Saudi Arabia, UAE form joint panel to enforce Yemen cease-fire

Saudi Arabia, UAE form joint panel to enforce Yemen cease-fire
Fighters with the so-called Security Belt Forces loyal to the pro-independence Southern Transitional Council (STC) gather near the south-central coastal city of Zinjibar in south-central Yemen, in the Abyan governorate, on August 21, 2019. (AFP / Nabil Hasan)
Updated 26 August 2019

Saudi Arabia, UAE form joint panel to enforce Yemen cease-fire

Saudi Arabia, UAE form joint panel to enforce Yemen cease-fire
  • The panel will ensure all the ceasefire procedures are followed
  • Saudi Arabia and UAE will continue their support for the Arab coalition

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE have formed a joint panel to support the cease-fire between Yemen’s government and southern separatist forces in Shabwah and Abyan, Saudi state news agency SPA reported on Monday.

The panel will ensure the implementation of the cease-fire, Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said.

The two states issued a joint statement by the foreign ministries, urging the sides to honor the cease-fire and return the civilian headquarters in Aden of the legitimate government.

The governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE confirmed they will continue their support, politically, militarily and through relief support to the Arab coalition in Yemen, the statement added.

The strong relationship between Saudi Arabia and the UAE is the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the region, prominent Saudi officials tweeted on Monday.

The kingdom is leading efforts to combat the instability caused by Iran and extremists in the region, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said.

The Arab coalition, under the leadership of Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s support, will not spare any efforts to spread peace and prosperity in Aden, Shabweh and Abyan, Al-Jubeir added.

Meanwhile, Saudi deputy Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman said dialogue is the only way to resolve the present disagreements in Yemen.

There is a great difference between those who are working for the national interest of Yemen and those who are fighting these people to please the Iranian regime and contribute to their “terrorist plan” in the region, he added.

Later on Monday, the separatist forces of the so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC) said they will continue their cooperation with the Arab coalition countries and will support Shabwani Elite forces against terrorists.

The STC declared last month they were breaking away from the UN-recognized legitimate government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, based in the southern city of Aden.

Their forces seized governmental structures and military camps in Aden, Shabwa and Abyan. Last week, they partially withdrew from strategic areas in Aden under pressure from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

STC still retain control of military sites in the province. 

Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘could fly home on March 7’

Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘could fly home on March 7’
Updated 2 min 19 sec ago

Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘could fly home on March 7’

Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘could fly home on March 7’
  • British-Iranian political prisoner detained for 5 years by Tehran ‘has calendar counting down release’

LONDON: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, one of the world’s most high-profile political prisoners, could be freed in seven weeks’ time when her Iran prison sentence ends, her family has said.

The 42-year-old mother’s five-year detention on charges that she denies ends officially on March 7.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national, “has begun counting down the weeks” before she is able to fly home to her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their 6-year-old daughter Gabriella in London.

The charity worker was arrested in 2016 at Tehran airport as she boarded a flight home with her daughter following a regular visit to her parents in Iran. Gabriella had her British passport confiscated and was sent to live with her grandparents.

Ratcliffe wrote to the UK Foreign Office and the Iranian Embassy this weekend to learn of the arrangements for his wife’s release.

His questions included whether she will be flown on board a military plane or commercial flight, how an electronic ankle tag she wears will be removed, and how she can regain her confiscated British passport. “We don’t want to leave everything until the last minute,” he said.

Since being released from the notorious Evin prison last year as the coronavirus pandemic broke out in Iran, Zaghari-Ratcliffe has lived under house arrest at her parents’ home in Tehran.

The UK Foreign Office said: “We remain committed to securing the immediate and permanent release of all arbitrarily detained dual nationals in Iran. We are doing everything we can to enable Nazanin to return home.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe has created a seven-week countdown calendar on the wall of her bedroom. On the last week of the calendar, she has written “freedom.”

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain is “pushing as hard as it can” to free her, and negotiations with Iran had “intensified” recently.

He added that the incoming Biden administration in the US offers “additional possibilities” for Zaghari-Ratcliffe to leave Iran.