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.


Turkey vows to keep striking PKK targets in Iraq

Updated 15 December 2018
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Turkey vows to keep striking PKK targets in Iraq

  • Turkish foreign ministry said the country expected neighboring Iraq to fulfill its responsibilities in combatting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party
  • Turkey will invoke its “legitimate right to self-defense” if Iraq “does not do what’s necessary”

ISTANBUL: Turkey says it will continue to defend itself against terrorists after its strikes against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq sparked criticism from Baghdad.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said Saturday that Turkey expected neighboring Iraq to fulfill its responsibilities in combatting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. He says Turkey will invoke its “legitimate right to self-defense” if Iraq “does not do what’s necessary.”
Iraq summoned Turkey’s ambassador on Friday to protest Turkish air raids on Iraq’s Sinjar and Makhmour mountains, where the PKK operates. The group has waged an insurgency inside Turkey for more than three decades but also fought against the Daesh group in Iraq.
The Turkish Defense Ministry says Thursday’s strikes targeted PKK bases that supply Kurdish positions in northern Syria.