UN’s Griffiths backs Jeddah talks between Yemeni government, southern separatists

UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths expressed his support for negotiations between the Yemeni government and southern separatists that started in Jeddah on Wednesday. (File/AFP)
Updated 06 September 2019

UN’s Griffiths backs Jeddah talks between Yemeni government, southern separatists

  • Yemen’s government officials started talks with the country’s southern separatists in Jeddah on Wednesday
  • Saudi Arabia called for talks to restore calm to southern Yemen after fighting between STC and government troops last month

LONDON: UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths expressed his support for negotiations between the Yemeni government and southern separatists that started in Jeddah on Wednesday. 

Officials from Saudi Arabia and the UAE met separately on Thursday to agree on a draft agreement before presenting it to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Southern Transitional Council.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Saudi Arabia said it was following the latest developments in Aden and regretted fresh outbreaks of violence there, and that any attempt to destabilize Yemen was a threat to the Kingdom and the wider region, according to reports from Saudi Press Agency.

The report said Saudi Arabia rejected any military escalation or secondary conflicts in Yemen that benefited the Houthis and Daesh.

Yemen’s government officials started talks with the country’s southern separatists of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) in Jeddah on Wednesday in a bid to end fighting in Aden and other southern provinces, a Yemeni official said. 

The delegation, which landed in the Kingdom on Tuesday, is headed by Aidroos Al-Zubaidi, the council’s leader.

Its arrival comes after Saudi Arabia called for talks in the Kingdom to restore calm to southern Yemen after fighting between the STC and government troops last month.

Emirati minister of state of foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said on Wednesday that he was was confident that the Jeddah meeting will succeed in uniting the two sides against what he called the “Houthi coup.”

He also thanked Saudi Arabia for “leading the coalition politically and militarily with care and skill.”


Former European leaders slam Trump peace plan

Updated 21 min 6 sec ago

Former European leaders slam Trump peace plan

  • The letter expresses deep concern over the plan

LONDON: The Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu) has gathered 50 former European leaders and foreign ministers to jointly sign a letter condemning US President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

British signatories include former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, former International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander, and former Foreign Ministers Sir Alan Duncan, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Peter Hain and Ben Bradshaw.

The sharply critical letter, published in British newspaper The Guardian, expresses deep concern over the plan, saying that “instead of promoting peace, it risks fueling the conflict.”

The signatories note that the plan has been met with “widespread opposition in the region, in Europe and in the US.”

The plan “allows for annexation of large and vital parts of the occupied Palestinian territory and legitimizes and encourages illegal Israeli settlement activity,” the letter reads.

The plan “is not a roadmap to a viable two-state solution, nor to any other legitimate solution to the conflict.”

The letter adds: “The plan envisages a formalization of the current reality in the occupied Palestinian territory, in which two peoples are living side by side without equal rights. Such an outcome has characteristics similar to apartheid — a term we don’t use lightly.”

The signatories believe that the annexation could lead to Palestinian enclaves reminiscent of South Africa’s bantustans during the apartheid era.

The letter follows increased tensions between the White House and the Palestinian Authority, with Washington threatening to withhold aid as part of a diplomatic pressure campaign at the UN.

Chris Doyle, director of Caabu, told Arab News: “We’re delighted to see so many distinguished former European political figures signing up to what is historically a very strong letter about the plans for annexation. It also clearly references that it would produce apartheid-like conditions.”

He said: “That brings into sharp focus exactly how disastrous this plan is. Even if it isn’t implemented as per the document, the plans on the ground have already been enacted effectively.”

He added: “The only way forward are talks based on international resolutions and consensus that envisage a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines with a shared capital in Jerusalem and fair resolution of the refugee issue.”