WFP, Houthis agree deal that could lift partial aid suspension

Yemenis receive sacks of food aid packages from the World Food Programme (WFP) in the Yemeni port city of Hodeida on June 25, 2019. The escalation of attacks by Iran-aligned Huthi rebels on Saudi cities threatens a hard-won UN-sponsored ceasefire deal for the Red Sea port city of Hodeida, war-ravaged Yemen's main conduit for humanitarian aid. (AFP)
Updated 05 August 2019

WFP, Houthis agree deal that could lift partial aid suspension

  • The WFP discovered in December 2018 that donated food in Houthi areas was being systematically diverted through a local partner connected to the group

DUBAI: The World Food Program (WFP) and Yemen’s Houthi militant group, which controls the capital Sanaa, have said they had reached a deal that could lift the UN agency’s partial suspension of aid which has affected around 850,000 people.
The UN agency halted some aid in Sanaa on June 20 out of concern that food was being diverted from vulnerable people, but said it would maintain nutrition programs for malnourished children, pregnant and nursing mothers.
The militant group has used access to aid and food as a political tool, exacerbating what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Of Yemen’s 30 million people, three-quarters need humanitarian assistance.
Cash transfers to those in need so they can buy goods is a common method of aid distribution.
The agreement represented an important step toward safeguards that guarantee “the accountability” of the agency’s operations, said WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel.
“We are hopeful that technical details can be agreed in the coming days,” Verhoosel said in emailed comments to Reuters, without giving further details of what was agreed. The aid ban resulted from a dispute over control of biometric data between the WFP and the Houthi militants.

SPEEDREAD

Cash transfers to those in need so they can buy goods is a common method of aid distribution.’

The WFP discovered in December 2018 that donated food in Houthi areas was being systematically diverted through a local partner connected to the group. The Houthis have said the WFP insisted on controlling the data in violation of Yemeni law.
The biometric system — using iris scanning, fingerprints or facial recognition — is already used in areas controlled by the government that holds the southern port city of Aden and some western coastal towns.
Arab coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 against the Houthis, who control most large urban centers. The group says its revolution is against corruption.


Erdogan says Haftar cannot be expected to respect Libya truce

Updated 2 min 38 sec ago

Erdogan says Haftar cannot be expected to respect Libya truce

  • Turkey backs Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Tripoli
  • It has repeatedly described strong Khalifa Haftar and his forces as illegitimate

ANKARA: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar could not be expected to respect a cease-fire called between his forces and pro-government troops in Libya.
Commenting on reported violations of the truce, Erdogan said: “It is not possible to expect mercy and understanding from someone like this (Haftar) on the cease-fire.”
Turkey backs Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Tripoli and has repeatedly described Haftar and his forces as illegitimate.