UN envoy arrives in Yemen to push Hodeidah truce

Martin Griffiths is scheduled to hold talks in Sanaa with Houthi leaders and will later travel to the Saudi capital Riyadh to meet Yemeni government officials. (AFP)
Updated 05 January 2019
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UN envoy arrives in Yemen to push Hodeidah truce

  • The UN is hoping to bring the warring sides together later this month, possibly in Kuwait, to follow up on the progress made at December's talks in Stockholm
  • The UN Security Council is expected to hear a report from Griffiths next week, but no date has been set for that meeting

SANAA: The UN envoy for Yemen arrived in the capital Sanaa on Saturday for talks to shore up a ceasefire in the country's lifeline port city of Hodeidah, an AFP photographer said.
Martin Griffiths is scheduled to hold talks in Sanaa with Houthi leaders and will later travel to the Saudi capital Riyadh to meet Yemeni government officials.

He will also meet in the Houthi-held capital with retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert, who has been appointed by the UN to head the truce monitoring team.
Griffiths' visit comes as the ceasefire in Hodeidah was generally holding, although there have been intermittent clashes with both sides blaming each other.
Yemen's government has written to the UN Security Council to accuse the Houthi militia of failing to comply with the ceasefire, while the rebels have accused the Arab coalition of carrying out low-altitude flights over the city.
The United Nations is hoping to bring the warring sides together later this month, possibly in Kuwait, to follow up on the progress made at December's talks in Stockholm, diplomats have said.
The UN Security Council is expected to hear a report from Griffiths next week, but no date has been set for that meeting.
The war between the Houthis and troops loyal to the internationally-recognised government escalated in March 2015, when President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled into Saudi exile and the Arab coalition intervened.
The conflict has unleashed the world's worst humanitarian crisis according to the UN, which says 14 million Yemenis are on the brink of famine.


Lebanese budget protesters clash with security in Beirut

Updated 43 min 16 sec ago
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Lebanese budget protesters clash with security in Beirut

  • Over one hundred protesters gathered Monday outside the Government House in downtown Beirut
  • Lebanon faces a looming fiscal crisis as the economy struggles with soaring debt

BEIRUT: Security forces opened water cannons on Lebanese anti-austerity protesters in the country’s capital on Monday, as the government continued to hold marathon meetings to discuss severe budget cuts.
Lebanon faces a looming fiscal crisis as the economy struggles with soaring debt, rising unemployment and slow growth. The government’s tightened budget and key reforms aim to unlock billions of dollars in pledged foreign assistance. But planned cuts have unleashed a wave of public discontent, amid leaks that austerity could target public wages, services and social benefits.

A retired Lebanese soldier chants slogans while holding an army flag, during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday. (AP)

Over one hundred protesters gathered Monday outside the Government House in downtown Beirut shouting “Thieves, thieves!” as the Cabinet met for its 16th session and struggles to reach agreement.
Protesters pushed back against police lines and set fire to tires outside the building. At least two policemen and one civilian were wounded in the scuffles.
Among those demonstrating Monday were public and private school teachers and retired officers.
The government, headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, has sought to calm nerves while also describing the upcoming budget as the most austere in Lebanon’s history.
Hariri said he hopes the government will be able to send the budget to parliament later this week.
Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said the cabinet made “important progress” in discussions Sunday.