UN Yemen envoy planning new talks in Sweden, welcomes news of ceasefire in Hodeidah

UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths has welcomed the news of a ceasefire in Hodeidah at a Security Council Meeting on Friday - and announced fresh talks in Sweden. (AFP)
Updated 16 November 2018
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UN Yemen envoy planning new talks in Sweden, welcomes news of ceasefire in Hodeidah

NEW YORK: UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths told a Security Council session on Friday that he intends to convene peace talks "shortly" in Sweden in a bid to end a war that has driven "millions to the brink of famine."

Griffiths also welcomed the news of a ceasefire in the port city of Hodeidah.

He added that the Saudi-led coalition backing the legitimate government of Yemen and the Houthi militia had shown a "renewed commitment" to work on a political solution and have given "firm assurances" that they will attend the talks, Martin Griffiths told the council.

"I will go to Sanaa next week ... I will also be happy to travel myself, if necessary, with the delegation to the consultations," Griffiths said. He is aiming to convene talks before the end of the year.

Griffith said he believed he was close to resolving preparatory issues to allow the talks in Sweden to happen.

"I am grateful to the coalition for agreeing our proposed logistical arrangements, and to the coalition and Oman for their agreement to facilitate the medical evacuation of some injured Yemenis out of Sanaa," he told the 15-member Security Council.

He also said: "We have to seize positive international momentum to resolve the Yemen crisis peacefully, we are working to bring together both sides of the conflict to resolve the crisis through dialogue."

Griffiths also said the parties were about to conclude an agreement on the exchange of prisoners and detainees.

Meanwhile, UN food chief David Beasley said on Friday that the situation in Yemen was "a catastrophe," and that there had to be immediate action to protect the Yemeni people, especially children, in the face of food shortages.


Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir to address the nation

Updated 12 min 7 sec ago
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Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir to address the nation

KHARTOUM: Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir is expected to address the nation on Friday at around 6:30 p.m. GMT. 
Earlier today, security forces fired teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters who marched and chanted anti-government slogans following Friday prayers at a major mosque near the Sudanese capital, eyewitnesses said.
The demonstration in the city of Omdurman outside Al-Sayed Abd Al-Rahman Al-Mahdi mosque, which has ties to the opposition Umma party, was the latest in what have become near-daily protests in Sudan since Dec. 19.
Protesters chanted “the revolution is the choice of the people” and “fall, that’s it,” to express that their only demand is the end of President Omar Al-Bashir’s rule.
The demonstrations were triggered by price increases and cash shortages but have developed into the most sustained challenge to Bashir since he took power three decades ago.
Activists say nearly 60 people have been killed during two months of protests, while authorities put the death toll at 32, including three security personnel.
Security forces have used tear gas and live bullets to disperse protesters, and have arrested people including opposition party members, activists and journalists.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges of masterminding genocide in the Darfur region, which he denies. He has been lobbying for Sudan to be removed from a list of countries Washington deems state sponsors of terrorism.
The listing has blocked the investment and financial aid that Sudan was hoping for when the United States lifted sanctions in 2017, economists say.
Sudan has been rapidly expanding its money supply in an attempt to finance its budget deficit, causing spiraling inflation and a steep decline in the value of its currency.