Yemen government demands Houthis release slain Saleh’s body

Martin Griffiths said congratulated the two sides for agreeing to take part in the talks. (AP)
Updated 06 September 2018
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Yemen government demands Houthis release slain Saleh’s body

  • President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi will demand the militias release Saleh’s body via a government delegation at the UN-sponsored talks in Geneva
  • Saleh, for decades the most powerful politician in troubled Yemen, was killed by Iran-backed Houthis in December

JEDDAH: Yemen’s government will demand the release of the body of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, killed by Houthi militias last year, at upcoming peace talks in Geneva, Yemen’s Information Minister Moammer Al-Eryan said on Wednesday.

Saleh, for decades the most powerful politician in troubled Yemen, was killed by Iran-backed Houthis in December.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi will demand the militias release Saleh’s body via a government delegation at the UN-sponsored talks in Geneva, which open Thursday, said Al-Eryan. “This is an important message that all within (Saleh’s) General People’s Congress should take into consideration to turn the page of the past and move forward toward the future to restore the state,” he tweeted.

Eryan said the government will also demand the release of Saleh’s sons, believed to be detained by the Houthis.

According to one of his relatives, Saleh was buried in his village outside of Sanaa in a funeral attended by 20 people under the strict watch of the Houthis.

Meanwhile, the UN envoy for Yemen said Wednesday that “consultations” in Geneva between the warring parties offered a “flickering signal of hope” after years of conflict. 

“The people of Yemen ... are desperately in need of a signal of hope. We would like to think that the work we will do together in these next days will begin to send a flickering signal of hope to them,” UN envoy Martin Griffiths said.

That meeting is expected to take place in a Geneva hotel, as are any other meetings that might happen on Thursday. 

“So we are not going to waste time, and we are looking forward to getting our friends from Sanaa here and participating fully in the consultations.”

Griffiths emphasized that the Geneva talks were “not formal negotiations,” but said they aimed to pave the way towards bringing the parties back to the negotiating table.

The talks also seek to put in place a range of so-called confidence-building measures, which could prisoner swaps and the vaccination of children, he said.

“There is a chance for some tangible progress,” he said, adding that he hoped to get the two sides to sit at the same table during the consultations, which are expected to last a couple of days.


Camel dung fuels cement production in northern UAE

Updated 17 min 57 sec ago
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Camel dung fuels cement production in northern UAE

  • Farmers in the emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah drop off camel excrement at collection stations

RAS AL-KHAIMAH: Thousands of tons of camel dung are being used to fuel cement production in the northern United Arab Emirates, cutting emissions and keeping animal waste out of landfill.
Under a government-run scheme, farmers in the emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah drop off camel excrement at collection stations. It is then blended with coal to power the boiler at a large cement factory.
“People started to laugh, believe me,” said the general manager of Gulf Cement Company, Mohamed Ahmed Ali Ebrahim, describing the moment the waste management agency proposed the idea.
But after running tests, the company found two tons of camel waste could replace one ton of coal.
“We heard from our grandfathers that they used cow dung for heating. But nobody had thought about the camel waste itself,” said Ebrahim, whose factory now uses 50 tons of camel dung a day.
Cow dung has been tapped as a resource to generate energy from the United States, to Zimbabwe to China. Camel dung is a rarer fuel but one well suited to Ras Al-Khaimah, one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, home to around 9,000 camels used in milk production, racing and beauty contests.
Each camel produces some 8kg of faeces daily — far more than farmers use as fertilizer.
A blend of one part dung to nine parts coal burns steadily — essential for cement ovens that work continuously at up to 1,400 degrees Celsius.
The main aim of the project is to prevent camel waste from ending up in the dump, with the government seeking to divert 75% of all waste from landfill by 2021.
“We don’t make use of it. The most important thing is for the area to be clean, for the camels to be clean,” said farm owner Ahmed Al-Khatri, stroking camel calves in the afternoon sun as a farm worker sifted dung for collection.
Authorities want more cement plants to adopt the practice and start using chicken and industrial waste, as well as sludge from water treatment, said Sonia Ytaurte Nasser, executive director of the waste management agency.
“Waste is just a resource in the wrong place,” she said.