British minister emphasizes Saudi Arabia’s important role in Yemen peace process

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt gives a speech at the Konrad-Adenauer foundation in Berlin on February 20, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 21 February 2019

British minister emphasizes Saudi Arabia’s important role in Yemen peace process

  • Hunt said that the British-Saudi partnership helped parties to the Yemen conflict form the Stockholm Agreement under the auspices of the UN
  • British Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt pointed out that Riyadh was the “biggest donor of humanitarian efforts in Yemen”

LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt highlighted Wednesday the “strategic partnership” between Britain and Saudi Arabia and said it would help British efforts to end the war in Yemen.
Hunt noted that the British-Saudi partnership helped parties to the Yemen conflict form the Stockholm Agreement under the auspices of the UN, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
“The strategic relationship that the UK has with Saudi Arabia is what allows us to have a huge influence in bringing about peace in Yemen,” he said.
Hunt’s comments, made during a visit to Berlin on Wednesday, follow a decision by Germany to freeze arms exports to Saudi Arabia. That move was slammed by several other European countries, including France, with President Emmanuel Macron labeling it “pure demagoguery.”
“Britain and Germany have the same objectives, but we need to be able to continue that strategic relationship (with Saudi Arabia) in order to make sure that there is a European voice at the (Yemeni) negotiation table that does everything it can to press for peace,” the British foreign secretary said.
He added that he would raise the issue with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin, following reports that the British minister had written to his German counterpart to complain about the arms embargo.
Britain’s foreign ministry confirmed that Hunt sent a letter to Maas, but did not elaborate on its content.
Citing the letter, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that London had urged Berlin to exempt major European defense projects from the weapons embargo.
Meanwhile, the British Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt underlined Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in Yemen, pointing out that Riyadh was the “biggest donor of humanitarian efforts in Yemen.”
Burt, who recently visited a number of Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, stressed Britain’s keenness to achieve progress in the Yemeni talks considering the country’s humanitarian situation. He added that he discussed the upcoming donor conference in Geneva during his visit.


Kais Saied wins Tunisia presidency by ‘significant margin’

Updated 14 October 2019

Kais Saied wins Tunisia presidency by ‘significant margin’

  • Saied garnered 2.7 million votes against one million received by his rival business tycoon Nabil Karoui in Sunday's runoff, the commission said

TUNIS: Tunisia's election commission said a preliminary count shows conservative law professor Kais Saied has won the country's presidential election by a significant margin.
The commission reported Monday that Saied, who hasn't held elected office before, received 72.71% of the vote. His opponent, media mogul Nabil Karoui, got 27.29%.
The results confirm exit polls from Sunday's election.
Nabil Bafoun, head of the electoral commission, said "by looking at the result ... and knowing that it represents an absolute majority for this second round of the presidential elections, we, the Tunisian electoral commission, declare Mister Kais Saied winner of the presidential elections."
The commission said that Saied got a majority of the votes in each of the 33 electoral districts. He exceeded 90% in six traditionally very conservative southern districts.
The 61-year-old Saied is an independent outsider but has support from moderate party Ennahdha, which won Tunisia's parliamentary election last week.
He has promised to overhaul the country's governing structure to give more power to young people and local governments.
Karoui, 56, told supporters Sunday the race wasn't over because his legal team would explore options. He was arrested Aug. 23 in a corruption investigation and released with only two days left to campaign.
French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Saied for his election in a phone call Monday and wished him "success for Tunisia."
Macron stressed the Tunisian people's "democratic mobilization" over the past several weeks. He told Saied that he intends to pursue and enhance the partnership between the two countries.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi congratulated the Tunisian people and the elected president in a written statement.
If no legal action is taken to challenge the results, the electoral body is set to announce the definitive vote count on Thursday. Tunisia's parliament will then hold an extraordinary session during which the newly elected president will be sworn in and will formally start his five-year term.
The presidential vote was held early following the July death in office of President Beji Caid Essebsi.