Yemeni PM: Some of Griffiths’ ideas are good whilst others not so much

Yemen’s Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher. (AFP)
Updated 07 September 2018
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Yemeni PM: Some of Griffiths’ ideas are good whilst others not so much

  • The United Nations announced on Thursday that Griffiths was not expected to hold any talks at its Geneva offices on Friday.
  • Griffiths, who began consultations with the Yemen government delegation in Geneva on Thursday, still awaits representatives of the Iranian-allied Houthi movement from the capital Sanaa.

LONDON: Yemen’s Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher said that the Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths had presented some good ideas to resolve the crisis in the country but that he had “made mistakes with others.”
Talking to Asharq Al-Awsat, bin Dagher said that he appreciates Griffiths’ efforts to find a solution to the crisis, and that the peace process in Yemen is complicated.
Yemen’s Prime Minister continued by saying that the peace process depended on the implementation of the Gulf Initiative, the outcome of national dialogue and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2216.
Commenting on the recent ideas submitted by Griffiths regarding a solution to the Yemeni crisis, the prime minister said that some of them “hit the mark” whilst others did not.
Bin Dagher noted that Griffiths wanted a partial solution in Hodeidah and that he informed the UN envoy that partial solutions would not succeed if they were not linked to “permanent, comprehensive, and just solutions” to the crisis.
He continued by saying that Griffiths wanted a cease-fire but that the Yemeni government told him that they would not accept that unless the Houthis accepted military and security measures before political solutions.
Asked whether the Yemeni government would accept any initiatives for an eighth truce along with confidence-building measures, Bin Dagher stated: “We have given the Houthis many opportunities, many truces. They always ask for a truce and when they got one, they would use it to strengthen their positions on the fronts and to obtain weapons and ammunition.”
Griffiths, who began consultations with the Yemen government delegation in Geneva on Thursday, still awaits representatives of the Iranian-allied Houthi movement from the capital Sanaa, UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci said Friday.
“He is still working on getting the Ansarullah delegation to Geneva,” she said.
“Since yesterday (Thursday) he has been discussing with them confidence-building measures, including the issue of prisoners, humanitarian access, the re-opening of Sanaa airport, in addition to economic issues,” she said.
The United Nations announced on Thursday that Griffiths was not expected to hold any talks at its Geneva offices on Friday.


Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

Ali Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper. (Supplied)
Updated 15 November 2018
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Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

  • About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial

ISTANBUL: A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
The ruling followed a sustained crackdown in the wake of the coup attempt, but also came amid steps by the government that appear aimed at improving ties with the US and Europe, strained by the sweeping campaign of arrests.
Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper, widely seen as the flagship media outlet for the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara says orchestrated the attempted putsch. Gulen denies any involvement.
Speaking by video link from jail to the court in the western province of Usak, Unal denied being a founder or leader of the network and denied involvement in the putsch, Anadolu said.
“I have no link with any terrorist organization,” he said, adding that he had spoken five or six times to Gulen and that he was being tried over his writing.
He was sentenced to 19 years and six months for “leading an armed terrorist group.” Six other Zaman journalists were convicted on similar charges in July.
About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial. Authorities also sacked or suspended 150,000 civil servants and military personnel and shut down dozens of media outlets.Illustrating the scale of its actions, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday his ministry had dismissed 23 percent of its career personnel over links to Gulen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said some journalists helped nurture terrorists with their writing, and that the crackdown is needed to ensure stability in a NATO member bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran. Critics say Erdogan has used the crackdown to muzzle dissent and increase his own power. The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, has also criticized the crackdown. The verdict came a day after another court threw out the conviction of former Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak, annulling a verdict sentencing her to two years in prison in absentia on charges of carrying out propaganda for Kurdish militants.