Saleh ‘subject to trial’ over Yemen coup: Arab coalition

Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri. (SPA)
Updated 11 February 2017

Saleh ‘subject to trial’ over Yemen coup: Arab coalition

RIYADH: Ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will be subject to trial over the “criminal” coup in the country, an Arab coalition spokesman has said.
Saleh is a Yemeni citizen and thus “subject to imposition of international penalties for carrying out criminal acts in Yemen,” said Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri, who is also an adviser to the Saudi minister of defense.
Al-Assiri was speaking in an interview with Russia’s Sputnik and RIA Novosti news agencies. He said the legitimate government in Yemen is in charge of its citizens, and as such, “Saleh will be subject to trial based on Yemeni law.”
Al-Assiri said Saleh “belongs to a group of criminals that carried out a coup d’état” in the state, and must cooperate with the legitimate government if he wishes to avoid harsher penalties.
He said the Arab coalition considers “all groups that supported the coup as one body that led Yemen to the destruction and hardship it is currently facing.”
Asked whether Riyadh was targeted by ballistic missiles from Sanaa, as had been claimed by some, Al-Assiri said he “would not comment on such lies, as all incidents taking place in the Kingdom or areas or operations are announced and addressed via official statements by the coalition.”
He added: “No official statement was released about this activity by Houthi militias, which means it is a lie, and we have no time for verbal controversies and debates on media channels.
“We believe in truth, and we say to all those claiming that the Kingdom, or some of its territories, have been the target of such activity to issue a statement or a report. We promised transparency with Saudi Arabia, (the) Arab and international community, and should any such kind of activity occur, we would announce it, as we have nothing to hide.
“To date, Houthi militias targeted the Kingdom with 38 ballistic missiles; all these attacks were addressed and noted in official statements by the leadership of the coalition.
Most of these missiles launches failed and fell inside Yemeni territory, threatening the lives of civilians.”
The spokesman added: “Everyone understands that (Houthi and Saleh militia) groups are losing. Very soon, security, stability and the legitimate government will be restored. Currently, the government controls 85 percent of the country… There is no place in Yemen for rebellious groups.
“The Arab coalition supports the legitimate government, including in their policies. The government spent three months on peaceful talks in Kuwait. All possible options and concessions were discussed. But the opposite party decided to carry out their own policy, and the talks failed. Houthis and the government led by Saleh fuel the conflict, by establishing a parallel government.
“They abducted and killed a lot of people. In fact, those supporting them make up only one percent of the Yemeni population. They want to impose their will on 26 million Yemenis.”


German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

Updated 24 November 2020

German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

  • Germany insists it acted correctly in boarding a Turkish ship to enforce arms embargo of Libya
  • Turkey summoned European diplomats to complain at the operation

BERLIN: Germany’s defense minister on Tuesday rejected Turkey’s complaints over the search of a Turkish freighter in the Mediterranean Sea by a German frigate participating in a European mission, insisting that German sailors acted correctly.
Sunday’s incident prompted Turkey to summon diplomats representing the European Union, Germany and Italy and assert that the Libya-bound freighter Rosaline-A was subjected to an “illegal” search by personnel from the German frigate Hamburg. The German ship is part of the European Union’s Irini naval mission, which is enforcing an arms embargo against Libya.
German officials say that the order to board the ship came from Irini’s headquarters in Rome and that Turkey protested while the team was on board. The search was then ended.
Turkey says the search was “unauthorized and conducted by force.”
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer backed the German crew’s actions.
“It is important to me to make really clear that the Bundeswehr soldiers behaved completely correctly,” she said during an appearance in Berlin. “They did what is asked of them in the framework of the European Irini mandate.”
“That there is this debate with the Turkish side points to one of the fundamental problems of this European mission,” Kramp-Karrenbauer added, without elaborating. “But it is very important to me to say clearly here that there are no grounds for these accusations that are now being made against the soldiers.”
This was the second incident between Turkey and naval forces from a NATO ally enforcing an arms blockade against Libya.
In June, NATO launched an investigation over an incident between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean, after France said one of its frigates was “lit up” three times by Turkish naval targeting radar when it tried to approach a Turkish civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking.
Turkey supports a UN-backed government in Tripoli against rival forces based in the country’s east. It has complained that the EU naval operation focuses its efforts too much on the Tripoli administration and turns a blind eye to weapons sent to the eastern-based forces.
In Ankara, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Irini was “flawed from the onset.”
“It is not based on firm international legal foundations,” Akar said. He renewed Turkey’s criticism of the German ship’s actions.
“The incident was against international laws and practices. It was wrong,” he said.
Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed that “Turkey is still an important partner for us in NATO.” Turkey being outside the military alliance would make the situation even more difficult, she argued, and Turkish soldiers are “absolutely reliable partners” in NATO missions.
But she conceded that Turkey poses “a big challenge” because of how its domestic politics have developed and because it has its “own agenda, which is difficult to reconcile with European questions in particular.”