UN: No time limit for Yemen peace talks in Stockholm

UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths shakes hands with Yemeni delegates at the opening press conference on peace talks for Yemen at Johannesberg castle, Stockholm, Sweden December 6, 2018. (TT News Agency/Reuters)
Updated 07 December 2018
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UN: No time limit for Yemen peace talks in Stockholm

LONDON: There is no time limit for the Yemen peace talks taking place in Stockholm, the United Nations said Friday. 

The international organisation also said that the current phase of the consultations focused on confidence building.

UN-sponsored peace talks between Yemen’s legitimate government and the Houthi militia started on Thursday in Sweden.

The two sides agreed on Thursday to free thousands of prisoners, in what UN mediator Martin Griffiths called a hopeful start to the first peace talks in two years to end a war that has pushed millions of people to the verge of starvation.
Griffiths wants a deal on reopening the airport, shoring up the central bank and securing a truce in Hodeidah, the country's main port, held by the Houthis and a focus of the war after the Arab coalition launched a campaign to capture it this year.
Sanaa airport, which has been bombed several times, is in Houthi territory but access is restricted by the Arab coalition, which controls the air space.

Yemen's government proposed reopening the Houthi-held airport in the capital Sanaa on condition planes are inspected in the airports of Aden or Sayun which are under its control, two government officials said on Friday.
Marwan Dammaj, Yemen's minister of culture in the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, told Reuters Sanaa airport should be re-opened to put "an end to the people's suffering regarding transportation".
"But it should be a domestic airport from where Yemenis can go to Aden and then leave to international destinations," added Dammaj, a member of the government delegation.
Hamza Al Kamali, another member of the delegation, said airplanes must stop in airports in the southern city of Aden or Sayun, east of the capital, for inspection before leaving Yemen.
The Houthi delegation head at the peace talks, Mohammed Abdusalam, rejected the proposal. "The airport should be opened in accordance to international standards, and we do not accept inspections," Abdusalam told Al Jazeera television.


Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

Updated 23 May 2019
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Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

  • Israel reduced the fishing limit to 10 nautical miles
  • The countries agreed to 20 nautical miles in the Oslo accords of 1990s

JERUSALEM: Israel reduced the offshore fishing limits it imposes for vessels operating out of Gaza from Thursday after Palestinians floated balloons fitted with incendiaries over the border, officials said.
The cut came just two days after Israel restored the limits to those set in April ahead of an Israeli general election.
“A decision was taken this Wednesday evening to reduce the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip to 10 nautical miles until further notice,” said COGAT, the defense ministry unit that oversees such regulations.
“The decision was taken after the launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza toward Israel,” it added.
Palestinians in Gaza have frequently floated balloons fitted with firebombs over the border to damage Israeli property and have in the past succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland.
Israel banned fishing completely when two days of deadly violence erupted earlier this month, but lifted the ban with a restriction of up to 12 nautical miles following a truce.
The 15-nautical-mile limit that had been restored on Tuesday was the largest allowed in years by Israel, which has fought three wars with Palestinian militants in the enclave and has blockaded it for more than a decade.
But human rights activists note that it still falls short of the 20 nautical miles agreed under the Oslo accords of the 1990s.
Israeli authorities have not said whether the 15-mile limit was one of the understandings reached as part of the May 6 cease-fire in Gaza but Israel media reported on Monday that it was.
The additional nautical miles are important to Gaza fishermen as they bring more valuable, deeper water species within reach.
Four Israeli civilians and 25 Palestinians, including at least nine militants, were killed in this month’s exchanges across the border.