Arab Parliament classifies Houthis as a terrorist group, calls on UN and Arab League to do the same

The Arab Parliament’s spokesperson said Houthis threaten Yemeni MPs who attend Parliament sessions. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 June 2019

Arab Parliament classifies Houthis as a terrorist group, calls on UN and Arab League to do the same

  • The Parliament voted on the draft resolution before submitting it to the UN and Arab League
  • The spokesperson called the Houthi attacks a war crime

CAIRO: The Arab Parliament announced on Wednesday that it has designated the Iranian-backed Houthi militia as a terrorist group for its role in deliberately targeting civilians and civilian installations, calling on the League of Arab States and the UN to take similar action.
The resolution was issued during an Arab Parliament meeting in Cairo in the wake of the “terrorist attack on civilian installations in Saudi Arabia and commercial vessels in the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates and the Sea of Oman,” reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA). 
The Arab Parliament called on the UN and the Security Council to adopt a firm and immediate position to classify the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization; for its flagrant violation of international law and its deliberate targeting of civilian and vital installations in Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles and aircraft.
It also called on the world body to also pursue its leaders, financiers and supporters, whether they are states or groups.
Meshaal bin Fahm Al-Sulami, spokesperson of the Arab Parliament, said the Parliament will not condone any group targeting civilian areas, such as the Houthi attacks on neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia.
“These attacks are a war crime,” he said.
He also mentioned that the Houthis are threatening Yemeni MPs for attending parliament sessions. The parliament condemned in the strongest terms the Houthi attack targeting two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom’s Abha International Airport in the southwest.
It also condemned the sabotage of four commercial vessels of a number of countries near the UAE’s territorial waters and two vessels for transporting oil in the Sea of Oman, affirming its full solidarity with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in maintaining their security and stability and the measures they take to protect their security and the safety of their citizens.
The Arab Parliament denounced Iran’s negative interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries, directly or indirectly, as well as threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is an international strait for international navigation and can not be attacked or harmed, or to mobilize its terrorist organizations within Arab countries to destabilize security and stability.
The parliament also denounced the continued launching of Iranian-made ballistic missiles by the Houthi militia on Saudi Arabia, which has seen more than 225 rockets launched toward the Kingfom and have even targeted toward the holy city of Makkah.
The Arab Parliament gave its full support for the resolutions issued by the Arab emergency summit held in Makkah in May, calling on the Arab League to raise the issue of Iranian threats and its interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries to the UN Security Council to halt these interventions.
The Parliament called on the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and the Inter-Parliamentary Union to shoulder their responsibilities toward Iran’s violation of Yemen’s sovereign rights and the smuggling of weapons and ballistic missiles to the Houthi militia with the aim of destabilizing the region and maintaining chaos. It also urged the UN to compel Iran to comply with Security Council Resolution 2216, which prohibits the supply of arms to the Houthis.
The Arab Parliament also condemned the continuing Iranian interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs, including the formation and support of militias, supporting extremist groups and terrorist organizations, training terrorists, supplying weapons and fueling sectarianism to destabilize security and stability in the kingdom.
It also condemned Iran’s continued occupation of three occupied islands of the United Arab Emirates: Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa, and stressed its full support for the UAE in all its actions to restore its three islands.
The Arab Parliament appreciated the leading and pivotal role played by Saudi Arabia and the great efforts of King Salman to host the two Arab and Gulf emergency summits in Makkah on May 29.


British MPs urge UK government to recognize Palestine

Updated 21 January 2020

British MPs urge UK government to recognize Palestine

  • Palestinian envoy welcomes cross-party call ahead of visit by Prince Charles

LONDON: A group of British MPs has called for the UK to recognize the state of Palestine ahead of a visit by Prince Charles to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

In a letter to The Times, the MPs, along with figures from think tanks and pressure groups, said the move was long overdue and would help fulfill Britain’s “promise of equal rights for peoples in two states.” 

The call comes as the heir to the British throne travels on Thursday to Israel and the occupied West Bank. 

During the visit, he will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem. 

Prince Charles will also attend the World Holocaust Forum to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. 

The letter said since 2014, no meaningful progress has been made in the peace process, and Israel’s actions are pushing a two-state solution beyond reach.

“Illegal Israeli settlements, described by the Foreign Office as undermining peace efforts, are expanding,” the letter said.

Among the signatories are Emily Thornberry, a candidate for the Labour Party leadership, and Crispin Blunt, chairman of the Conservative Middle East Council.

Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian envoy to the UK, welcomed the move but said full recognition from the British government should have happened many years ago.

“Recognition doesn’t contradict peacemaking and negotiations,” Zomlot told Arab News, referring to the main argument used by the UK against taking such a step. 

“It reinforces the vision (of a Palestinian state) and a negotiated two-state solution. It should happen now because of the threat of annexation (of Palestinian territory) and the killing of the two-state solution.”

FASTFACT

Prince Charles will also attend the World Holocaust Forum to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. 

Alistair Carmichael, a Liberal Democrat MP who signed the letter, told Arab News that the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government toward Palestine “makes the achievement of a two-state solution more and more remote with every week that passes.”

He said: “The UK has historic and political obligations toward Israelis and Palestinians. There’s now no longer any good reason not to recognize the state of Palestine.”

A spokesman for Labour MP Fabian Hamilton, who also signed the letter, told Arab News: “The fact that this has cross-party support shows the growing desire across Parliament for the recognition of a Palestinian state and a two-state solution.”

Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, said the international community needs to finally stand up for the solution that it has had on the table for decades.

Doyle, an Arab News columnist, said the letter is an “indication that many people in British politics think we should be doing this, we should be standing up for the Palestinian right to self-determination, the legal rights, at a time when the state of Israel is doing everything to stop this, to take more land from the Palestinians.”

The letter was timed to coincide with a meeting of European foreign ministers on Monday, who discussed the Middle East peace process.

The Palestinian Authority, which runs parts of the West Bank, has been increasing calls for European countries to recognize the state of Palestine as the US has shifted to a more pro-Israel stance, including recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017.

Writing in The Guardian on Monday, Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said Europe could strengthen its role in the peace process if it recognized Palestine.

“European recognition of this state is not only a European responsibility but a concrete way to move towards a just and lasting peace,” he said.

Only nine out of the 28 EU countries have so far recognized Palestine as a state, compared to 138 out of the 193 UN member states.

In 2011, the UK’s then-Foreign Minister William Hague said the British government “reserves the right” to recognize Palestine “at a time of our own choosing, and when it can best serve the cause of peace.”

In 2012, the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status to that of “nonmember observer state.”