Arab coalition in Yemen sets ceasefire in Aden as Saudi Arabia calls for talks

Members of the southern Yemeni separatist forces patrol a road during clashes with government forces in Aden Saturday. (Reuters)
Updated 11 August 2019

Arab coalition in Yemen sets ceasefire in Aden as Saudi Arabia calls for talks

  • Saudi foreign ministry calls for an emergency meeting in Jeddah
  • Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman calls for restraint and reason

JEDDAH: The Arab coalition supporting the government in Yemen called Saturday for a ceasefire in Aden where government troops and southern separatists have clashed for days.

The two forces are meant to be working as allies to defeat the Iran-backed Houthi militia, which control the capital Sanaa. 

Shortly after the coalition statement, the Saudi foreign ministry called for an emergency meeting in the Kingdom.

"The Coalition’s Joint Command is requesting an immediate ceasefire in Yemen’s temporary Capital, Aden," the coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said. “The coalition will use military force against anyone who violates the decision.”

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia "will always be the greatest supporter of the brotherly Yemeni people, and will do everything in its power to return peace and stability to Yemen."

 

"We call on all Yemeni parties in Aden to respond to the Kingdom's immediate call for dialogue in Jeddah, put an end to the violence, unite ranks, and avoid dragging Yemen into further chaos," he said on Twitter.

"We reaffirm the Kingdom's support to the legitimate Yemeni government, and the interim capital, against any action that may disrupt the security and stability of Yemen, and create opportunities for terrorists to exploit," he said.

Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi deputy defense minister, urged the feuding pro-government forces to exercise "restraint and the primacy of wisdom and the interests of the Yemeni state." 

 

"We reject any use of weapons in Aden and disturbance of security and stability," he said on Twitter, adding that Saudi Arabia has "called for political dialogue with the legitimate Yemeni government in the city of Jeddah".

He reaffirmed Saudi Arabia's commitment "to support and maintain legitimacy in Yemen and to provide all means of support to the brotherly Yemeni people."

"The unfortunate developments in Aden caused disruption of humanitarian and relief work, which is not acceptable to the Kingdom," he said.

 

The alliance said the ceasefire would come into force at 1am on Monday and urged all sides to "retreat from the locations they have seized during the past few days without damaging public and private properties.”

The coalition, he said, "will not hesitate to face anyone that violates the announcement and continues to fight, undermine security and stability or targets government institutions in Aden.”

Al-Maliki said all parties should put the national interests of Yemen as a priority and make sure the Houthis or terrorist groups operating in the country do not divide them.

The Saudi foreign ministry said it had followed the followed "with great concern" the developments in Aden. 

"As a result, an invitation was sent out to the Yemeni government and the parties to the conflict in Aden to hold an urgent meeting in the Kingdom in order to discuss and resolve differences by resorting to dialogue," the ministry said.

The fighting erupted Wednesday when forces loyal to the Southern Transitional Council attempted to break into the presidential palace in Aden, AFP reported.

Reports Saturday said the STC and its paramilitary force had seized the presidential palace from the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

 


Young Libyans chose danger at sea over peril at home

Updated 3 min 52 sec ago

Young Libyans chose danger at sea over peril at home

For three young Libyans plucked from a deflating dingy in the Mediterranean, the perils of trying to cross the sea were still preferable to what they had left behind in their war-torn home.
Salah, Khalil and Ibrahim, aged between 19 and 22, sat in a corner of the Ocean Viking vessel operated by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors without Borders as it waited for permission to dock at a port.
They sat apart from other migrants from Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, Senegal and the Ivory Coast who have fled torture and abuse in Libya where most of them had gone to seek work.
“I had no idea how dangerous the sea could be,” says Khalil, 20.
“But Libya is collapsing — you cannot live there,” he adds, pulling an imaginary trigger.


Before he fled Libya, Khalil was a taxi driver.
While driving the route from Sabha, his hometown in the center to the eastern city of Benghazi, he was stopped by militia loyal to Khalifa Haftar, a strongman who holds sway in the region.
He said he was thrown into prison where he languished for three months alongside hundreds of others and was beaten daily, pointing to a scar in the corner of his mouth.
He later made a break for freedom with about 15 fellow prisoners, running the gauntlet of their jailers who fired on them as they fled.
“People were shot around me but I didn’t stop,’ he said. “I was hit too.”
Luca, the ship’s doctor who removed the bullets embedded in Khalil’s body, says such wounds are nothing new among those fleeing from conflict areas.
With his taxi taken from him, Khalil returned to his family. “I just wanted to live a normal life,” he said.
But a month later fighting broke out in his town and his mother told him to flee.
“She had no idea of how dangerous the crossing could be,” Khalil says. “Neither did I. I was happy to try the sea.”
But by the time he was rescued by Doctors without Borders on August 12, the blue rubber dingy he was sharing with 104 others was on the verge of sinking.


Nineteen-year-old Salah joined the forces of the Government of National Accord of Fayez-al-Sarraj. But he soon realized that he was not cut out for war.
“If I had stayed, I would have been killed — either by Sarraj’s men for fleeing, or by Haftar’s men for fighting for Sarraj,” he said.
He got a number from a Sudanese, and left the same day — with just time for one last selfie with his family.
Ibrahim’s reason for fleeing was the color of his skin.
“My father was black — he is dead. My uncle died in the fighting. My school was bombed. My mother said to me ‘Libya is not a country for you’.”
“My Sudanese friends were like a family to me. One from Darfur was killed right in front of me as we were on our way to play football,” he said.
“I didn’t want to fight. I was terrified on that blue boat, but Libya is more dangerous than our sunken vessel.”