Houthis seize dozens of relief trucks: Yemen minister 

Armed Yemeni men hold their weapons as they gather in the capital Sanaa to show their support to the Houthis. (File/AFP)
Updated 06 January 2019
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Houthis seize dozens of relief trucks: Yemen minister 

  • Houthi fighters seized 72 WFP relief tracks headed to the province of Ibb
  • Houthi militia are preventing the arrival of relief for those in need in areas under their control

Houthi fighters seized 72 World Food Programme (WFP) relief tracks headed to the province of Ibb on Saturday, Minister of Local Administration and chairman of the Higher Committee for Relief in Yemen said.

The WFP the food assistance branch of the United Nations.

The WFP had last week accused the Houthis of stealing food aid dedicated to people affected by the conflict in regions under militia control.

“The Houthis are carrying out systematic work against relief operations in Yemen, starving the Yemeni people and deprive them of the most basic rights,” Abdul Raqeeb Saif Fateh told Yemen’s state news agency, Saba New.

Houthi militia are preventing the arrival of relief for those in need in areas under their control, the minister said.

Fateh called on UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande to intervene and pressure the Houthis to return the seized relief trucks.

“The Yemeni government will bring cases to the international courts against the Houthis who directly starve the Yemeni people and contribute to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in their areas of control,” he said. “The militia are the biggest violators of humanitarian operations in the world.”

The minister said the Yemeni government was working in coordination with donors and international organizations to ensure the delivery of relief aid and humanitarian materials to all governorates.

He requested the WFP implement an electronic fingerprint system in areas controlled by the Houthis to ensure better security for the distribution of aid and to avoid looting by the armed militia.

Fatah urged international relief organizations working in Yemen not to deal with the Houthis and to only deal with local organizations and partners which he said were “reliable, efficient, transparent and fair in their distribution.” 


Jordan to host Yemen talks on prisoner exchange

Updated 17 min 56 sec ago
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Jordan to host Yemen talks on prisoner exchange

  • A follow-up committee will discuss implementing the deal agreed in UN-brokered peace talks last month in Sweden

AMMAN: The next stage of the fragile Yemen peace process will take place in Jordan.

The government in Amman agreed on Tuesday to a UN request to host a meeting between the Yemeni government and Iran-backed Houthi militias to discuss a prisoner swap deal that would allow thousands of families to be reunited.

A follow-up committee will discuss implementing the deal agreed in UN-brokered peace talks last month in Sweden. 

The agreement to free prisoners simultaneously was part of confidence-building measures that included a plan to withdraw from the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

The two sides exchanged lists of about 15,000 prisoners for a swap agreed at the start of the Sweden talks and delegates said it would be conducted via the Houthi-held Sanaa airport in north Yemen and the government-held Sayun airport in the south.

The process would be overseen by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The operation will require the Saudi-led military coalition to guarantee that air space is secure for flights, the ICRC said.

The warring parties in Yemen have so far refused to talk face-to-face during two meetings to discuss the redeployment of forces from Hodeidah, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert, the head of the monitoring team, had to shuttle between government and Houthi representatives in different rooms.

Dujarric said Cammaert was trying to find “a mutually acceptable way forward” to redeploy forces from Hodeidah and the smaller ports of Salif and Ras Isa.

“Recent discussions have been constructive” and Cammaert “continues to encourage the parties to resume the joint meetings in order to finalize a mutually agreed redeployment plan,” Dujarric said.

UN envoy Martin Griffiths said last week there would be a new round of talks in January but diplomats said he was now looking to February.