Blow to peace effort — Houthis ink deal with Saleh to run Yemen

Muhammad Ali al-Houthi, who heads the Houthi-run Supreme Revolutionary Committee (C), attends a demonstration by Houthi supporters in Sanaa, Yemen, on Thursday. (REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)
Updated 28 July 2016
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Blow to peace effort — Houthis ink deal with Saleh to run Yemen

ADEN: Yemen’s Houthi rebels and ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s group on Thursday formed a 10-member “supreme council” to run Yemen, in what the government condemned as a blow to already stalled UN-brokered peace talks.
UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the move “contravenes” the rebels’ commitment to the peace process and “represents a grave violation” of the UN Security Council Resolution 2216.
The Shiite Houthi rebels and the General People’s Congress of Saleh have agreed to “form a supreme political council of 10 members,” according to a statement carried by a rebel-run news agency.
It did not name the council’s members.
The job of the council will be to “manage state affairs politically, militarily, economically, administratively, socially and in security.”
The statement said the aim is to unify efforts to confront the UN-recognized government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
A Saudi-led alliance intervened in Yemen’s conflict in March 2015 to try to restore President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power after the Houthis seized Sanaa and advanced on his temporary headquarters in Aden, forcing him to seek help from Saudi Arabia.

‘Clear violation’
Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who has been brokering 100 days of talks aimed at a peaceful settlement, said the move endangered the negotiations being held in Kuwait.
“This is a clear violation of the Yemeni constitution” as well as Resolution 2216, he said in a statement released in Kuwait.
The resolution calls on the Houthis to withdraw from territories they occupied in 2014, to hand over their arms and return state institutions to the legitimate government.
Ould Cheikh Ahmed, however, did not say if the rebels’ move would result in the suspension of the peace talks.
Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abdulmalek Al-Mikhlafi said it amounted to a “new coup” and accused the rebels of “missing an opportunity for peace.”
The rebels have “missed an opportunity for peace which the Yemeni people needed... and insisted on foiling the negotiations,” Mikhlafi said on his Twitter account.
“We call on the international community to condemn the new coup against the constitutional legitimacy and hold the Houthi-Saleh alliance responsible for foiling the talks,” he said.

Frustrated power grab
The rebels overran Sanaa in September 2014 and expanded their control to other parts of Yemen.
In February last year, they had set up a “Supreme Revolutionary Council” to run the country after they announced the dissolution of the government and parliament.
UN-sponsored talks between the rebels and representatives of Hadi’s government, which began on April 21, have failed to make headway.
The negotiations were launched after the United Nations secured an agreement on a cease-fire in the war-torn country.
The main stumbling block at the talks in Kuwait was the form of the government in Sanaa.
The Hadi government say that he is the legitimate head of state and should preside over a transitional period in the country.
But the rebels insist on forming a national unity government to oversee the transition.
More than 6,400 people have been killed in Yemen since the coalition intervened to restore Hadi’s government.
Another 2.8 million people have been displaced and more than 80 percent of the population urgently needs humanitarian aid, according to UN figures.


Turkey bans rally for Kurdish MP on hunger strike

A member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) reacts next to policemen during a demonstration in solidarity with a HDP lawmaker on hunger strike in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir, on February 15, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 16 February 2019
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Turkey bans rally for Kurdish MP on hunger strike

  • Ocalan, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Turkish police on Friday prevented supporters from rallying outside the home of a pro-Kurdish lawmaker on hunger strike for 100 days.
The protest bid coincides with the 20th anniversary of the capture of Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is jailed in a notorious prison island near Istanbul.
Leyla Guven of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), launched her action on Nov. 8 while in jail to protest against Ocalan’s prison conditions.
She was freed last month under judicial supervision but continued her protest, refusing any treatment. Guven, 55, is consuming only sugared or salted water.
Police on Friday blocked supporters from approaching Guven’s house in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir after a rally called by the HDP, an AFP correspondent said.
“The biggest task ahead of us today is to turn every aspect of life into an arena for struggle and support hunger strikes at the highest level,” HDP MP Dilan Dirayet Tasdemir said.
“This dark picture and severe conditions of fascism can only be broken through our organized struggle,” Tasdemir said.
More than 200 prisoners are on hunger strike to protest what they call Ocalan’s isolation, according to the HDP.
Ocalan, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, has not been allowed to see his lawyers since 2011.
The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
Ocalan was caught in Kenya outside the Greek Embassy in Nairobi on Feb. 15, 1999 by Turkish secret service agents after attempting to seek asylum in Europe.
Turkish authorities last month allowed Ocalan’s brother Mehmet to see him, the first visit in over two years.