UN casts doubt on Houthi claims of Hodeidah withdrawal

The government accused the Houthis of backtracking on the UN agreement, claiming that the militias were misleading officials about their withdrawal. (File/AFP)
Updated 30 December 2018
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UN casts doubt on Houthi claims of Hodeidah withdrawal

  • The United Nations casted doubt on the claims by the Houthis to have withdrawn from the port of Hodeidah
  • A spokesman said the Houthis failed to honor an agreement to open a “humanitarian” corridor between Hodeidah and Sanaa

SANAA: The United Nations has cast doubt on the claims by the Houthis to have withdrawn from the port of Hodeidah, saying such steps can only be credible if all other parties can verify them.

A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday that the Houthis failed to honor an agreement to open a “humanitarian” corridor between Hodeidah and the capital, Sanaa, to deliver humanitarian assistance.

The Houthis said Saturday they handed over control of the port to the coast guard as part of confidence-building measures agreed this month in peace talks in Sweden.

A UN official, who requested anonymity, also said that the Houthis began to pull back from the Red Sea port at midnight (2100 GMT Friday). However, the government denied this, saying it was a ploy by the Iran-aligned militia to maintain control of the port.

The government accused the Houthis of backtracking on the UN agreement, claiming that the militias were misleading officials about their withdrawal by pulling out their forces and handing it over to their affiliates.

A member of the Yemeni government delegation to the Sweden UN-brokered peace talks Askar Zayel, told Yemen’s state news agency the Houthis actions have a negative impact on the peace deal regarding the port.

“This manoeuvre reduces the chances for peace and reveals the intentions of the militia and their tireless efforts in thwarting the UN-sponsored agreement sponsored,” Askar Zayel, told Saba Net.

“The government will inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the five permanent members that this action is unacceptable and inadmissible, for it violates the Sweden agreement,” Zayel said.

He pointed out that the agreement stated the port must be handed over “to local units of Yemen’s coast guards who were in charge of protecting the ports before the conflict, as stated by Yemeni law.” 

(With AP)


Iran activists vow to confront Rouhani over ‘medieval’ regime

Updated 48 min 49 sec ago

Iran activists vow to confront Rouhani over ‘medieval’ regime

  • ‘We will continue protesting until Iranian regime is held responsible for its ongoing atrocities against people of Iran’

WASHINGTON: Protesters have vowed to confront Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over the country’s “medieval regime” when he addresses the UN on Wednesday.

People started gathering last week near the UN’s headquarters in New York and their numbers will continue to grow, according to the political director for the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC), which coordinates anti-Tehran activism in the US.

The OIAC’s Dr. Majid Sadeghpour said the international community should not be “fooled” by Iran's representatives. 

“No amount of economic and political concessions can moderate the behavior of this medieval regime,” he said. 

“The mullahs understand only the language of power and firmness. Maximum pressure must be applied to help the Iranian people free themselves from the yoke of the mullahs. We began protesting last week in anticipation of the opening of the UN General Assembly’s 74th Session and the appearance of Iran's officials, and we will continue protesting until the Iranian regime is held responsible for its ongoing atrocities against the people of Iran.”

Protestors were holding daily vigils to remind the world about Iran's history of terror and brutality against its people, he added, and Trump and the UN must “reject the false pretenses of moderation” from Rouhani and his representatives.

Sadeghpour said Rouhani and other Iranian officials should be held accountable for the killing of more than 120,000 Iranian civilians, including the 30,000 murdered during a gruesome nationwide purge in 1988.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has previously addressed protests against the Iranian government, is expected to join former Sen. Joseph Lieberman in speaking to protesters at next week’s rallies.

Trump had previously accused Iran of terrorism and violence, but appeared to soften his stance when he said he would meet Rouhani if he came to the opening session of the UN’s 74th General Assembly.

But a week ago, after a coordinated drone and cruise missile attack targeted Saudi Aramco oil fields in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, Trump said the US military was “locked and loaded,” suggesting the US was ready to go to war with Iran. 

Trump said he would move to block Rouhani and his team from attending the UN meeting, but he later relented.

On Friday he revealed details of additional sanctions against Iran, which he described as the toughest ever imposed.

The Treasury Department decided to take action against Iran’s central bank after US officials concluded Tehran was responsible for the drone and missile attacks on Saudi oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.