Arab coalition highlights humanitarian efforts in Yemen

Arab Coalition Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki speaks at a press conference in Riyadh. (File photo/SPA)
Updated 10 June 2019

Arab coalition highlights humanitarian efforts in Yemen

  • The coalition is working to end the Houthi coup and restore Yemen’s legitimate government
  • Cited launch of air bridge from Riyadh to Aden to provide emergency relief for those affected by floods

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting Yemen’s internationally recognized government conducts humanitarian work as well as military operations, its spokesman said on Monday.

Turki Al-Maliki cited the launch of an air bridge from Riyadh to Aden to provide emergency relief for those affected by floods in Yemen.

The coalition has been carrying out humanitarian work since the start of its military operations in Yemen, he said.

The coalition helped a crew member of the Iranian ship Savis for medical reasons after Saudi Arabia received a request for help from Iran, Al-Maliki added.

He offered a video of the rescue of the crew member, who received medical treatment and was transported by helicopter to a military hospital in Jizan near the Saudi-Yemeni border.

The coalition is working to end the Houthi coup and restore Yemen’s legitimate government by trying to find common ground for all political parties to resolve the crisis, Al-Maliki said.

“The Iranian regime is working to undermine regional stability through the Houthi militias,” he said, adding that the coalition and the Yemeni Army continue to target Houthi capabilities.

The Houthis continue to threaten maritime traffic in the Bab Al-Mandeb strait and the Red Sea, and are still planting mines that threaten civilians, Al-Maliki said, adding that more than 72,000 mines have been removed from roads and farms. Maritime mines planted by the Houthis are similar to the Iranian Sada mines, he said.  

There were 226 ballistic missiles launched by the Houthis toward Saudi Arabia between March 26, 2015, and June 10, 2019, he added.

Saudi Energy Minister calls for collective effort to secure shipping lanes

Updated 29 sec ago

Saudi Energy Minister calls for collective effort to secure shipping lanes

  • Khalid Al-Falih: Saudi Arabia will do best to ensure the safety of shipping lanes
  • He expects OPEC members and other oil producers to meet soon to discuss an extension to oil supply cuts

TOKYO: Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Monday that countries need to cooperate on keeping shipping lanes open for oil and other energy supplies after last week’s tanker attacks in the Middle East to ensure stable supplies.

While he did not outline any concrete steps after the attacks that damaged two tankers on June 13, Falih said the Kingdom would do everything necessary to ensure safe passage of energy from Saudi Arabia and its allies in the region.

“We’ll protect our own infrastructure, our own territories and we are doing that despite the attempts to target some of our facilities,” Falih told reporters in Tokyo.

“But sea lanes of global trade need to be protected collectively by other powers as well. We believe that’s happening, but we need to make sure the rest of the world pays attention,” he said after a Japan-Saudi investment conference.

His comments came as Iran, which has been blamed by the US and Saudi Arabia for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, continued to escalate its rhetoric. Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, claimed Iran was responsible for security in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, and called on US forces to leave the region, as tensions rose following last week's attacks on oil tankers

The attacks have shaken the oil market and rattled consumer countries that rely heavily on importing oil from the Arabian Gulf, much of which has to be transported through the Straits of Hormuz - the narrow shipping lane, which Iran has repeatedly threatened to disrupt.

Falih expects the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers including Russia to meet the week after the G20 summit to be held in Osaka on June 28-29, to discuss an extension of a supply output cut agreement.

OPEC and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, have a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1. The pact ends this month and the group meets in coming weeks to decide their next move.

Falih said that OPEC was moving was toward a consensus on extending the agreement.

He said earlier this month that OPEC was close to agreeing to extend a pact on cutting oil supplies beyond June, although more talks were still needed with non-OPEC countries.

When asked if Russia is going to agree to continue the cuts, Falih said “absolutely.”

“We are maintaining the proper levels of supply that we have been having to bring inventory levels to where they belong. I hope that will continue in the second half with the assurances I have received from all the OPEC+ countries,” he said.

There was full commitment to put in place “a long term framework between the OPEC+ coalition to ensure that we work together” from next year, he said.

Oil demand growth has held up despite trade disputes roiling global markets, Falih said, adding he expects worldwide demand to be above 100 million barrels per day this year.

“We are not seeing a slowdown from either China, the US, India or other developed economies,” Falih said.

“The impact has been more on the sentiment side and fear, rather than actual impact,” he said.