UN calls for next phase of Hodeidah agreement amid stalemate

UN envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths speaks at the UN Security Council on May 15, 2019, in New York. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 June 2019
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UN calls for next phase of Hodeidah agreement amid stalemate

  • The UN security council urged parties to implement Hodeidah agreement
  • They called for adherence to the ceasefire and the finalization of the prisoner exchange

 

DUBAI: Members of the United Nations Security Council issued a statement on Monday calling all parties to take the next necessary steps to implement the Hodeidah agreement.
Members called for “full adherence to the ceasefire” in Hodeidah governorate, “as well as the finalization of arrangements for the Prisoner Exchange Agreement and the statement of understanding on Taiz.”
A fragile ceasefire has been in place around the strategic port city of Hodeidah since the historic Stockholm Agreement was signed last December by the warring sides. The signing was seen as a crucial move towards a peace deal between the Iran-backed Houthi militia and the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Earlier on Monday, Rosemary DiCarlo, the UN Political and Peacebuilding Affairs chief, discussed with Hadi in Riyadh the efforts of Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths’ for the war-torn country as well as ways to advance the Stockholm accord and return to peace talks.
DiCarlo described the discussions as “productive” and thanked Hadi for his government’s commitment to the full implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.
After the meeting, Hadi said that he has received assurances from UN Secretary-General António Guterres that Griffiths would abide by implementing the Hodeidah deal in accordance with international resolutions and Yemeni law.
Since the signing of the agreement last year, the Houthi militia failed to honor the deal and refused to fully redeploy from Hodeidah to allow humanitarian aid to be redistributed to the 24 million in need.
The next briefing to the Security Council on Yemen is expected to take place on June 17.


US sanctions target Iranians’ access to food, medicine: foreign minister

Updated 15 min 7 sec ago

US sanctions target Iranians’ access to food, medicine: foreign minister

  • The United States on Friday imposed a new round of sanctions on Iran
  • Unconfirmed reports on social media said a number of Iranian websites were under a cyberattack

DUBAI: Iran’s foreign minister on Saturday denounced renewed US sanctions against its central bank as an attempt to deny ordinary Iranians access to food and medicine, and said the move was a sign of US desperation.
The United States on Friday imposed a new round of sanctions on Iran, some aimed at its central bank and sovereign wealth fund, following attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia that Riyadh and US officials have blamed on Iran.
Iran denies involvement in the attacks, which initially halved oil output from Saudi Arabia. Responsibility was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, an Iranian-aligned group fighting a Saudi-led alliance in Yemen’s civil war.
“This is a sign of US desperation ... When they repeatedly sanction the same institution, this means their attempt at bringing the Iranian nation to its knees under ‘maximum pressure’ has failed,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in remarks shown on state television.
“But this is dangerous and unacceptable as an attempt at blocking ... the Iranian people’s access to food and medicine,” Zarif said, speaking after arriving in New York for the annual UN General Assembly next week.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports on social media said a number of Iranian websites — including those of some petrochemical firms — were under a cyberattack. There was no immediate official comment, and the websites of the main state oil company NIOC appeared to be functioning normally. Residents said their Internet access was not affected.
The fresh sanctions target the Central Bank of Iran, which was already under other US sanctions, the National Development Fund of Iran — the country’s sovereign wealth fund — and an Iranian company that US officials say is used to conceal financial transfers for Iranian military purchases.
Zarif said he would meet on Wednesday with foreign ministers of the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear accord, which was agreed with Britain, France, Germany China and Russia as well as the United States.
“As we have said before, the United States can only attend if it returns to the (nuclear accord) ... and ends its economic war against Iran,” Zarif said.
The United States withdrew from the accord last year and re-imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran.
“I hope the US government realizes that they are no longer the only economic superpower in the world and that there are many countries that want to benefit from the Iranian market,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to state media.