US blames Houthis for stalling Yemen peace deal

Up to 2 million people in Yemen have been displaced since the start of the conflict three years ago, according to the UNHCR. (AFP)
Updated 24 March 2019
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US blames Houthis for stalling Yemen peace deal

  • “We are making every possible effort to end the conflict in Yemen,” Tueller told a press conference in Aden
  • Tueller also said the Iran-backed militia’s weapons pose a threat to other countries in the region

LONDON: The US ambassador to Yemen blamed the Houthis on Thursday for impeding a UN-led peace deal in the main port of Hodeidah.

Matthew Tueller also said the Iran-backed militia’s weapons pose a threat to other countries in the region.

The Yemeni government and the Houthis reached a ceasefire and troop withdrawal deal for Hodeidah at talks in Sweden in December. The pact was the first major breakthrough in efforts to end the four year war.

While the truce has largely held, the troop withdrawal by both parties has yet to materialise.

"We are greatly frustrated by what we see as delays and stalling on the part of the Houthis in implementing what they agreed to in Sweden, but I have great confidence in the UN envoy and what he is doing," Tueller said in the southern port of Aden, where the internationally recognised government is based.

"We are willing to work with others in order to try to implement these (Sweden) agreements and see whether the Houthis can in fact demonstrate a political maturity and start to serve the interests of Yemen rather than acting on behalf of those who seek to weaken and destroy Yemen," he said.

Tueller said he had "not given up hope" that the deal would be implemented in Hodeidah, where thousands of Yemeni forces backed by the Arab coalition are massed on the outskirts.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that putting pressure on Iran will force the Houthis to abide by the Stockholm Agreement. 

Speaking to Al Arabiya during a regional tour focused largely on Iran, Pompeo added that the Houthis should know that they will not win the war in Yemen, and that the Iran-backed militia only work under the guidance of the Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei and the commander of Islamic Revolution Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Al-Quds Force Qassem Soleimani.

Tueller also added that Washington was concerned about the situation in Yemen, and reiterated US support for the Yemeni government.

“We are making every possible effort to end the conflict in Yemen,” Tuellersaid, emphasizing Washington’s interest in Yemen’s unity and stability.

Tueller said the US was working with Yemeni authorities to prevent arms smuggling from Iran and to strengthen local security institutions. He added that the possession of weapons should be limited to the state.

"The fact that there are groups that have weapons, including heavy weapons and even weapons that can threaten neighboring countries, and those weapons are not under the control of the institutions of the state - this is a severe danger to the region as well as to Yemen," he said.

Tueller added that Washington hopes to reopen the US embassy in Sanaa considering that it is the capital of Yemen.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the war between the Houthis and the internationally recognised Yemeni government . The Houthis ousted Hadi's government from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014.


Italy urges EU to ready plan for Libya refugee flight, work on joint initiative

Updated 24 April 2019
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Italy urges EU to ready plan for Libya refugee flight, work on joint initiative

  • Moavero was speaking at joint news conference in Rome with Ghassan Salame
  • Moavero says situation in Libya required a lot of “time and support”

ROME: Italy’s government has written to the European Union asking it to ready a plan of action to deal with a possible flight of refugees from the armed conflict in Libya, Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero said on Wednesday.
Moavero was speaking at a joint news conference in Rome after talks with the UN envoy on Libya, Ghassan Salame.
He also said that the European Union was working on developing a Europe-wide initiative for the country, as the bloc fears the emergence of fresh terrorist activities.
Moavero said the situation in Libya required a lot of “time and support.”