Arab coalition: Operations in Yemen aimed at pressuring Houthis to accept political solution

This image grab taken from a AFPTV video shows Yemeni pro-government forces firing a heavy machine gun at the south of Hodeida airport, in Yemen's Hodeida province on June 15, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 June 2018
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Arab coalition: Operations in Yemen aimed at pressuring Houthis to accept political solution

  • During a press conference in Brussels, Al-Maliki said that the safety of the people was the coalition’s  top priority
  • Al-Maliki also accused the Houthis of using civilian residences as military fortifications

JEDDAH: The spokesperson for the Saudi-led Arab coalition Col. Turki Al-Maliki said on Friday that operations in Yemen are “aimed at pressuring the Houthi militias to accept the political solution.”

During a press conference in Brussels, Al-Maliki said that the safety of people was the coalition’s  top priority.

“The political diplomatic solution is always the best option for the Yemeni people,” he added, stating that the coalition was continuing its efforts to restore “legitimacy in Yemen.” 

Al-Maliki was in Belgium to hold talks with European officials on the situation in Yemen and aid delivery to the war-torn country.

Yemen’s national army, backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, launched last week an operation to liberate Hodeidah and its strategic port from the Iran-backed Houthi militias.

The liberation of the western province will end the threat against international navigation in the Red Sea, he said.

Al-Maliki also accused the Houthis of using civilian residences as military fortifications. They have also imposed additional taxes on business owners to fund their war effort.

Meanwhile he said that the coalition had been providing all possible ways to deliver medical and food aid to Hodeidah. “Aid is being delivered throughout Yemen without discrimination,” he said.

On the otherhand, Al-Maliki said that the Houthis have arrested several human rights groups workers.

 


Divided Arab economic summit: We must help suffering refugees

Updated 21 January 2019
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Divided Arab economic summit: We must help suffering refugees

  • Lebanese foreign minister Gebran Bassil called for 'effective solutions' for the return of Syrian refugees to their country
  • Summit also called for dialogue over growing tensions between Israel and Palestine

BEIRUT: The fourth Arab Economic and Social Development Summit was held in Beirut on Sunday, in an effort to, among other things, find ways to alleviate the suffering of refugees in the Middle East.

The summit, though attended by representatives from 20 Arab nations, was soured by the absence of most Arab heads of state, and was divided over several issues, including the absence of Syrian delegates, and a boycott by Libya.

The summit did, though, call for dialogue with the international community over growing tensions between Israel and Palestine.

Delegates expressed their support for the Palestinian people, and cited the “collective responsibility” of all parties towards maintaining the city of Jerusalem’s “Islamic and Christian identity.”

In a statement, the summit declared: “We reiterate Palestinian refugees’ rights of return and compensation, according to the UN General Assembly’s resolution 194 of 1948.”

Delegates also discussed at great length the need for international cooperation to support the growing digital economy across the region. They emphasized “the importance of building the necessary capacity” to benefit from the digital economy, and praised the initiative launched by the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, to create a sovereign investment fund to support the development of technology in the Gulf and the Middle East.

They urged all Arab nations to “support this initiative to strengthen the joint Arab economy,” and called on other Arab banks and funds to invest in it.

The summit also praised the role of small and medium businesses across the Arab world for their contribution to flourishing Arab economies, as well as the implementation of the Pan-Arab Renewable Energy Strategy 2030, to ensure power across the region becomes cleaner and more sustainable.

The summit was far from harmonious, though, with the Lebanese foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, addressing the hall to ask the international community “to assume its responsibilities by finding effective solutions for the return of Syrian refugees to their country.”

Bassil called on Arab nations and others to “shoulder the burden, honor their commitments and meet the refugees’ needs.”

There were also disputes over the attendance of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, as well as the boycott by Libyan delegates.

“I am saddened because of the absence of the Libyan delegation, and by the circumstances that led to this point,” Arab League president, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said.

Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, echoed the words of his foreign minister, calling on the international community “to exert all efforts to provide the safe return of Syrian refugees to their country, and to present incentives so they can contribute to their country’s reconstruction.”

He proposed the establishment of an international Arab bank to help affected countries overcome the crisis, and invited established Arab funds to Beirut to discuss his proposals.

“I deplore the absence of other Arab presidents and kings, but each of them has his reason. Our union remains of great importance given that we will not be able to address the challenges facing our region and peoples, unless we agree on key issues,” Aoun said.

The next Arab Economic and Social Development Summit will be held in Mauritania in 2023.