Russia calls for diplomatic solution to Yemen conflict

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, right, welcomes Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalik Al-Mekhlafi in Moscow on Monday. (AP)
Updated 23 January 2018

Russia calls for diplomatic solution to Yemen conflict

MOSCOW: Russia on Monday called for an end to fighting in Yemen. Russia halted its diplomatic presence in Yemen last month.
“There is no alternative but to end armed conflict as soon as possible in Yemen,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow with his Yemeni counterpart Abdulmalik Al-Mekhlafi.
He said Moscow would engage with all sides to help the situation move to a political dialogue.
The Yemeni foreign minister said: “The legitimate government of Yemen, in common with the Arab coalition, supports a peaceful solution,” in comments translated into Russian. “War was not our choice, war was imposed on us,” he said.
Separately, Yemeni security officials said Houthi rebels fired Katyusha rockets on a military parade near the central city of Taiz, killing four civilians, including a local journalist, in an apparent assassination attempt on the interior minister and his deputy.
The officials spoke about Monday’s attack on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
On Sunday, the UN called for nearly $3 billion in humanitarian relief for the country.
The $2.96 billion will be used to respond to fight looming famine and cholera in the country.
Some 8.4 million Yemenis are also at risk of famine, according to OCHA.
In 2017, international donors provided $1.65 billion of the $2.34 billion requested by the UN and humanitarian partners in Yemen.


Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

Updated 48 min 44 sec ago

Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

  • EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities as demanded by the US is not a genuine cease-fire
  • He calls on Ankara to immediately stop military operations,

BRUSSELS/ANKARA: Macron critizes Turkey's aggression in Syria as "madness', bewails NATO inaction

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has bemoaned Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria as “madness” and decried NATO’s inability to react to the assault as a “serious mistake.”

“It weakens our credibility in finding partners on the ground who will be by our side and who think they will be protected in the long term. So that raises questions about how NATO functions.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities is not a genuine cease-fire and called on Ankara to immediately stop military operations in Syria.

Dareen Khalifa, a senior Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group, said the cease-fire had unclear goals. 

There was no mention of the scope of the area that would be under Turkish control and, despite US Vice President Mike Pence referring to a 20-mile zone, the length of the zone remains ambiguous, she said.

Selim Sazak, a doctoral researcher at Brown University, believed the agreement would be implemented and the YPG would withdraw.

“The agency of the YPG is fairly limited. If the deal collapses because of the YPG, it’s actually all the better for Ankara,” he told Arab News. “What Ankara originally wanted was to take all of the belt into its control and eliminate as many of the YPG forces as possible. Instead, the YPG is withdrawing with a portion of its forces and its territory intact. Had the deal collapsed because of the YPG, Ankara would have reason to push forward, this time with much more legitimacy.”