Saudi-led coalition continues efforts to contact political, social and tribal components in Yemen — Al-Maliki

Saudi-led Coalition Spokesperson, Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press conference at the Armed Forces Club in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Screengrab)
Updated 24 July 2018
0

Saudi-led coalition continues efforts to contact political, social and tribal components in Yemen — Al-Maliki

  • Humanitarian operations are still operating at full capacity in Yemen
  • KSRelief to provide tables and chairs for Yemeni schools

RIYADH: Saudi-led Coalition Spokesperson, Col. Turki Al-Maliki, said on Monday that coalition forces have been making concerted efforts to contact political, social and tribal components in Yemen.
Speaking at the Armed Forces Club in Riyadh, Al-Maliki said that the Yemeni people reject the actions of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, highlighting the statement of the Yemeni Religious Scholars’ Association, which condemned the Houthis for looting humanitarian aid and called on the international community and organizations to work to prevent these acts.
Al-Maliki also said that an educational campaign had been launched by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) to provide 5,000 chairs and 5,000 tables for Yemeni schools.
He confirmed that humanitarian operations are still operating at full capacity, adding that the total permits issued by the coalition forces has reached 27,937 since the beginning of the military operations.
He also said that Hodeidah Port represents the financial artery of the Houthi militia, who loot the humanitarian aid and sell it on the black market.
Col. Al-Maliki praised the Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations Plan in Yemen implemented by the KSRelief Center, noting that as many as 5,168,509 people had benefited from the humanitarian operations over the last 181 days.
Meanwhile, he said that the Saada and Omran governorates are still serving as ballistic missile launch platforms toward Saudi Arabia, citing that two missiles were launched between Jul. 16-23 from Saada toward Jazan and Najran.
On the ground, the Yemeni national army, supported by the Saudi-led coalition, has taken back control of a number of directorates affiliated to Saada province, including sites of militarily strategic important for an advancing army.
“The Coalition has targeted a building used by the Houthi militia as a point to assemble their fighters, a number of military communication stations, a supply truck in Midi, a check point, a weapons supply depot, and a military truck used to transport weapons to the terrorist militia.
He said as many as 163 ballistic missiles and 66,362 projectiles have been launched so far, with losses of the Iran-backed Houthi militias reaching 272 sites, weapons and equipment, in addition to 681 Houthi terrorists killed in action.


Boat sinking ‘signals new offensive’ by China, says Filipino judge

Updated 2 min 8 sec ago
0

Boat sinking ‘signals new offensive’ by China, says Filipino judge

  • Carpio warned that the incident “may signal the start of a new ‘gray zone’ offensive by China to drive away Filipino fishing vessels in the West Philippines Sea
MANILA: A leading Philippines judge has described the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel as a “quantum escalation” of Beijing’s aggression in the South China Sea.
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio late on Friday said it was highly likely a Chinese maritime militia vessel had rammed the Filipino fishing boat F/B Gimver 1 on June 9 in Recto Bank.
Carpio warned that the incident “may signal the start of a new ‘gray zone’ offensive by China to drive away Filipino fishing vessels in the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea) in the same way that the Chinese are driving away Vietnamese fishing vessels in the Paracel Islands.”
“The Filipino people must send a strong signal to China that any new ‘grey zone’ offensive of ramming Filipino fishing vessels in the West Philippines Sea will mean a break of diplomatic ties with China,” he said.
The Philippines must take a strong stand against China’s latest aggressive act and demand compensation for the owner of the fishing vessel as well as punishment for the captain and crew of the Chinese vessel, he said.

Carpio said that Chinese maritime militia vessels were built with reinforced steel hulls
purposely for ramming fishing boats of other coastal states.
“No other coastal state has fishing vessels designed for ramming other fishing vessels. Captains of ordinary Chinese fishing vessels do not engage in ramming for fear of damaging their own vessels,” he said.
The captain and crew of the Filipino boat have claimed that a Chinese fishing vessel rammed their boat. Reports also quoted the rescued crew as saying that their boat had its lights on when it was struck.
“It was around midnight. We were anchored and were showing a lot of white (bright) lights to signal our position when a ship suddenly appeared out of nowhere and hit us. I was trying to start our engine when we were hit in the stern,” Junel Insigne, the boat’s captain, said.
“After the ramming, they returned and turned their lights on us to make sure that our boat was submerged before they left.”
Carpio said that the ramming of the Filipino boat was a violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“China’s maritime militia vessels have been ramming Vietnamese vessels in the Paracels for several years now. However, this is the first time a Chinese maritime militia vessel has rammed a Filipino fishing boat,” he said.
The Chinese embassy in Manila on Friday admitted that a Chinese fishing vessel had been involved in the incident. In a statement posted on its official Twitter account, the embassy identified the vessel as Yuemaobinyu 42212 from Guangdong Province.
However, it claimed the boat was “berthed” in the area when it was “besieged” by seven or eight Filipino fishing boats.
The Chinese captain “tried to rescue the Filipino fishermen, but was afraid of being besieged by other Filipino fishing boats,” it said.
The embassy added that the Chinese vessel sailed away from the scene only after confirming that “the fishermen from the Filipino boat were rescued and on board other Filipino fishing boats.”
“There was no such thing as a hit-and-run,” it said.