Riyadh refutes Tehran claim on mediation request with Houthis

Houthis raise their weapons in the air during a demonstration. (Reuters)
Updated 16 September 2017
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Riyadh refutes Tehran claim on mediation request with Houthis

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has refuted Iranian statements that the Kingdom has requested Iranian mediation with Al-Houthis in Yemen, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.
The director of media affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Osama Ahmed Nugali, refuted the statement of Hossein Amir Abdollahian, senior adviser to the Iranian Parliament speaker, carried by Iranian News Agency (IRNA), that Saudi Arabia requested Iranian mediation with Houthis in Yemen.
He further confirmed that these claims are baseless and unfounded.
On the other hand, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the UAE Anwar Qarqash said Houthi statements threatening the UAE and its capital is substantial evidence of the necessity for the Decisive Storm operation and that Iran’s militias (Houthi) have despicable objectives and their danger is real.
On his Twitter account, he said the decisive king launched the “storm” due to his knowledge of the danger of changing the strategic balance, and Houthi threats have proved that. Arab coalition forces are fighting the necessary battle for the future of the region, he said.
“Houthi threats and their follies do not frighten us and expose the desperation of those who are defending faded illusions, but they reveal their ill-intentions on the security and stability of the Gulf,” he said.
Qarqash’s remarks come following recent threats made by Houthi leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi where he threatened to attack neighboring countries and oil tanks off the Yemeni coasts with missiles in case the legitimate government and Arab coalition forces advance to the Yemeni port of Al-Hodeida.
Meanwhile, Reuters quoted a local official as saying that three persons suspected of belonging to Al-Qaeda terror group were killed in an attack launched by drones in southern parts of Yemen late Thursday. The attack targeted the Modiya region, in Abyan province, and the suspected members were killed while riding a motorcycles. The US has repeatedly attacked Al-Qaeda elements with helicopters and drones in a campaign to eliminate the terror group’s ability to launch attacks.
In a related development, an officer of the demobilized Republican Guard loyal to deposed President Saleh said Houthi militia were training women to use weapons and in other war skills. Female trainers from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, who were brought in by the Houthi militia in 2014, are carrying out the training.
A report carried by Al-Asima.online affirmed the existence of Iranian female trainers and exploitation of women prisoners and girls by the Houthi militia in this regard.
The website quoted an officer, who asked for anonymity, as saying that nearly 500 Yemeni girls were conscripted in Sanaa and are in the hands of Iranian and Iraqi female trainers. Zumar province, in southern Sanaa, is reported to have the largest training camp for women.
Girls and school students are taken for training either forcibly, threating their fathers with killing, or bribing their families with money, exploiting their difficult living conditions, he said.
He said Houthi conscription training courses do not come directly but start with so-called “cultural courses” which are purely religious courses before enrollment in the real conscription courses.


Clean sweep: Marine waste targeted in Red Sea tourism program

The program for eliminating marine debris will play an important material and moral role with the support of the residents of areas surrounding the seafront. (SPA)
Updated 19 min 24 sec ago

Clean sweep: Marine waste targeted in Red Sea tourism program

  • Debris major cause of death for marine life
  • Disintegration of plastic waste threaten human food resources

JEDDAH: A beach cleanup program targeting marine waste has been launched by the Red Sea Development Co. (TRSDC), the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The firm, which is behind the development of a luxury seafront tourism destination in Saudi Arabia, is already developing a range of environment-friendly policies such as zero-waste-to-landfill, zero-discharge-to-the-sea, zero-single-use plastics, and achieving 100 percent carbon neutrality. On Saturday it launched the Marine Debris Beach Clean Up Program as part of the Red Sea Project. “Eliminating marine debris is receiving increasing attention from the media that it has become a global cause, urging us to participate in protecting our virgin environment for which our seafront is known,” said TRSDC CEO John Pagano.
“The program for eliminating marine debris will play an important material and moral role with the support of the residents of areas surrounding the seafront. It will also shed light on the importance of reducing the use of nonrecyclable plastics, in addition to encouraging the disposing of these substances in a safe and sustainable manner.”
The TRSDC will continue to explore ways for recycled materials to be a source of employment opportunities for the area’s residents, he added. 
TRSDC is an official partner of the United Nations’ initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the cleanup program will initially support two SDGs: Life Below Water and Life on Land. It will expand to support other SDGs, including Responsible Consumption and Production, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and the Growth of the Economy, Ending Poverty, and Quality Education.

HIGHLIGHTS

• TRSDC is an official partner of the United Nations’ initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the cleanup program will initially support two SDGs: Life Below Water and Life on Land.

• It will expand to support other SDGs, including Responsible Consumption and Production, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and the Growth of the Economy, Ending Poverty, and Quality Education.

• Institutions or individuals wishing to take part in the beach cleanup program can find more details here: www.act4sdgs.org/partner/TheRedSeaProject

Dr. Rusty Brainard, chief environment officer at TRSDC, said: “Marine debris causes significant damage to the environment and is a major cause of death for many marine organism species, which may ingest these substances. Moreover, the disintegration of plastic waste into small pieces that penetrate into the food web base may also threaten human food resources. Our program for eliminating marine litter is a long-term project that includes ongoing monitoring of environmental health, as well as periodic intervention to clean up any waste in the Red Sea Project.”
TRSDC has teamed up with leading academic institutions in the Kingdom, such as King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the University of Tabuk, on a number of educational initiatives, added Brainard.
The partnership between TRSDC and KAUST has led to an international competition — “Brains for Brine” — that encourages academics, scientists, engineers and the water industry to find solutions for managing the disposal of brine, which is a waste product of water desalination, in a sustainable and commercially viable way.
KAUST has also helped TRSDC with marine spatial planning for the Red Sea Project.
As part of the planning process, major environmental studies were carried out to ensure that the area’s sensitive ecology was protected both during and after completion of the development.
The final master plan, which preserves around 75 percent of the destination’s islands for conservation and designates nine islands as sites of significant ecological value, required several redesigns to avoid potential disruption to endangered species native to the area.
Institutions or individuals wishing to take part in the beach clean-up program can find more details here: www.act4sdgs.org/partner/TheRedSeaProject