Top UN team in Yemen to push reconciliation

Updated 28 January 2013
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Top UN team in Yemen to push reconciliation

SANAA: A UN Security Council delegation yesterday began a brief visit to Yemen in a clear boost to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi aimed at helping to iron out problems hampering national reconciliation talks.
Thousands, meanwhile, took to the streets on the occasion of the visit, demanding an end to the immunity given to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was eased out of office in February 2102 after three decades of rule following a UN-backed and Gulf-brokered deal.
The Security Council delegation, which includes the head and members of the top body, held talks with Hadi, state television said, adding that the team later went on to meet members of the government.
It termed the visit as “international support for Yemen to push political reconciliation as per the Gulf initiative” which ended Saleh’s rule and nearly a year of bloodshed.
The trip comes as Sanaa struggles to organize a national dialogue conference that would result in a new constitution and presidential and parliamentary elections in February 2014, thereby ending the current two-year transition period.
The conference, originally set for mid-November, has been repeatedly delayed as some factions of the Southern Movement, which has campaigned for autonomy or secession for the formerly independent south, have refused to join the talks.
After North and South Yemen unified, in 1994, a short-lived secession bid was crushed by Sanaa troops and since then the citizens of the south have complained of discrimination.
The United Nations special envoy Jamal Benomar said the team’s visit “reflects the UN Security Council’s interest in pushing the reconciliation and removing obstacles that are hindering the implementation of the points of the Gulf initiative.”
He told state television that the “process is difficult,” and urged all Yemeni parties to “realize that there is a historic opportunity and join the national dialogue without preconditions to solve all Yemeni issues, including the question of the south.”
On Sunday, demonstrators poured into the streets of Sanaa amid tight security calling to bring Saleh to justice and to “return the funds stolen by the former president and his family,” an AFP correspondent reported.
The Youth of the Revolution, a group that was the main engine of the year-long protests, also called for an international probe into violations and crimes committed by Saleh’s regime.
It urged the UN Security Council to “freeze the funds owned by the leaders of the former regime and return them to public treasury.”
“The people want to put the killer on trial,” chanted the protesters, referring to Saleh who is also accused of hampering the political transition.
The transition deal also stipulates restructuring the army and integrating military and security forces under a single command, a task that remains difficult with Saleh’s sons and relatives still occupying senior security posts.
The United Nations made an urgent call in December for Yemeni political parties to begin the dialogue, warning that the transition was under threat.


Assad regime ‘using Daesh to justify atrocities’

Updated 20 April 2018
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Assad regime ‘using Daesh to justify atrocities’

  • Syrian government claims Daesh fighters killed at least 25 regime troops in a surprise attack near the eastern Syrian town of Mayadeen
  • Opposition leader says the regime forces’ fight against Daesh as a sham and said the terror group was a gun for hire

JEDDAH: Bashar Assad’s forces are using the threat of Daesh to justify brutal acts against civilians, Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi said.

His remarks on Thursday came as Daesh fighters killed at least 25 regime troops in a surprise attack near the eastern Syrian town of Mayadeen, surrendered by the terror group six months ago.

At least 13 insurgents were killed in the raid, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Daesh was continuing its advance on the town from the Badia desert, observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The attack was the largest since the terror group was expelled from the town in October 2017, he added.

However, the opposition spokesman described the regime forces’ fight against Daesh as a sham and said the terror group was a gun for hire.

“As for those so-called 25 regime soldiers, the regime is abducting people, training them on how to pull the trigger and sending them to die.

“They are being used to send a message that the regime is still fighting terrorism,” Al-Aridi told Arab News.

He claimed that Mayadeen “still holds people who could be classified as Daesh, and the regime exploits that any time it wants.”

Regime airstrikes and artillery fire also pounded Daesh-occupied areas in the south of Damascus on Thursday. Warplanes targeted “the dens of terrorists from Al-Nusra Front and Daesh in Hajjar Al-Aswad,” a southern district of the capital, pro-Assad media said.

Iraq’s air force also carried out “deadly” airstrikes on Daesh positions inside Syria, Prime Minister Haider Abadi’s office said.

Meanwhile, the US warned that the Assad regime could still carry out limited chemical attacks despite last week’s coalition strikes. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of the US military’s Joint Staff, said the regime retained a “residual” chemical capability at sites across the country.

Separately, the regime took control of Dumayr, a town northeast of Damascus, after rebels evacuated to north Syria.