Yemeni minister praises Saudi relief partnership

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Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), holds talks with Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights, Mohammed Askar, in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), holds talks with Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights, Mohammed Askar, in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), holds talks with Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights, Mohammed Askar, in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 30 August 2018
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Yemeni minister praises Saudi relief partnership

JEDDAH: Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), held talks with Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights, Mohammed Askar, on Thursday on relief and humanitarian work provided by KSRelief in Yemen, with 274 projects now in place across the country.
During the meeting In Riyadh, the humanitarian and human rights situation in Yemen were also discussed, including violations committed by the Houthi militias against civilians, such as the bombing of water wells and residential neighborhoods, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians.
The recruitment of children for use as human shields was also condemned.
Al-Rabeeah said KSRelief is keen to cooperate with Yemen’s Ministry of Human Rights to ease the suffering of the Yemeni people and implement programs to support the most affected groups in the country.
“Our work is focused on programs to protect women and children, and rehabilitate children recruited by the Houthi militias.”
Al-Rabeeah said the humanitarian role of KSRelief proves that the Arab coalition is not only a military but also a humanitarian partnership that has been providing food, medicine and clothing to all Yemeni regions for more than three years.
Askar praised the relationship between KSRelief and the ministry, and said their joint programs will have a positive impact on the lives of Yemeni people.
In an earlier interview with Arab News, Askar said: “Iran has succeeded in turning the Houthis into a military tool that threatens international peace and security, especially in the navigational corridors of Yemen such as Bab Al-Mandab and adjoining waters.
“Iran has poured funds and arms in a fervent bid to expand their hegemony in the region. The Iranian intransigence has kept the war raging, which has shattered the lives of Yemenis,” he said.
On Thursday, Al-Rabeeah also met with Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki to discuss humanitarian affairs.
Al-Malki expressed his admiration for the center’s achievements and humanitarian and relief services, particularly its educational, health and housing projects being implemented in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtun and Balochistan in Pakistan.
KSRelief recently distributed 25 tons of food baskets in the villages of Al-Ja’ada, Al-Fayed, Deir and Bani Fadil of Midi and Hiran directorates in Hajjah governorate, helping 1,980 people.
BACKGROUND
Since its establishment, KSRelief has launched projects worth $70 million in Yemen. The projects aim to help the country amid devastation caused by the Houthi militia.
Earlier, Mohammed Al-Jabir, Saudi ambassador to Yemen, said that the Kingdom’s assistance to Yemen totaled about $10.96 billion.
A report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs last month showed Saudi Arabia topped donor states to the 2018 UN Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan by donating $530.4 million out of a total of $1.54 billion.
About 2 million Yemenis working in the Kingdom send more than $10 million in remittances to their families in Yemen.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Major General Ahmed Al-Shahri, met on Thursday with his Yemeni counterpart, General Taher Al-Aqeeli, in Marib to discuss military developments and the advances of the Yemeni National Army, with the support of the Arab coalition, against the Houthis.
Major General Al-Aqeeli assured that the Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, would continue to support the Yemeni people and its armed forces in battling the militia.
During the meeting, they discussed the mechanisms of cooperation and means of enhancing them.
The two commanders then visited the fighting fronts of the seventh military zone in Nham, east of Sanaa.
Maj. Gen. Al-Shahri conveyed the blessings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Commander of the Joint Forces, on the great victories achieved by the Yemeni National Army in Saada, Hajja, Al-Bayda and on various fronts.


Major powers set to clash as chemical arms watchdog meets

Updated 5 min 18 sec ago
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Major powers set to clash as chemical arms watchdog meets

  • The organization faces difficult talks over a new investigative team that will start work next year to apportion blame for attacks in Syria
  • It is due soon to release a full report on a chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma in April

THE HAGUE: Global powers are set to clash next week as the world’s chemical arms watchdog meets for the first time since it was rocked by allegations of Russian spying.
The Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons in The Hague faces difficult talks over a new investigative team that will start work next year to apportion blame for attacks in Syria.
Moscow has warned the OPCW risks becoming a “sinking Titanic” over new powers which would also allow it to probe incidents like the Salisbury nerve agent attack on a Russian double agent.
But the darkest shadow over the meeting will be the expulsion of four Russians accused by Dutch authorities in October of trying to hack into the watchdog’s computer system.
New OPCW director-general Fernando Arias admitted in an interview with AFP on Monday that the watchdog was “going through a difficult moment” given recent events.
Key member states including Russia, the United States, Britain and France will all be able to have their say during the meeting, as will all 193 countries involved in the body.
Former Spanish diplomat Arias, who took over as chief earlier this year and will give the opening address at the meeting on Monday, insisted however that the toxic arms body was “more needed than ever.”
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, the OPCW is responsible for upholding the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention to end the use of all toxic arms.
So far it says it has overseen the destruction of 96.5 percent of the world’s chemical arms stocks.
“The main goal is to consolidate the organization and think that more than 21 years of success has to be preserved,” Arias said.
But in recent years it has seen its role expand to cover the investigation of a wave of chemicals attacks in the Syrian civil war, as well as the March 2018 Salisbury attack and the 2017 killing in Malaysia of a half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Top of the agenda this week will be discussions on how to implement the new powers that member states agreed on at a special meeting in June to let the OPCW attribute blame for attacks.
Arias said the that the OPCW was setting up a “very small but very strong team that will be in charge of identifying the perpetrators in Syria,” involving around nine or ten members.
The head of the team had already been picked and it would start work early next year, with a mandate to go back and try to point the finger for all chemical attacks in Syria since 2013.
The OPCW is due soon to release a full report on a chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma in April. An interim report said chlorine was detected but not nerve agents.
But the watchdog will also be able to attribute blame for future attacks anywhere in the world, so long as it is asked to by the country on whose territory where the incident happened.
The Salisbury attack that sickened double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter — while left-over nerve agent left a British woman dead — has added to the pressure for such powers.
“Salisbury means for us we have to adapt to the new risks and challenges,” Arias said.
Russia and Iran, which are closely allied to Syria, have strongly opposed the new powers, saying they risk making the OPCW too political.