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.


Turkey train crash leaves 9 dead, dozens injured

Updated 9 sec ago
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Turkey train crash leaves 9 dead, dozens injured

ANKARA, TURKEY: A high-speed train hit a railway engine and crashed into a pedestrian overpass Thursday at a station in the Turkish capital of Ankara, killing nine people and injuring dozens, officials said.
The 6:30 a.m. train from Ankara to the central Turkish city of Konya collided head-on with the engine, which was checking the tracks at the capital’s small Marsandiz station, Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan told reporters after inspecting the site. The high-speed train, which the Anadolu Agency said was carrying 206 passengers, usually passes through that station without stopping.
At least two cars derailed, hitting the station’s overpass, which then collapsed onto the train. Three engine drivers and six passengers were killed in the crash, Turhan said. One passenger died after being hospitalized while the others were killed at the scene.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 84 other people had sought medical help after the crash.
Television footage showed emergency services working to rescue passengers from wrangled cars and debris. Hurriyet newspaper said sniffer dogs assisted efforts to find survivors. Turhan said later no one else was believed to be trapped.
It wasn’t immediately clear if a signaling problem caused the crash. Authorities detained three state railway employees over suspected negligence and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed a thorough investigation.
Passenger Ayse Ozyurt told the IHA news agency that the accident occurred 12 minutes after the train left the main station and that it had not yet gained its maximum speed.
“The train was not fast at that time yet,” she said. “Suddenly, there was a frightening breakage ... and the train was off the rail.”
Konya, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) south of Ankara, is home to the tomb of the Sufi mystic and poet Jalaladdin Rumi, attracting thousands of pilgrims and tourists. The crash occurred during an annual week of remembrance for Rumi, when many travel to Konya to watch Whirling Dervishes, members of a Sufi sect, perform.
Turkey has had a raft of train crashes this year.
In July, 24 people were killed and more than 70 injured when most of a passenger train derailed in northwestern Turkey after torrential rains caused a section of the tracks to collapse. Last month, 15 people were injured when a passenger train collided with a freight train in Turkey’s central province of Sivas.