Kidnap: Yemen extremely fragile for aid workers, says Red Cross

Updated 02 December 2015

Kidnap: Yemen extremely fragile for aid workers, says Red Cross

GENEVA: A Red Cross employee’s kidnapping in Yemen underscored the “extremely fragile” situation in the country for humanitarian workers, with the coming days crucial for securing the hostage’s release, ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord said Wednesday.
The International Committee for the Red Cross said two people were taken by unidentified assailants on Tuesday in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, but that one was released unharmed. A Tunisian female staffer was being held hostage.
“The situation in Yemen is extremely fragile for an organization like the ICRC and the national Red Crescent,” Daccord told AFP in Geneva.
“When something like this happens, the kidnap of colleagues, this is always a shock. “We have to regroup immediately, try to understand what happened. This is exactly where we are right now.”
Daccord said that in this type of situation, “you most likely have two to three days” to try to connect with the possible perpetrators. If “it takes more than four to five days” before solid information emerges “then you are in a totally different dynamic, and we are also aware of that,” Daccord said.
Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda terrorists forced pro-government forces out of a strategic town in southern Yemen on Wednesday after clashes that left at least 15 people dead, officials said.
The terrorists briefly took control of Jaar in southern Abyan province, which a military source described as a key link between main southern city Aden and Mukalla, the Al-Qaeda-held capital of southeastern Hadramawt province.
A government official in the town told AFP that the militants withdrew hours later after "carrying out an operation" to kill Ali Al-Sayed, a commander of the pro-government "Popular Resistance" forces who have been fighting Iran-backed rebels. Sayed and 10 of his forces were killed in the clashes, the official said.
Eight civilians including two children were wounded in Saudi Arabia from Yemeni cross-border shelling, the Civil Defence said on Wednesday.
The attack hit two cars and a house on Tuesday evening in Jazan border district, it said.


US honors head of France’s Arab World Institute

Updated 28 January 2020

US honors head of France’s Arab World Institute

  • Dr Jack Lang was recognized for promoting the Arab region and cross-cultural understanding
  • First recipient of the Global Cultural Leadership Award from the National Council on US-Arab Relations

WASHINGTON: Dr. Jack Lang, president of the Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute) in Paris, on Monday received the inaugural Global Cultural Leadership Award from the National Council on US-Arab Relations.

The honor was recognition for his achievements in expanding knowledge of the Arab region and promoting cross-cultural understanding. It was presented to him at the French ambassador’s residence in Washington by the council’s Founding President and CEO Dr. John Duke Anthony, board Chairman John Pratt, International Advisory Board member Leo A. Daly III, and Executive Vice President Patrick Mancino.

Lang and a delegation from the institute were in Washington for the opening of the IMA exhibition “Age Old Cities: A Virtual Journey from Palmyra to Mosul” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art.

“What Monsieur Lang and the IMA have achieved in highlighting the rich history and culture of the Arab region is considerable,” said Anthony during the award presentation ceremony. “They have done much to showcase Arab contributions to knowledge and understanding that have benefited the world’s civilizations and humankind in general.

“Under Monsieur Lang’s leadership, the IMA has effectively pushed into new territories in storytelling and technology that help further illuminate the innumerable, extraordinary and myriad impacts that Arabs have had on humanity’s endless quest for modernization and development.”

Lang was appointed IMA president by French President Francois Hollande in 2013. He was previously a National Assembly member for more than two decades, including stints as France’s minister of culture and minister of education. He was also mayor of the city of Blois from 1989 to 2000, and served as a special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

The IMA, which is located on the banks of the Seine in Paris, opened in 1987 as a center dedicated to the promotion of Arab civilization, knowledge and art. It contains unique collections and hosts special touring exhibitions. These include “AlUla: Wonder of Arabia,” showcasing Saudi Arabia’s Nabataean archaeological treasure, the dates for which were recently extended after it proved to be incredibly popular.

The National Council on US-Arab Relations was founded in 1983 as a nonprofit, nongovernmental, educational organization. It is dedicated to raising awareness and appreciation of the extraordinary benefits the United States has derived from its special relationships with countries in the Arab region, and vice versa. Anthony and the council are working on plans for an Arab Cultural Institute, similar to the IMA, in Washington.