Yemeni minister praises Saudi relief partnership

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Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), holds talks with Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights, Mohammed Askar, in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), holds talks with Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights, Mohammed Askar, in Riyadh. (SPA)
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Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), holds talks with Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights, Mohammed Askar, in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 30 August 2018

Yemeni minister praises Saudi relief partnership

JEDDAH: Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), held talks with Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights, Mohammed Askar, on Thursday on relief and humanitarian work provided by KSRelief in Yemen, with 274 projects now in place across the country.
During the meeting In Riyadh, the humanitarian and human rights situation in Yemen were also discussed, including violations committed by the Houthi militias against civilians, such as the bombing of water wells and residential neighborhoods, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians.
The recruitment of children for use as human shields was also condemned.
Al-Rabeeah said KSRelief is keen to cooperate with Yemen’s Ministry of Human Rights to ease the suffering of the Yemeni people and implement programs to support the most affected groups in the country.
“Our work is focused on programs to protect women and children, and rehabilitate children recruited by the Houthi militias.”
Al-Rabeeah said the humanitarian role of KSRelief proves that the Arab coalition is not only a military but also a humanitarian partnership that has been providing food, medicine and clothing to all Yemeni regions for more than three years.
Askar praised the relationship between KSRelief and the ministry, and said their joint programs will have a positive impact on the lives of Yemeni people.
In an earlier interview with Arab News, Askar said: “Iran has succeeded in turning the Houthis into a military tool that threatens international peace and security, especially in the navigational corridors of Yemen such as Bab Al-Mandab and adjoining waters.
“Iran has poured funds and arms in a fervent bid to expand their hegemony in the region. The Iranian intransigence has kept the war raging, which has shattered the lives of Yemenis,” he said.
On Thursday, Al-Rabeeah also met with Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki to discuss humanitarian affairs.
Al-Malki expressed his admiration for the center’s achievements and humanitarian and relief services, particularly its educational, health and housing projects being implemented in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtun and Balochistan in Pakistan.
KSRelief recently distributed 25 tons of food baskets in the villages of Al-Ja’ada, Al-Fayed, Deir and Bani Fadil of Midi and Hiran directorates in Hajjah governorate, helping 1,980 people.
BACKGROUND
Since its establishment, KSRelief has launched projects worth $70 million in Yemen. The projects aim to help the country amid devastation caused by the Houthi militia.
Earlier, Mohammed Al-Jabir, Saudi ambassador to Yemen, said that the Kingdom’s assistance to Yemen totaled about $10.96 billion.
A report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs last month showed Saudi Arabia topped donor states to the 2018 UN Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan by donating $530.4 million out of a total of $1.54 billion.
About 2 million Yemenis working in the Kingdom send more than $10 million in remittances to their families in Yemen.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Major General Ahmed Al-Shahri, met on Thursday with his Yemeni counterpart, General Taher Al-Aqeeli, in Marib to discuss military developments and the advances of the Yemeni National Army, with the support of the Arab coalition, against the Houthis.
Major General Al-Aqeeli assured that the Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, would continue to support the Yemeni people and its armed forces in battling the militia.
During the meeting, they discussed the mechanisms of cooperation and means of enhancing them.
The two commanders then visited the fighting fronts of the seventh military zone in Nham, east of Sanaa.
Maj. Gen. Al-Shahri conveyed the blessings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Commander of the Joint Forces, on the great victories achieved by the Yemeni National Army in Saada, Hajja, Al-Bayda and on various fronts.


New Saudi rules on hookah leave businesses, consumers confused

Arab News visited different restaurants in the town and found a few serving hookahs. (AP/File)
Updated 31 sec ago

New Saudi rules on hookah leave businesses, consumers confused

  • Manal Jafar: Everywhere in our city is polluted with smoke, you can hardly find a restaurant where you can safely take your kids

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Rural and Municipal Affairs has imposed new regulations on restaurants and cafes serving hookah. Although many were disappointed following the announcement to allow hookah inside cities, businesses were shocked to know about the fees imposed on them. Nonsmokers have also raised their concerns after they realized that bills will rise by 100 percent if they visit a restaurant that serves hookah.
Arab News visited different restaurants in the town and found a few serving hookahs. Some said that they will still serve it, but will not charge customers any extra fees.
Meanwhile, a trending hashtag in Saudi Arabia addressed the issue of fees on tobacco, with some customers sharing their bills online.
Michel Abou Assaly, director of operations at Shababik Restaurant in Jeddah, said that when they first found out about the new law they were surprised: “We were obliged to stop serving hookah and we had to send all our employees at the shisha department on a short leave until things became clearer.” He added they did not want their customers to pay double the price for the same product. He anticipates a 40 percent drop in sales.
“Thousands of restaurants and cafes will close down and at least 100,000 families will be affected,” Assaly said. He added that investors should ask the ministry to reconsider this law.
Halima Muthaffar, a writer, said that although she hates the smell of tobacco, she still sees this as an unfair decision. She added that it is not the right time, especially as Saudi Arabia is opening up for tourists.
Columnist Gassan Badkook said that the authorities will reconsider the way these fees are being calculated. He said that three groups will be negatively affected: Nonsmokers, who will have to pay fees for a product they do not use, investors who might close their businesses and employees who might lose their jobs.
Manal Jafar said she agrees with the fees: “A restaurant should serve food only. Everywhere in our city is polluted with smoke, you can hardly find a restaurant where you can safely take your kids.”
Mohammad bin Hamad said he rarely goes to a restaurant with his family, but they never ask for hookah. “Why should I pay 100 percent fees on top of my bill? We should wait for a few months, many restaurants will stop offering hookah because they will lose so many customers.”