World Food Programme considers ending aid to Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen after ‘interference’

Yemeni children present documents in order to receive food rations provided by a local charity, in Sanaa. The World Food Programme is (AP)
Updated 21 May 2019
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World Food Programme considers ending aid to Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen after ‘interference’

  • Negotiations with Houthi leaders to open up access to hungry people had not yet brought tangible results
  • "Humanitarian workers in Yemen are being denied access to the hungry, aid convoys have been blocked," WFP says

LONDON: The World Food Programme (WFP) is considering suspending aid delivery in the areas under the control of Yemen's Houthi group because of fighting, insecurity and interference it its work, the agency said on Monday.

"Humanitarian workers in Yemen are being denied access to the hungry, aid convoys have been blocked, and local authorities have interfered with food distribution," the WFP said in a statement. "This has to stop."

The highly unusual threat from the UN agency, which is feeding more than 10 million people across Yemen, reflected what it said were "obstacles that are being put in our way".

"We face daily challenges due to the unrelenting fighting and insecurity in Yemen. And yet, our greatest challenge does not come from the guns, that are yet to fall silent in this conflict - instead, it is the obstructive and uncooperative role of some of the Houthi leaders in areas under their control."

Negotiations with Houthi leaders to open up access to hungry people had not yet brought tangible results, WFP said, although some had made positive commitments.

"Unfortunately, they (Houthi leaders) are being let down by other Houthi leaders who have broken assurances they gave us on stopping food diversions and finally agreeing to a beneficiary identification and biometric registration exercise."

WFP's threat of a partial pullout comes after fighting around Hodeidah marred an apparent diplomatic breakthrough by U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths, who got the Iranian-aligned Houthis to agree a unilateral withdrawal of their forces from Hodeidah and two other ports earlier this month.


How a Qatari financier helped blacklisted terrorists by using UN loopholes

Updated 11 min 52 sec ago
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How a Qatari financier helped blacklisted terrorists by using UN loopholes

  • UN officials accuse countries such as Qatar of not sufficiently monitoring blacklisted terrorists living within its borders
  • The UN has publicly alleged that a series of disclosures showed Al-Subaiy, a former Qatar central-bank official, continuing to finance terrorists and their activities through 2013

DUBAI: Lenient monitoring and loopholes within the United Nations’ Security Council sanctions procedures have allowed blacklisted terrorists with Al-Qaeda and Daesh gain access to frozen bank accounts, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Among those sanctioned, but gaining access to their accounts, is Qatari financier Khalifa al-Subaiy, who the US says provided significant financial support to Al-Qaeda and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Al-Subaiy, who was added to the UN terror blacklist in 2008, has been withdrawing funds up to $10,000 from frozen accounts for “basic necessities.” Home countries of blacklisted individuals apply for UN exemptions to sanctions that allow access to small amounts of money in order to pay for living expenses and food.

However, the exemptions procedure is “too loosely structured and lacks oversight,” the report added.

UN officials accuse countries such as Qatar of not sufficiently monitoring blacklisted terrorists living within its borders.

“Exemptions are granted to virtually anyone who asks and for amounts that are sometimes seen as unjustifiably large; requests don't adequately detail needs as required; and there are no spending audits,” the report by the WSJ read.

The UN has publicly alleged that a series of disclosures showed Al-Subaiy, a former Qatar central-bank official, continuing to finance terrorists and their activities through 2013.

“I would be hard-pressed to find someone more prominent than him in the whole terrorism financing side,” said Hans-Jakob Schindler, a senior director at the Counter Extremism Project and former adviser to the UN Security Council, told WSJ.