UN council backs new chief of Yemen mission

A Yemeni child lies on a hospital bed as people from Hodeida receive medical care at a hospital in Khokha, near Yemen's flashpoint port city of Hodeida, on January 21, 2019. (AFP / Saleh Al-OBEIDI)
Updated 31 January 2019

UN council backs new chief of Yemen mission

  • UN chief Antonio Guterres had told the council he planned to appoint Lollesgaard
  • Lollesgaard will replace Dutch general Patrick Cammaert

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Wednesday endorsed the appointment of former Danish general Michael Lollesgaard to head the UN observer mission in war-wracked Yemen, diplomats said.
Lollesgaard will replace Patrick Cammaert, the Dutch general who had been tapped a little over a month ago to lead the mission deployed in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had told the council in a letter sent Monday that he planned to appoint Lollesgaard and gave the council 48 hours to raise objections.
No objections were raised before the Wednesday deadline, diplomats said.
Earlier this month, the council approved the deployment for six months of up to 75 monitors to Yemen to shore up a fragile cease-fire and oversee a pullback of forces from Hodeida.
The port of Hodeida is the entry point for the bulk of Yemen’s supplies of imported goods and humanitarian aid, providing a lifeline to millions on the brink of starvation.
UN envoy Martin Griffiths is due to brief the council behind closed doors on Thursday on his efforts to push the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and Houthi rebels to abide by a cease-fire deal reached in Sweden last month.
Griffiths told Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday that the deadline for a prisoner swap and a pullback of forces from Hodeida had slipped.
Lollesgaard commanded the UN peacekeeping force in Mali (MINUSMA) from 2015 to 2016, and then became Denmark’s military representative to NATO and the European Union in 2017.

 


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

Updated 56 min 1 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.”