Arab coalition, UN sign MoU to protect children in Yemen

Virginia Gamba, United Nations Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, speaks during a news conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 25, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 March 2019

Arab coalition, UN sign MoU to protect children in Yemen

  • The UN had launched a number of initiatives to end the recruitment and use of children in conflict

RIYADH: The Arab coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UN to protect children affected by the conflict.
The MoU was signed in Riyadh by Virginia Gamba, the special representative of the UN secretary-general for children and armed conflict, and Maj. Gen. Fahd bin Turki bin Abdul Aziz, the Arab coalition’s commander of the joint forces.
Speaking at a press conference, Gamba said that the Houthi militia had been involved in gross violations of using children in the armed conflict in Yemen.
Gamba added that the Iranian-backed militias had committed violations against children instead of taking action to protect them from the civil war. The MoU signed between the coalition and the UN reflected a strong commitment to strengthen the protection of children affected by the conflict as well as preventing them from being exploited by the rebels.
“The MoU consolidates the position of the two sides to strengthen efforts in protecting children affected by conflict in Yemen,” she said.
“This will give us best practices and understanding on how to prevent children from being used in armed conflict.”
“I am convinced that the coalition led by Saudi Arabia will play a significant role in serving the great purpose of keeping children away from the armed conflict,” she said.
She noted that the MoU is the first of its kind and expressed the hope that it will become a global campaign. The UN would conduct an international campaign on the dangers children facing in the armed conflict, she said.
She also expressed hope that the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) would be of great help with its rehabilitation program that served children who are used by the Houthi militias to act as combatants and human shields in the conflict.
The UN had launched a number of initiatives to end the recruitment and use of children in conflict. It believed that children should be armed with pens and textbooks, not guns, she said.
Gen. Fahd said that the MoU signed between the two sides deals with “noble humanitarian aspects” and these two sides will work to strengthen the goals toward the protection of children.
The press conference was also attended by permanent representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi and Brig. Gen. Mubarak Al-Zahrani, head of the child protection unit in the coalition.

Riyadh, Beirut stress need to confront Islamic extremism

Updated 20 June 2019

Riyadh, Beirut stress need to confront Islamic extremism

  • Saudi-Lebanese Parliamentary Friendship Committee reaffirms the importance of restoring peace and harmony among all Arab countries

BEIRUT: A delegation from the Saudi Shoura Council, headed by Saleh bin Manea Al-Khalewi, began an official visit to Lebanon on Tuesday, meeting President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

It is the first visit of the council to Lebanon, to convene the first meeting of the Saudi-Lebanese Parliamentary Friendship Committee, headed by Tammam Salam.

Aoun praised “the fraternal relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia,” and reaffirmed “the paramount importance of restoring peace and harmony among all Arab countries, for the benefit of all,” wishing to establish “peace on solid foundations based on the principle of respect for the vital interests of every country.”

He underlined that political differences should not allow deviation from the principles of the Arab League charter, and hailed Saudi Arabia’s recent decision to lift the ban on its citizens traveling to Lebanon in time for the summer season, hoping that the “Kingdom witnesses further success and growth.

“Lebanon is more than ready to cooperate in all areas to achieve this end, especially in the presence of an important Lebanese community in the Kingdom that contributed to its prosperity,” he added.

Al-Khalewi underscored the “historic relations between the two countries and the two brotherly peoples,” emphasizing the importance of the ongoing support provided by the Kingdom to Lebanon. He also praised Aoun’s keenness to build Arab solidarity and consensus.

The committee discussed means of developing cooperation in legislative sectors in the two countries, serving the goal of greater Arab solidarity. Delegates agreed on the need for stability and peace in Arab countries, and the need to confront Islamic extremism leading to domestic and international acts of terrorism.