Saleh, Houthi be excluded, Yemen govt demands

United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed speaks during a press conference, in this May 15, 2016 photo at the information ministry in Kuwait City. (AFP)
Updated 24 May 2016

Saleh, Houthi be excluded, Yemen govt demands

KUWAIT CITY: Yemeni government delegates to peace talks in Kuwait have demanded that deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh be excluded from any political settlement, and that militias be disbanded before any agreement is reached.
The UN-backed unity government delegates said Saleh and Houthi Leader Abdel-Malek Al-Houthi need to be excluded prior to any political agreements.
The delegation has also urged militias to release Defense Minister Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Al-Subaihi and other political prisoners.
Al-Subaihi was leading a counter-offensive against the Houthis in Lahij governorate in March last year when he was captured by militia forces along with Faisal Rajab, commander of the pro-Hadi 119th Armored Brigade.
They also called for the immediate release of journalists imprisoned in Houthi militia prisons, who have reportedly been on hunger strike while in custody.
Peace talks in Kuwait ended with no resolutions as yet after the government representatives returned to the negotiating table, with close sources reporting that no topics of major disagreements and controversial topics being discussed during the last meeting.

Illegal immigration, refugees top Arab-EU Summit agenda

Updated 34 min 37 sec ago

Illegal immigration, refugees top Arab-EU Summit agenda

  • Heads of state, officials from EU and Arab League member countries to attend summit today
  • Some 19.5 million people globally have been forced to flee their countries

CAIRO: Egypt on Sunday will host heads of state, government officials and representatives from EU and Arab League member countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Bahrain’s King Hamad.

Refugees and illegal immigration will top the agenda amid the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

Some 19.5 million people globally have been forced to flee their countries. According to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), Syrians constitute the largest refugee population in Europe, followed by Eritreans then Afghans. 

According to unofficial statistics, Syrians are also the largest refugee population in the Arab world, followed by Yemenis, Libyans and Sudanese.

Hossam El-Khouli, secretary-general of the Egyptian Nation’s Future Party, said: “The EU … should call for the repatriation of refugees if conditions are appropriate.”

He said: “As for the right of asylum … a number of countries have granted asylum to criminals who have committed violent crimes against their own people and homelands.”

Summit participants intend to debate the necessity of combating this kind of migration, especially given its impact on the security and economy of many countries. 

Margaret Azer, an Egyptian lawmaker, said a country’s economic conditions are one of the main drivers of illegal immigration. 

“The decline of political conditions in several countries is (also) contributing to the rise in numbers of people seeking illegal immigration,” she told Arab News. 

“For example, we see that the biggest percentage of immigrants in Europe are from countries like Syria and Libya. The reason could also be religious or sectarian persecution, as is the case in Myanmar.”

Frontex President Fabrice Leggeri said although the number of migrants arriving in Europe dropped to 150,114 in 2018 compared to 204,750 in 2017, the agency continues to support border controls by providing more workers and technology.