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
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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. 


US official meets in Lebanon over anti-Hezbollah sanctions

Updated 23 September 2019

US official meets in Lebanon over anti-Hezbollah sanctions

  • Lebanon’s Central Bank chief Riad Salameh played down reports in local media that the US will impose further sanctions

BEIRUT: A senior United States Treasury official was visiting Beirut on Monday, where he’s explaining the motives behind recent US sanctions targeting Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, Lebanon’s central bank governor said.
Treasury Department Assistant Secretary Marshall Billingslea met with the prime minister and the speaker of parliament, as well as officials from the Association of Banks in Lebanon and the central bank governor.
Hezbollah holds three cabinet seats, and along with its allies has more power than ever in the parliament and government. It is also among the most effective armed groups in the region, extending Iran’s influence to Israel’s doorstep. Domestically, the group’s power exceeds that of the Lebanese armed forces.
Lebanon’s Central Bank chief Riad Salameh played down reports in local media that the US will impose further sanctions on the country’s dollar-strapped banking system. He said Billingslea “is not coming here to squeeze Lebanon.”
A US embassy statement said Billingslea “will encourage Lebanon to take the necessary steps to maintain distance from Hezbollah and other malign actors attempting to destabilize Lebanon and its institutions.”
Last month, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned Jammal Trust Bank and added it to its list of global terrorist organizations. The bank denied US charges about “knowingly facilitating banking activities” for Hezbollah militants.
The bank last week was forced to request self-liquidation and the move was accepted by the central bank governor.
The US has been imposing sanctions on Hezbollah for years, as Washington considers the group a terrorist organization. Such steps have increased in recent months as the Trump administration is using “maximum pressure” against Iran, Hezbollah’s main backer.
In July, the Treasury Department targeted a Hezbollah security official and two members of Lebanon’s parliament, saying they are suspected of using their positions to further the aims of the militant group and “bolster Iran’s malign activities.” It was the first time Washington targeted Hezbollah legislators.
Hezbollah, whose Arabic name translates as “Party of God,” was established by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard months after Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982.