UN envoy moves to revive Yemen talks

Griffiths said on September 11, 2018, he will seek to revive talks between the Saudi-backed government and Houthi militias after a first bid for negotiations on ending the war failed to get off the ground. (AFP)
Updated 12 September 2018
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UN envoy moves to revive Yemen talks

  • Meetings aimed at preparing formal peace talks were to begin last week in Geneva but the Houthis refused to leave Sanaa until a series of demands were met
  • It was the first UN bid to convene talks between the warring sides since 2016

UNITED NATIONS, United States: The UN envoy for Yemen said Tuesday he will seek to revive talks between the Saudi-backed government and Houthi militias after a first bid for negotiations on ending the war failed to get off the ground.
Meetings aimed at preparing formal peace talks were to begin last week in Geneva but the Houthis refused to leave Sanaa to attend the consultations until a series of demands were met.
UN envoy Martin Griffiths told the Security Council he will be traveling to Muscat on Wednesday and later Sanaa and Riyadh to secure “a firm commitment from the parties to convene for continued consultations.”
The Houthis failed to turn up at the talks in Geneva over demands linked to the evacuation of wounded rebels to Oman and safe passage for the return of the rebel delegation to Sanaa.
The Yemen peace process will have “ups and downs,” Griffiths told a council meeting, downplaying the setback as “temporary obstacles.”
He asked the council to support his new shuttle diplomacy to “move back to the table with all speed.”
It was the first UN bid to convene talks between the warring sides since 2016.
The war in impoverished Yemen has killed 10,000 people and unleashed what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Houthi militias in Yemen since 2015 to drive them out of the capital Sanaa and return President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to power.


Regime air raids kill 9 civilians in northwest Syria: monitor

Updated 10 min 59 sec ago
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Regime air raids kill 9 civilians in northwest Syria: monitor

  • Three children are among the dead in the airstrikes
  • Syrian and Russian bombing of northwest Syria killed more than 600 civilians

BEIRUT: Regime airstrikes on Tuesday killed nine civilians in rebel-held northwest Syria, the target of months of regime and Russian bombardment, a war monitor said.

Three children were among the nine killed outside Maaret Al-Numan, a town located in a southern strip of Idlib province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The death toll is expected to rise due to critical wounds sustained by some other victims, according to the Britain-based monitoring group.

Russian and Syrian regime aircraft have ramped up strikes on Idlib since late April, killing more than 600 civilians, while 52 others have died from rebel fire, according to the Observatory.

Regime forces have also been locked in battle with extremists and allied rebels on the edges of the bastion, which is held by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, including the north of Hama province.

The group in January took full administrative control of the Idlib region, home to three million people, although other extremist groups and rebel factions are also present.

Idlib and its surrounding areas are supposed to be protected from a massive regime offensive by a September 2018 deal between Russia and rebel backer Turkey.

A buffer zone planned under that accord was never fully implemented, and the region has seen an uptick in violence.

Syria’s war has killed a total of more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.