Houthis ‘still break international law’ despite confidence-building measures: Arab Coalition

Human rights groups have condemned Houthis for recruiting child soldiers. (AFP/file photo)
Updated 04 December 2018
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Houthis ‘still break international law’ despite confidence-building measures: Arab Coalition

  • Arab coalition spokesman says wounded militiamen flown to Oman as part of peace effort
  • The coalition has so far rescued and rehabilitated 102 children turned into armed fighters by Houthi militias

RIYADH: The Arab Coalition supporting Yemen’s internationally recognized government condemned the Houthi militia on Monday for violating international law.

The Houthis continue to plant improvised explosive devices in schools, including Al-Sharaf School in Hodeidah, said coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki.

The coalition is continuing its efforts to rescue and rehabilitate children recruited as fighters by the Houthis, in cooperation with Yemen’s legitimate government, the Red Cross, the Red Crescent and human rights groups, he added.

The coalition has so far rescued and rehabilitated 102 such children, he said, adding that the rehabilitation period takes at least three months.

Rehabilitation includes disarming the children, providing them with medical and psychological treatment, and returning  them to their families under the government’s supervision. 

Meanwhile, the Houthis have been denying ships access to Hodeidah port for the past three days, said Al-Maliki. 

The coalition supports efforts by UN special envoy Martin Griffiths to reach a political solution to the Yemen crisis, the spokesman added.

The coalition agreed to the evacuation of wounded Houthi fighters to Oman for medical treatment out of “humanitarian considerations and as part of confidence-building measures” ahead of UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden, Al-Maliki said.

Griffiths arrived in Sanaa on Monday to escort the Houthi delegation to the talks, which might start on Wednesday, said two sources familiar with the matter.

A UN-chartered flight took off at 6 p.m. carrying the wounded Houthis, their escorts and a team of doctors to Oman, a security source at Sanaa International Airport told AFP. The Houthis had asked to travel on a plane not inspected by the Arab Coalition.

The Houthis launched 208 ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia between March 26, 2015, and Dec. 3, 2018, Al-Maliki said. 

The Yemeni National Army has made great progress against the Houthis in various parts of the country, he added. Between Nov. 26 and Dec. 3, 648 Houthi terrorists were killed, he said.


Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

Updated 21 May 2019
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Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

  • Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Lebanon insists that the area lies within its economic zone and refuses to give up a single part of it

BEIRUT: Lebanon has hinted that progress is being made in efforts to resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel following the return of a US mediator from talks with Israeli officials.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield returned to Lebanon following talks in Israel where he outlined Lebanese demands regarding the disputed area and the mechanism to reach a settlement.

The US mediator has signaled a new push to resolve the dispute after meetings with both Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to begin offshore oil and gas production in the offshore Block 9 as it grapples with an economic crisis.

A source close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Satterfield on Monday after his return to Lebanon, told Arab News that “there is progress in the efforts, but the discussion is not yet over.” He did not provide further details.

Sources close to the Lebanese presidency confirmed that Lebanon is counting on the US to help solve the demarcation dispute and would like to accelerate the process to allow exploration for oil and gas to begin in the disputed area.

Companies that will handle the exploration require stability in the area before they start working, the sources said.

Previous efforts by Satterfield to end the dispute failed in 2012 and again last year after Lebanon rejected a proposal by US diplomat Frederick Hoff that offered 65 percent of the disputed area to Lebanon and 35 percent to Israel. Lebanon insisted that the area lies within its economic zone and refused to give up a single part of it.

Satterfield has acknowledged Lebanon’s ownership of around 500 sq km of the disputed 850 sq km area.

Lebanon renewed its commitment to a mechanism for setting the negotiations in motion, including the formation of a tripartite committee with representatives of Lebanon, Israel and the UN, in addition to the participation of the US mediator. Beirut also repeated its refusal to negotiate directly with Israel.

Two months ago, Lebanon launched a marine environmental survey in blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanese waters to allow a consortium of French, Italian and Russian companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the area.