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.


Pro-Turkey Syria rebels accept Idlib deal, albeit cautiously

Updated 23 September 2018
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Pro-Turkey Syria rebels accept Idlib deal, albeit cautiously

  • The National Liberation Front rebel alliance accepts deal reached or Idlib, but says they remain on their guard
  • Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions from their homes since erupting in 2011
BEIRUT: Pro-Turkey rebels have cautiously accepted a Moscow-Ankara deal to prevent a Russia-backed regime attack on Syria’s last major opposition bastion of Idlib, while a small militant group has rejected it.
The dominant force in the northwestern region bordering Turkey, the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) alliance led by militants of Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, had on Sunday however still not responded.
Late Saturday, the National Liberation Front (NLF) rebel alliance in a statement accepted the deal reached on Monday for Idlib, but said they remained on their guard.
They announced “our full cooperation with our Turkish ally in helping to make a success their efforts to spare civilians from the afflictions of war.”
“But we will stay alert to any betrayal by the Russians, the regime or the Iranians,” the NLF warned, fearing the agreement to be “temporary.”
“We will not abandon our weapons, our land or our revolution” against the Russia- and Iran-backed forces of President Bashar Assad, the rebels said.
Also on Saturday, in a statement circulated on social media, the Al-Qaeda-linked Hurras Al-Deen rejected the agreement reached in the Russian resort of Sochi.
“We at the Hurras Al-Deen organization again announce our rejection of these conspiracies,” it said.
Monday’s agreement provides for a U-shaped buffer zone 15 to 20 kilometers (9 to 12 miles) wide to be set up around Idlib.
Under the deal, all factions in the planned demilitarized zone must hand over their heavy weapons by October 10, and radical groups must withdraw by October 15.
Both the extremist Hurras Al-Deen and NLF rebels are present inside this planned buffer area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.
But the dominant HTS alliance is also widely present, according to the Britain-based monitor.
The militant-led group — which controls more than half of the Idlib region — has not officially responded to the agreement.
But its propaganda agency Ebaa has cast doubt on Turkey’s motivations.
In August, HTS leader Abu Mohamed Al-Jolani warned opposition factions in Idlib against handing over their weapons.
Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions from their homes since erupting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-Assad protests.