Yemen govt accuses Houthis of ‘sabotage’ for not showing up in peace talks

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Yemen’s foreign minister Khaled Al-Yamani walks to a meeting with UN special envoy on Yemen at a hotel on September 7, 2018 in Geneva. (AFP)
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UN envoy Martin Griffiths leaves after a news conference on Yemen talks at the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland on September 8, 2018. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse(
Updated 08 September 2018
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Yemen govt accuses Houthis of ‘sabotage’ for not showing up in peace talks

  • Yemeni FM chides UN envoy for not being firm enough with Houthis
  • The government delegation had decided to return home after the talks were put on hold for three days

GENEVA: Yemen's foreign minister accused the Houthi militia on Saturday of “trying to sabotage the negotiations” that ended without their attendance in Geneva and said that the UN envoy had not been firm enough with them.
“We want the UN to be firmer in bringing the other party to the negotiations”, Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani told a press conference before leaving the Swiss city after three days of talks with UN envoy Stephen Griffiths on confidence-building measures including prisoner releases.
Al-Yamani, who led the government delegation, also accused the Houthis of being “totally irresponsible”.
“If they were sincere in reaching peace, they should have come, even if we were meeting in separate rooms,” he said.
Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab states, tweeted: “Despite the serious setback in Geneva the way forward is still a political solution. What is perhaps clearer now to the international community is the unwillingness of the Houthis to engage in good faith with such a process.”
Despite the Houthis failure to show up, Griffiths said thatdid not signify the peace process was deadlocked
“They would have like to get here, we didn’t make conditions sufficiently correct to get them here,” Griffiths told a news conference, declining to elaborate.
He said he would meet in the coming days with the Houthi leadership in Sanaa and Muscat, Oman.
The Houthi group said on Friday it was still waiting for the United Nations to guarantee that the flight carrying its delegation to Geneva would not be inspected by Saudi coalition forces and could evacuate some of its wounded.
Griffiths, referring to peace processes, said on Saturday: “A restart is a very delicate, fragile moment. People are coming at a time when perhaps all of their constituencies are not fully engaged and don’t see ahead of time results that will come out of talks.
“So I don’t take this as a fundamental blockage in the process,” he added.
Confidence-building measures such as prisoner releases, increasing humanitarian access, especially to the city of Taiz, and reopening Sanaa airport were discussed with the government, he said.
Agreement has been reached for medical evacuations from the Houthi-held Yemeni capital of Sanaa, to start in a week with a flight to Cairo, he said, calling it an “early achievement.”
A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen’s war against the Houthis in 2015 with the aim of restoring the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. 


Iranian extremism ‘reinforcing instability’

MWL's Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa said Iran’s regional meddling would cause irreparable harm to its reputation. (Reuters)
Updated 11 min 25 sec ago
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Iranian extremism ‘reinforcing instability’

  • Muslim World League to counter sectarianism with interfaith summit in Beirut
  • Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa said the interfaith summit had particular relevance because of the pernicious influence of Iran in the region

BEIRUT: The Muslim World League (MWL) will hold an international Muslim-Christian summit in Beirut next year to combat hate speech and promote cultural and religious and diversity, the organization’s secretary-general said on Wednesday.

Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa said the interfaith summit had particular relevance because of the pernicious influence of Iran in the region.

“The extremist sectarian policy adopted by Iran is causing more trouble and reinforcing instability,” he said.
“We have always said that we are not against Shiism; Shiites are our citizens, neighbors, and brothers. We are against sectarian extremism.

“Intervening in the affairs of states and attempting to impose sectarian domination and a political agenda will only make things worse.”

The MWL had chosen Beirut for the summit because of its “religious diversity and great civilization,” Al-Issa said.

“We aim through the summit to achieve cooperation in initiatives that achieve common goals to serve humanity and promote love.”

Al-Issa said Iran’s regional meddling would cause irreparable harm to its reputation. 

“Calls for moderation have reached Iran from every advocate of peace and stability, but it refused to listen,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia and other peace-loving countries are doing their utmost to ensure stability and security, but Iran continues to defy the lessons of history.”

Al-Issa held talks on Wednesday with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.