Yemeni minister: Houthi violations kill 5 Hodeidah port staff

A general view shows the port of the Yemeni city of Hodeidah on June 24, 2018. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 02 July 2018

Yemeni minister: Houthi violations kill 5 Hodeidah port staff

  • The deputy minister stated that Houthi control of Hodeidah and the port has “exacerbated the humanitarian crisis and increased the suffering of Yemeni people”
  • 11 Yemeni political parties called on the international community to support efforts to restore the province of Hodeidah in full and the departure of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia

DUBAI: A Yemeni government official claimed that Houthi crimes and violations against staff working at the Hodeidah port caused the death of five workers, the Saudi press agency reported on Sunday.

Deputy Minister of Transport, Nasser Sharif, said that the since Houthis took over of the port of Hodeidah three years ago, militias abused staff and committed violations against them, including replacing staff members with members from their militia who lack basics of navigational work.

In a statement broadcast by the Yemeni official news agency, he said that the aim of these violations was to take control of the port and smuggle arms into the country.  

Sharif added that the militias have taken the port’s revenues and used them for their military efforts.

The deputy minister stated that Houthi control of Hodeidah and the port has “exacerbated the humanitarian crisis and increased the suffering of Yemeni people.”

Meanwhile, 11 Yemeni political parties called on the international community to support efforts to restore the province of Hodeidah in full and the departure of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, including the protection of civilians in accordance with Security Council resolutions.

In a statement, the parties expressed their appreciation for the efforts of UN envoy Martin Griffiths and his commitments to restart peace talks.  

The parties stressed the need to adhere to the political solution and for the Houthis to withdraw from governmental institutions and surrender weapons to the internationally recognized government, as well as release prisoners, abductees.


Libya peace still elusive despite ‘small step’ in Berlin

Updated 1 min 6 sec ago

Libya peace still elusive despite ‘small step’ in Berlin

  • World leaders committed to ending all foreign meddling in Libya and to upholding a weapons embargo
  • GNA leader Fayez Al-Sarraj and Haftar attended the Berlin summit but they refused to meet

BERLIN: A peaceful solution to Libya’s protracted conflict remains uncertain despite an international agreement struck in Germany, analysts say, as a fragile cease-fire between warring factions brought only a temporary truce.
On Sunday in Berlin, world leaders committed to ending all foreign meddling in Libya and to uphold a weapons embargo as part of a broader plan to end the country’s conflict.
But overnight Sunday to Monday heavy bombardment again echoed south of Tripoli — the capital of a country that has been in turmoil since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Since April last year the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli has fought back against an offensive launched by fighters loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.
GNA leader Fayez Al-Sarraj and Haftar attended the Berlin summit but they refused to meet and the conference failed to get the two rivals to commit to a permanent truce.
The host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, tried hard to get Sarraj and Haftar to engage in a serious dialogue.
But after the hours-long talks, she had to put on a brave face and admit she had no illusions concerning a peaceful outcome in Libya anytime soon.
“Ensuring that a cease-fire is immediately respected is simply not easy to guarantee,” Merkel said.
Echoing Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who took part in the talks, she said the Libyan parties had taken “a small step forward.”
Khaled Al-Montassar, a Libyan university professor of international relations, agreed that much still needs to be done.
“Theoretically, the Berlin summit was successful and touched upon all the details and the causes of the Libyan crisis,” he said.
“But the mechanisms of implementing the summit’s conclusions are still not clear.”
The summit was attended by the presidents of Russia, Turkey, France and Egypt, as well as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and UN chief Antonio Guterres.
The main points they agreed to will be put forward as a UN Security Council resolution.
They include a commitment to end foreign interference in Libya, respect for a UN arms embargo, a permanent cease-fire and steps to dismantle numerous militias and armed groups.
European states must now convince Italy to resume naval operations suspended since March 2019 aimed at enforcing the embargo.
Other points agreed in Berlin were a return to a political process under the auspices of the UN, respect for human rights and guarantees to ensure the security of Libya’s lucrative oil infrastructure.
The United Nations walked away from the summit satisfied at least with one key development.
The summit saw the formation of a military commission comprising five GNA loyalists and five Haftar delegates who will seek to define ways of consolidating the cease-fire.
The UN mission in Libya had for weeks urged the rival camps to submit names of delegates to such a commission, and its wish was finally answered on Sunday.
The military commission is expected to meet in the coming days, according to the UN, tasked with turning the fragile cease-fire into a permanent truce as requested by the international leaders in Berlin.
The cease-fire was co-sponsored by Russia and Turkey and has broadly held since it went into effect on January 12.
The main goal of the Berlin summit was to end the international divisions concerning Libya.
Although the GNA is recognized by the UN as Libya’s legitimate government, the world body’s member states do not agree when it comes to the oil-rich North African country.
Haftar, who insists his military campaign is aimed at battling Islamists, has the support of several countries, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and France, with some providing him with military and logistical backing.
The GNA is backed by Qatar and Turkey, which has recently sent some troops to shore up Sarraj’s embattled government.
Moscow is also suspected of backing Haftar but denies funding Russian mercenaries on the ground.
As a follow-up to the Berlin summit, the two rival administrations must now choose representatives to attend talks in order to revive the moribund political process, UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame said.
Algeria, which attended the conference and shares a border with Libya, on Monday offered to hold inter-Libyan talks on its soil. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will travel to Algiers on Tuesday, his ministry said Monday, to discuss the situation in Libya, among other topics.
Future Libya talks are certain to face huge challenges, particularly after pro-Haftar forces blocked oil exports from Libya’s main ports last week.
Meanwhile, Libyans on social media remained skeptical, the deep divisions reflected in comments such as “who won, Haftar or Sarraj?“
Tripoli resident Abdul Rahman Milud said a “another summit isn’t necessary.”
Establishing “a consensus among Libyans themselves” is much more important, he told AFP.