UN envoy holds ‘fruitful’ talks with Yemen Houthi chief

Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for Yemen, speaks during a press conference in the Yemeni capital Sanaa's international airport prior to his departure on July 4, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 04 July 2018
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UN envoy holds ‘fruitful’ talks with Yemen Houthi chief

  • Griffiths said he would brief the UN Security Council on Thursday on his latest talks in Yemen
  • In the coming days, the UN envoy is to meet President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi

The UN envoy for Yemen said Wednesday he had held “fruitful” talks with Houthi leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi in his bid to avert all-out fighting for the strategic port city of Hodeida.
“I’m greatly reassured by the messages I have received, which have been positive and constructive,” Martin Griffiths told reporters at Sanaa airport after two days of talks in the rebel-held capital.
“I’m especially thankful to Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, whom I met yesterday, for his support and the fruitful discussion we held.”
Griffiths said he would brief the UN Security Council on Thursday on his latest talks in Yemen.
In the coming days, the UN envoy is to meet President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
“All parties have not only underscored their strong desire for peace but have also engaged with me on concrete ideas for achieving peace,” Griffiths said.
Hodeida is the latest battleground in the Yemeni conflict, which has killed nearly thousands of people since 2015 and pushed the country to the brink of famine.
The Red Sea port provides a lifeline for the 22 million Yemenis dependent on humanitarian aid and is also the point of entry for three-quarters of the country’s commercial imports.
The government and its allies in a regional coalition accuse the Iran-backed militia of receiving smuggled weapons through Hodeida and have demanded their unconditional withdrawal from the city, which they have held since 2014.


Turkey marks second coup anniversary

Updated 2 min 26 sec ago
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Turkey marks second coup anniversary

ANKARA: Turkey on Sunday commemorated the second anniversary of a bloody coup attempt which was followed by a series of purges in the public sector and changes to boost President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.
Two hundred and forty eight people were killed and over 2,000 were wounded after a rogue military faction tried to overthrow Erdogan on July 15, 2016.
The attempted coup was blamed by Ankara on US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, a former ally turned foe of Erdogan. Gulen denies the claims.
In a series of events, Erdogan took part in a religious ceremony in an Ankara mosque before he hosted a lunch with martyrs’ families and those wounded at the presidential palace.
July 15 is now a national holiday and Erdogan promised during the lunch that “we will not let it be forgotten and we will not forget it.”
Erdogan will at 1800 GMT address citizens on the bridge across the Bosphorus in Istanbul — now renamed the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge — which was the scene of bloody fighting between Erdogan’s supporters and renegade soldiers.
Ankara municipality organized a rally in the renamed July 15 Kizilay National Will Square, the same place where thousands gathered nightly for a month after the coup attempt.
Dozens of life sentences have been handed down against the putschists while hundreds more court cases continue across Turkey against alleged coup-plotters.
The government said earlier this year that over 77,000 people have been arrested over suspected links to Gulen.
Tens of thousands have also been dismissed or suspended from the public sector over alleged Gulen ties, including judges and soldiers, in a crackdown criticized by Turkey’s Western allies and human rights activists.
Turkey has been under a state of emergency since July 20, 2016 but Erdogan’s spokesman this week said it would be lifted on Wednesday.
Erdogan vowed that the fight against the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization” (FETO), Ankara’s name for the Gulen movement which it calls a “virus,” would continue.
“We will find and remove them from all the cells they have entered,” he said.
The anniversary comes after Erdogan won outright in June 24 presidential elections. After the polls, constitutional reforms to create an executive presidency came into force giving Erdogan sweeping powers.
Erdogan issued seven decrees early Sunday to reshape several public institutions. The Armed Forces General Staff is now under the authority of the defense minister while the Supreme Military Council (YAS) — which decides on senior military appointments and strategic priorities — has been restructured.