sides and efforts to achieve peace in the country.


Tunisia’s premier unlikely to push reform as polls loom

Chahed has gathered enough support in Parliament to stave off a possible vote of no confidence. (Reuters)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Tunisia’s premier unlikely to push reform as polls loom

  • By surviving for more than two years, Chahed has become the longest-serving of Tunisia’s nine prime ministers since the Arab Spring in 2011
  • Western partners see him as the best guarantee of stability in an infant democracy that they are desperate to shore up

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has survived attempts by his own party and unions to force him out but, with elections looming, looks less and less able to enact the economic reforms that have so far secured IMF support for an ailing economy.

Last week, the Nidaa Tounes party suspended Chahed after a campaign by the party chairman, who is the son of President Beji Caid Essebsi.

Chahed has gathered enough support in Parliament to stave off a possible vote of no confidence by working with the co-ruling Islamist Ennahda party and a number of other lawmakers including 10 Nidaa Tounes rebels. But his political capital is now badly depleted.

By surviving for more than two years, Chahed has become the longest-serving of Tunisia’s nine prime ministers since the Arab Spring in 2011.

In that time, he has pushed through austerity measures and structural reforms such as cutting fuel subsidies that have helped to underpin a $2.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other financial support.

Western partners see him as the best guarantee of stability in an infant democracy that they are desperate to shore up, not least as a bulwark against extremism.

Yet the economy, and living standards, continue to suffer: inflation and unemployment are at record levels, and goods such as medicines or even staples such as milk are often in short supply, or simply unaffordable to many.

And in recent months, the 43-year old former agronomist’s main focus has been to hold on to his job as his party starts to look to its ratings ahead of presidential and parliamentary polls in a year’s time.

The breathing space he has won is at best temporary; while propping him up for now, Ennahda says it will not back him to be prime minister again after the elections.

And, more pressingly, the powerful UGTT labor union on Thursday called a public sector strike for Oct. 24 to protest against Chahed’s privatization plans.

This month, the government once more raised petrol and electricity prices to secure the next tranche of loans, worth $250 million, which the IMF is expected to approve next week.

But the IMF also wants it to cut a public wage bill that takes up 15 percent of GDP, one of the world’s highest rates.