Yemen govt suspends participation in peace talks

This April 21, 2016 photo shows members of Yemeni rebel and government delegations taking part in a meeting as part of the UN-brokered peace talks in Kuwait. (AFP)
Updated 17 May 2016

Yemen govt suspends participation in peace talks

KUWAIT CITY: Yemen’s government suspended its participation in talks with Iran-backed rebels Tuesday for the second time this month, the foreign minister said, in a new setback to the UN-backed peace process.
Abdulmalek Al-Mikhlafi said on Twitter that the Houthi Shiite militia which controls the capital had “torpedoed the talks completely,” by backtracking on their commitments after a month of negotiations.
“I have asked the UN envoy not to allow the rebels to waste any more time... and to make them comply with the reference issues before we resume the talks,” said Mikhlafi, who heads the government delegation.
A statement by the government delegation said it would continue to boycott the talks until the rebels comply with the agreed references.
It also urged the international community to apply pressure on the rebels to implement international resolutions to end the war and held them responsible for obstructing the peace negotiations.
The statement blamed the Houthis of destroying the country’s economy, refusing to respect the cease-fire and to implement UN Security Council resolutions.
In particular the government wants the Houthis to comply with a UN Security Council resolution ordering them to pull out of territory they occupied in a 2014 offensive and surrender heavy arms they captured.
Sources close to the government and rebel delegations confirmed to AFP that a session scheduled to take place on Tuesday morning was canceled after the government delegation withdrew.
The pullout comes two days after UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said he was optimistic about achieving a peaceful settlement in the war-torn country.
The two delegations were on the verge of finalizing a deal to release half of the detainees and prisoners before the start Ramadan .

Erdogan’s ‘hypocrisy’ over Israel’s land grab in Palestine

Updated 18 min 49 sec ago

Erdogan’s ‘hypocrisy’ over Israel’s land grab in Palestine

  • Turkey is in controversial talks with Israel over mutually beneficial maritime borders in the Mediterranean

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan risked accusations of hypocrisy on Monday as he repeated his denunciations of Israel’s occupation and annexations in Palestine while allowing the Israeli airline El Al to resume cargo flights between Tel Aviv and Istanbul.

The first such flight in 10 years landed in Istanbul on Sunday morning to pick up humanitarian aid and protective equipment for US medical teams fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

As the plane touched down, Erdogan was sending a message to US Muslims restating his support for Palestinian rights in Jerusalem and his rejection of Israeli oppression.

“Last week we witnessed that a new occupation and annexation project, which disrespects Palestine’s sovereignty and international law, was implemented by Israel,” he said.

“I would like to reiterate that Al-Quds Al-Sharif, the holy site of three religions and our first qiblah, is a red line for all Muslims worldwide.”

Israel’s new unity government led by Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz is expected to move forward soon with plans to annex swaths of the West Bank and Jordan Valley.

Meanwhile, as Arab News reported this month, Turkey is in controversial talks with Israel over mutually beneficial maritime borders in the Mediterranean. Erdogan is attempting a risky political balancing act, analysts told Arab News.

“I think Turkey is trying to create economic ties with Israel because the political benefits of blockade and isolation have weakened,” said Ryan Bohl, a Middle East analyst at the geopolitical risk company Stratfor.

“But at the same time, they do want to keep some of that tradition of sympathy for Palestine alive for those remaining supporters who still prize the issue.”