US hails coalition statement on bus incident in Yemen as ‘important first step’ towards full transparency

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State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington. (AFP)
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The coalition has expressed regret on the August air strike on a bus in Saada and said it will review rules of engagement and those responsible would be punished. (AFP)
Updated 04 September 2018
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US hails coalition statement on bus incident in Yemen as ‘important first step’ towards full transparency

  • ‘The United States regards the Saudi-led Coalition’s ‎announcement … as an important first step toward full transparency and accountability’
  • The coalition’s Joint Forces Command has expressed regret over the mistake

The US has hailed the announcement from the Arab Coalition to Restore the Legitimacy in Yemen that it will review rules of engagement, hold those at fault accountable and compensate victims of last month’s airstrike that targeted a bus. The announcement came following intelligence reports indicating the vehicle was carrying Houthi leaders, but killed civilians instead. “The United States regards the Saudi-led Coalition’s announcement … as an important first step toward full transparency and accountability,” Heather Nauert, spokesperson of the US State Department, said in a statement.
“We continue to call on all sides to abide by the Law of Armed Conflict, to mitigate harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure, and thoroughly investigate and ensure accountability for any violations. It is imperative that all parties work toward a comprehensive political solution to avoid further harm to the Yemeni people.”
Mansour Ahmed Al-Mansour, the legal adviser to the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT), earlier said that while the Saada strike was based on intelligence, the delays in executing the strike and receiving a no-strike order must be investigated.
“The team believes that the coalition forces should immediately review the application of their rules of engagement to ensure compliance...” Al-Mansour said.
The coalition’s Joint Forces Command has expressed regret over the mistake and accepted the JIAT’s results and findings, reaffirmed its commitment to international humanitarian laws and pledged to continue “applying the rules of engagement in accordance with the highest international standards and practices, which will guarantee respect of the law and the preservation of civilian lives and possessions.”
Meanwhile, the State Department reiterated its full support for Martin Griffiths, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, who is preparing to convene warring factions in Geneva for a first round of consultations to end conflict in the war-torn country.
“We fully support UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths as he prepares to convene parties in Geneva. All sides must engage constructively and in good faith in order to work toward a secure, stable, and peaceful Yemen,” Nauert said a statement.


Top Netanyahu challengers unite for Israeli elections

Updated 21 min 26 sec ago
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Top Netanyahu challengers unite for Israeli elections

  • Polls suggest together the two could surpass Netanyahu’s ruling Likud to become Israel’s largest faction
  • Elections will happen on April 9

JERUSALEM: Israel’s primary centrist challengers to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have announced they are joining forces.
Ex-military chief Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, said early on Thursday they’ll present a joint list for the upcoming Israeli elections that “will constitute the new Israeli ruling party.” In a joint statement, the two said they were “motivated by national responsibility.”
A formal announcement is expected later.
Polls suggest together the two could surpass Netanyahu’s ruling Likud to become Israel’s largest faction after the April 9 vote.
Under their unity arrangement, the two agreed to a rotation leadership under which Gantz would first serve as prime minister and would be replaced by Lapid later. In contrast to Netanyahu, they say they will “heal the divide within Israeli society.”