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.


US Senate lets $300m arms sale to Bahrain proceed

Senate Democrat Bob Menendez said Bahrain’s “willingness to host our naval forces also places Bahrain at greater risk from attack from Iran and terrorist groups seeking to do harm to the United States.” (AFP)
Updated 17 November 2018
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US Senate lets $300m arms sale to Bahrain proceed

  • Critics of the bill warned that punishment of Bahrain would be misplaced, especially as 7,800 US military personnel are deployed there on a base that hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet

WASHINGTON: The US Senate has rejected a long-shot effort to block $300 million in arms sales to Bahrain, as the bill’s opponents stressed the island nation was a critical ally hosting an American naval base.
The effort, led by Republican Senator Rand Paul, failed as the US Senate voted 77 to 21 to table the measure, essentially killing it.
Critics of the bill warned that punishment of Bahrain would be misplaced, especially as 7,800 US military personnel are deployed there on a base that hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which helps protect American interests in the region. Bahrain is strategically located between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Senate Democrat Bob Menendez said Bahrain’s “willingness to host our naval forces also places Bahrain at greater risk from attack from Iran and terrorist groups seeking to do harm to the United States.”
Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the committee chairman, said Bahrain is home to a naval base with 7,800 US service members protecting American interests and serving as a buffer against the Iranian regime.
He said that blocking an arms sale to an ally over “something that has nothing to do with them, but has something to do with another country is not a pragmatic, nor a sensible step.”