Saudi Arabia helps free French hostage from Houthis in Yemen

The Frenchman Alain Goma, retained in Yemen, was released according to the Elysee. (Twitter)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Saudi Arabia helps free French hostage from Houthis in Yemen

  • France’s president has announced the release of the French citizen held in hostage in Yemen for more than 4 months
  • French media reported Goma was on a sailing trip when damage on the ship forced him to dock in a Yemeni port

PARIS: A Frenchman held captive in war-torn Yemen for over four months after his boat ran into trouble near the port of Hodeidah has been released with the help of Saudi Arabia, the French presidency announced Tuesday.
Alain Goma dropped anchor in Hodeidah on June 3 after running out of water while sailing to India.
Hodeidah is under the control of Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who took him prisoner.
It is not clear whether they made any demands of France in return for the release of Goma, who is in his fifties.
In a statement President Emmanuel Macron has congratulated all those who contributed to Alain Goma’s release. Goma will be back in France soon.
Macron said Tuesday that he’s grateful to Oman’s sultan and authorities for their “decisive” role and Saudi authorities for their help.
Yemeni security officials said the Houthis released Goma from a prison in the capital, Sanaa, which is also under rebel control.
They said the release came after “intensive” talks between France’s envoy to Yemen and Houthi leaders in Sanaa. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief reporters.
Goma’s family members had last month made the situation of Goma public in French media so that he wouldn’t become a “forgotten hostage.”


Spanish PM visits Morocco to boost migration cooperation

Updated 19 November 2018
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Spanish PM visits Morocco to boost migration cooperation

  • Spain has this year become the main entry point for migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the majority departing from Morocco

RABAT: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Monday made his first official visit to Morocco, where he pushed for greater cooperation between the two countries on tackling migration.
Spain has this year become the main entry point for migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the majority departing from Morocco.
“Migration is a shared responsibility and we must reinforce our cooperation in this area,” Sanchez said following talks with his Moroccan counterpart Saad Eddine el Othmani.
More than 50,000 migrants have crossed into Spain so far this year, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Madrid has for months been pressing the European Union to unlock funds for Morocco to better tackle people smuggling into the bloc.
Throughout the year, numerous Spanish ministers and officials have traveled to Rabat to discuss security issues and migration.
Sanchez was accompanied by a government delegation for his first visit to the North African nation since taking office in June.
Othmani said Morocco was doing “all that is in its power regarding the fight against illegal immigration.”
Moroccan authorities say that between January and the end of September they stopped some 68,000 illegal attempts to cross into Europe and dismantled 122 people smuggling gangs.
“The migration question is complex and it cannot be resolved solely through a security approach, despite its importance, it’s necessary to favor the development of departure countries in Africa,” said Othmani.
Many seeking to reach Europe are from sub-Saharan Africa, but in recent years there has been an increasing number of Moroccans seeking to leave the country.
While the majority of migrants have taken the perilous sea journey in rubber dinghies, others have scaled fences into the Spanish territories of Ceuta and Melilla which border Morocco.