Houthi militia hold 16 cargo ships in Yemeni ports

In this Sept. 29, 2018, file photo, a cargo ship is docked at the port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP)
Updated 04 November 2018
0

Houthi militia hold 16 cargo ships in Yemeni ports

  • The center added that there are 134 migrants and 293 sailors of Asian, European and African nationalities on the ships

JEDDAH: Sixteen ships carrying food and oil products are being held by Houthi militias in the Yemeni ports of Hodeidah and Salif, according to the Isnad Center for Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations in Yemen. Some of them have been held for more than a month, which might have damaged their cargo of wheat and flour, it added.
The center said that five ships carrying medicines, medical equipment, sugar and liquefied gas have been detained inside the port of Hodeidah, while eight ships carrying maize, soybeans, wheat, flour and liquefied gas are being held in the port’s Al-Mikhtaf area. A further three ships are detained inside the port of Salif, two of which were prevented from unloading their cargo of corn, wheat and soybeans.
The center added that there are 134 migrants and 293 sailors of Asian, European and African nationalities on the ships. The total tonnage of the captured vessels is 198,860.88 tons, and they are carrying 116,880 tons of wheat, corn, sugar and soybeans, 79,722 tons of medicine and medical equipment, and 119,022 tons of liquefied gas. The ships bear the flags of nine nations: Djibouti, Sierra Leone, Malta, Comoros, the Marshall Islands, Pelhams, Panama, Nigeria and Palau.


Divided Arab economic summit: We must help suffering refugees

Updated 21 January 2019
0

Divided Arab economic summit: We must help suffering refugees

  • Lebanese foreign minister Gebran Bassil called for 'effective solutions' for the return of Syrian refugees to their country
  • Summit also called for dialogue over growing tensions between Israel and Palestine

BEIRUT: The fourth Arab Economic and Social Development Summit was held in Beirut on Sunday, in an effort to, among other things, find ways to alleviate the suffering of refugees in the Middle East.

The summit, though attended by representatives from 20 Arab nations, was soured by the absence of most Arab heads of state, and was divided over several issues, including the absence of Syrian delegates, and a boycott by Libya.

The summit did, though, call for dialogue with the international community over growing tensions between Israel and Palestine.

Delegates expressed their support for the Palestinian people, and cited the “collective responsibility” of all parties towards maintaining the city of Jerusalem’s “Islamic and Christian identity.”

In a statement, the summit declared: “We reiterate Palestinian refugees’ rights of return and compensation, according to the UN General Assembly’s resolution 194 of 1948.”

Delegates also discussed at great length the need for international cooperation to support the growing digital economy across the region. They emphasized “the importance of building the necessary capacity” to benefit from the digital economy, and praised the initiative launched by the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, to create a sovereign investment fund to support the development of technology in the Gulf and the Middle East.

They urged all Arab nations to “support this initiative to strengthen the joint Arab economy,” and called on other Arab banks and funds to invest in it.

The summit also praised the role of small and medium businesses across the Arab world for their contribution to flourishing Arab economies, as well as the implementation of the Pan-Arab Renewable Energy Strategy 2030, to ensure power across the region becomes cleaner and more sustainable.

The summit was far from harmonious, though, with the Lebanese foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, addressing the hall to ask the international community “to assume its responsibilities by finding effective solutions for the return of Syrian refugees to their country.”

Bassil called on Arab nations and others to “shoulder the burden, honor their commitments and meet the refugees’ needs.”

There were also disputes over the attendance of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, as well as the boycott by Libyan delegates.

“I am saddened because of the absence of the Libyan delegation, and by the circumstances that led to this point,” Arab League president, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said.

Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, echoed the words of his foreign minister, calling on the international community “to exert all efforts to provide the safe return of Syrian refugees to their country, and to present incentives so they can contribute to their country’s reconstruction.”

He proposed the establishment of an international Arab bank to help affected countries overcome the crisis, and invited established Arab funds to Beirut to discuss his proposals.

“I deplore the absence of other Arab presidents and kings, but each of them has his reason. Our union remains of great importance given that we will not be able to address the challenges facing our region and peoples, unless we agree on key issues,” Aoun said.

The next Arab Economic and Social Development Summit will be held in Mauritania in 2023.