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.


Boat carrying Syrian refugees sinks off Lebanon, most rescued

Updated 22 September 2018
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Boat carrying Syrian refugees sinks off Lebanon, most rescued

  • The boat was ferrying the refugees illegally to Cyprus
  • Most were rescued by the Lebanese army but at least one child drowned

BEIRUT: A boat with around three dozen Syrian refugees on board sank off the coast of Lebanon on Saturday and most were rescued by the Lebanese army but at least one child drowned, security sources said.
The boat was ferrying the refugees illegally to Cyprus, some 180 km (110 miles) away, when it foundered off the coast of northern Lebanon, the sources said. Three more of the people on boat were in a serious condition in hospital.
Lebanon is hosting around 1 million registered refugees from Syria’s civil war, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR. The Lebanese government puts the figure at around 1.5 million.