Houthis blocked aid convoy from leaving Hodeidah for Sanaa

The Iranian-allied Houthi militia prevented an aid convoy that was headed for Sanaa from leaving Hodeidah. (File/AFP)
Updated 30 December 2018
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Houthis blocked aid convoy from leaving Hodeidah for Sanaa

  • The Houthis broke their agreement with the head of the Redeployment Coordination Committee
  • Arab coalition spokesman said the convoy belonged to a United Nations agency and was carrying 32 tons of flour

The Iranian-allied Houthi militia on Saturday prevented an aid convoy that was headed for Sanaa from leaving Hodeidah, Yemen’s state news agency reported.

The Houthis broke their agreement with the head of the Redeployment Coordination Committee, retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert, to allow a relief convoy for Sanaa to leave the port of Hodeidah, a government source told Saba news agency.

The source claimed that when asked by general Cammaert’s team why the convoy did not run at the agreed date, the Houthis denied agreeing to it.

Saudi-led Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the convoy belonged to a United Nations agency and was carrying 32 tons of flour.

The coalition had issued the necessary permits to allow the convoy entry into government-controlled areas of Hodeidah, Al-Maliki said, describing the militias’ action as a “deliberate obstruction of relief and humanitarian work.”


Illegal immigration, refugees top Arab-EU Summit agenda

Updated 34 min 21 sec ago
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Illegal immigration, refugees top Arab-EU Summit agenda

  • Heads of state, officials from EU and Arab League member countries to attend summit today
  • Some 19.5 million people globally have been forced to flee their countries

CAIRO: Egypt on Sunday will host heads of state, government officials and representatives from EU and Arab League member countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Bahrain’s King Hamad.

Refugees and illegal immigration will top the agenda amid the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

Some 19.5 million people globally have been forced to flee their countries. According to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), Syrians constitute the largest refugee population in Europe, followed by Eritreans then Afghans. 

According to unofficial statistics, Syrians are also the largest refugee population in the Arab world, followed by Yemenis, Libyans and Sudanese.

Hossam El-Khouli, secretary-general of the Egyptian Nation’s Future Party, said: “The EU … should call for the repatriation of refugees if conditions are appropriate.”

He said: “As for the right of asylum … a number of countries have granted asylum to criminals who have committed violent crimes against their own people and homelands.”

Summit participants intend to debate the necessity of combating this kind of migration, especially given its impact on the security and economy of many countries. 

Margaret Azer, an Egyptian lawmaker, said a country’s economic conditions are one of the main drivers of illegal immigration. 

“The decline of political conditions in several countries is (also) contributing to the rise in numbers of people seeking illegal immigration,” she told Arab News. 

“For example, we see that the biggest percentage of immigrants in Europe are from countries like Syria and Libya. The reason could also be religious or sectarian persecution, as is the case in Myanmar.”

Frontex President Fabrice Leggeri said although the number of migrants arriving in Europe dropped to 150,114 in 2018 compared to 204,750 in 2017, the agency continues to support border controls by providing more workers and technology.