Rein in Hezbollah, Yemen tells Lebanon

Updated 13 July 2018
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Rein in Hezbollah, Yemen tells Lebanon

BEIRUT: Yemen’s Foreign Minister has called on Lebanon’s caretaker government to “rein in” Hezbollah and its aggressive tactics in support of the rebel Houthi militia.
“The Republic of Yemen reserves the right to present the matter to the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Security Council,” Khalid Hussein Al-Yamani said in a letter to the Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil. The contents of the letter were aired by Sky News.
Al-Yamani said that Hezbollah’s support for the Houthis was evident in a recent televised address by its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, who called on Houthis to fight Yemeni government forces, and expressed “his party’s ambition to fight in Yemen against the internationally recognized legitimate authority.”
The foreign minister described the address as “blatant interference in the internal affairs of my country, which would seriously damage Yemen’s national security and fuel the flames of war.”
“The Yemeni government condemns Hezbollah’s statements and practices, including participation in training, planning and incitement and supporting the coup movements,” he said.
The Arab Coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, said on Monday that it had evidence of Hezbollah’s involvement in training Houthi militias.
The Lebanese Foreign Ministry did not comment on the Yemeni demand.
However, Mustafa Alloush, of the Future Movement, told Arab News: “The meaning of this message is that Hezbollah’s damage to Lebanon continues.
“The Lebanese government will not respond to this message, not because it supports Hezbollah but because it is unable to restrain the party,” he said.
The situation in Yemen was the focus of a recent meeting between the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Lebanon, Hamad Said Al-Shamsi, and the United Nations Coordinator in Lebanon, Bernell Dahler Cardel.
Al-Yamani said that talks focused on “the integrated humanitarian plan that is being implemented to ensure easy access and provision of aid, as well as the protection of unarmed civilians through close coordination between the legitimate forces and international humanitarian organizations.”
He highlighted support for the efforts of UN special envoy Martin Griffiths confirming that Houthi militias should withdraw from territories they occupied illegally as a prerequisite for accelerating peace negotiations.


Lebanon to form body to probe civil war disappearances

Updated 12 November 2018
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Lebanon to form body to probe civil war disappearances

  • The long-awaited law would empower an independent national commission to gather information about the missing
  • Families and rights groups have been campaigning for the law since 2012, when it first went to parliament

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s parliament on Monday approved the formation of an independent commission to help determine the fate of thousands of people who went missing during the country’s civil war, which ended nearly three decades ago.
The long-awaited law would empower an independent national commission to gather information about the missing, collect DNA samples and exhume mass graves from the 1975-1990 conflict.
Families and rights groups have been campaigning for the law since 2012, when it first went to parliament.
“This is the first step toward giving closure to families of the missing hopefully,” said Rona Halabi, spokeswoman for the International Committee for the Red Cross. “This represents a milestone for the families who have waited for years to have answers.”
The Hague-based International Commission on Missing Persons says more than 17,000 people are estimated to have gone missing during the Lebanese civil war.
Lebanon’s National News Agency said lawmakers approved the law after voting on each of its 38 articles.
LBC TV said lawmakers initially protested, saying calls for accountability may affect current officials. The broadcaster said they were reassured the 1991 amnesty for abuses committed by militias during the war remains in place.
Many of Lebanon’s political parties are led by former warlords implicated in some of the civil war’s worst fighting.
“For the first time after the war, Lebanon enters a genuine reconciliation phase, to heal the wounds and give families the right to know,” Gebran Bassil, the country’s foreign minister tweeted.
The ICRC began compiling DNA samples from relatives of the disappeared in 2016 and has interviewed more than 2,000 families to help a future national commission.
DNA samples have been stored with the Lebanese Internal Security Forces and the ICRC. The law would allow Lebanese security forces to take part in the sample collection.