Arab coalition in Yemen sets up civilian safe corridors from Hodeidah to Sanaa

Arab Coalition Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki speaks at a press conference in Riyadh. (File photo / Reuters)
Updated 22 October 2018

Arab coalition in Yemen sets up civilian safe corridors from Hodeidah to Sanaa

  • Progress in Hodeidah has been slow because the Coalition wants to avoid harming civilians, says spokesman
  • Iranian naval vessel disguised as a registered commercial ship found spying on ships passing through the Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb

JEDDAH: The Arab coalition fighting in support of the legitimate Yemeni government has established three safe corridors for civilians to travel between the cities of Sanaa and Hodeidah.

Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said on Monday that the corridors between the former capital that was seized by the Houthi militia in 2014 and the country’s biggest port on the Red Sea have been set up in cooperation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“The coalition is working with OCHA in Yemen to establish safe humanitarian corridors to help in the delivery of aid... between Hodeidah and Sanaa,” Al-Maliki told a press conference in Riyadh.

Al-Maliki said progress in Hodeidah has been slow because the Coalition wants to avoid harming civilians there. He said Yemen's Houthi militia continues to use civilians as human shields in the city of Hodeidah, and have taken oil tankers heading for Sanaa.

He also accused the Iranian regime of continuing "to violate international law and destabilize the security of the region and the world.”

Al-Maliki reported that the coalition had discovered what was thought to be an Iranian-registered commercial ship but was actually a military ship named Safiz. The Iranian vessel is monitoring ships passing through the Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb by using listening devices.
He said the coalition will continue to watch “suspicious” ships that threaten international navigation.

Al-Maliki said the corridor being opened in Hodeidah is part of an effort to ensure the safety of civilians. Corridors will be on different routes between the cities for the transportation of humanitarian aid between 6 am and 6 p.m. daily, Al-Maliki said without specifying a date.

An OCHA statement confirmed the organization was in "ongoing discussions with the coalition and other stakeholders on safe, reliable access routes into and out of Hodeidah". 

Hodeidah port is a vital lifeline for aid shipments to Yemen, the most impoverished country in the Arab world.

The UN has warned that any major fighting could halt the distribution of food to eight million Yemenis dependent on aid to survive.

The coalition spokesman also revealed what happened during the visit of UN special envoy, Martin Griffiths, to the Kingdom with Mohammed Al-Jabir, the Saudi ambassador to Yemen. Al-Jabir briefed Griffiths on the Saudi and coalition states’ effort to support humanitarian operations in Yemen, and the Saudi development and reconstruction program for the country. 

The ambassador reaffirmed the support of Griffiths’ efforts to reach a political solution in Yemen.
The Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Lise Grande also recently visited Saudi Arabia, where she said she was particularly grateful to donors for the generous donations that they have made.
She was also thankful that health care is provided to millions of Yemenis. Furthermore, Grande mentioned how the World Food Program is distributing food to eight million Yemenis.
Several relief ports are open for Yemen (air, sea, land) and the total maritime permits issued by Hodeidah port from the Joint Forces Command from Sept. 17 to 24 is 31,242. The air permits during the same period were 5,928 passengers and 103 flights. As for land permits during this period, there were 12.

Meanwhile, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) in the city of Marib on Monday celebrated the rehabilitation of 26 children recruited by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia and were used as human shields in the armed conflict.

The children completed the fifth and sixth phase of the rehabilitation process, which aimed at rehabilitating 80 child soldiers from several Yemeni governorates, with the help of a KSRelief team, representatives from the local authority and a number of parents.

The child soldiers presented ceremonial segments that reflected their psychologically and social rehabilitation efforts.

The center was working to rehabilitate 241 children from different Yemeni governorates as part of its plan to rehabilitate 2,000 Yemeni child soldiers.


Organizers promise ‘exceptional’ Saudi National Day celebrations

Updated 55 min 18 sec ago

Organizers promise ‘exceptional’ Saudi National Day celebrations

  • We are keen to have the largest international events to create an exceptional season, says GEA CEO Amr Banaja

RIYADH: Fireworks, concerts, festivals and international performances will be among the highlights of the 89th Saudi National Day celebrations this year.

The General Entertainment Authority (GEA) has announced a season of record-breaking events for the annual celebration.

At a press conference in Riyadh on Sunday, GEA CEO Amr Banaja said that Saudi citizens and residents can enjoy a number of entertainment activities planned across 13 regions of the Kingdom as part of the National Day season being supervised by the GEA from Sept. 19 to 23.

“The GEA is proud to oversee the Saudi National Day Season activities by launching a unified identity that brings together the society under “Himma Hatta El-Qimmah,” Banaja said, inspired by the words of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: “The Saudis’ strength is like that of the Tuwaiq mountain.”

The GEA was proud to be overseeing the occasion, Banaja said. “We are keen to have the largest international events to create an exceptional season befitting this dear country,” he said.

“This year fireworks celebrations will continue for several days where more than 700,000 shots will be fired at an altitude of up to 300 meters, accompanied by music,” he said.

Celebrations will be held in all regions during the season, and visitors will be able to enjoy a range of activities that reflected the unity of the nation and the cohesion of the people and leadership.

“Distinctive international shows designed especially for the National Day will be held in Riyadh from Sept. 21-23,” he said.

Fireworks will light up Jeddah over Al-Hamra Corniche accompanied by sound and light effects and laser shows.

At the five-day Dhahran Exhibition in Dammam starting on Sept. 19, the world’s largest theatrical producer “Cirque du Soleil” will present a specially designed show for Saudi National Day.

Forty artists will present 14 shows of acrobatics, sports, music, and dance. Eight concerts will also be held in a number of regions where, besides international stars, Saudi and Gulf artists will present patriotic songs.

The concerts will begin on the first day of the season on Sept. 19 at Al-Jouf University Stadium in Sakaka with performances by Khaled Abdulrahman and Nabil Shuail.

The next day, a concert will be held at King Khalid Sport City in Tabuk staged by artists Abdullah Al-Rowaished and Aseel Abu Bakr.

On Sept. 21, Majid Al-Mohandes and Dalia Mubarak will perform at Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Musaed Stadium in Hail.

On Sept. 22, two concerts will be performed at King Abdullah Sports City in Buraidah by artists Rashid Al-Majid and Balqees Fathi; the second at Prince Sultan Cultural Center in Jazan by “The Artist of Arabs” Mohammed Abdo and Turki.

On Saudi National Day (Sept. 23), three concerts will be held in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.

Thousands will gather at King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh to listen to singers Hussein Al-Jasmi and Abadi Al-Jawhar.

In Jeddah, Rabeh Saqr and the artist Waad will perform at King Abdullah Sports City, while in Dammam, and in the Green Halls in Riyadh, Kuwaiti singer Nawal and the artist Ayed will entertain the audience.

Five forums will take place in five cities, where a number of speakers will present inspirational events.

Forums will be held in Madinah and Tabuk on Sept. 19, while in Abha and Buraidah the forum will be held on Sept. 21 and in Hail on Sept. 23.

Banaja said that the GEA had created 150 smartphone apps for the National Day celebrations with 40,000 downloaded so far.

He thanked the security authorities for their efforts to make the season a success, and all government, private and nonprofit sectors for their contribution.

The programs were mostly free, he said, though there were some concerts for which tickets could be purchased online.

There will also be a major aero show in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province, and a Saudi falcon show will be organized in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar.