UN: Fighting in Yemen drops since Saudi-brokered agreement

1 / 2
Coalition troops near the Red Sea coast in 2017. Saudi Arabia says it wants a political solution to the Yemen conflict. (AFP/File photo)
2 / 2
Griffiths told the UN Security Council that in the last two weeks the rate of the war had dramatically reduced. (AFP/File photo)
Updated 23 November 2019

UN: Fighting in Yemen drops since Saudi-brokered agreement

  • Special envoy Martin Griffiths said that in the last two weeks the rate of the war had dramatically reduced
  • Griffiths thanked Saudi Arabia’s leaders for brokering the agreement between government and separatists

RIYADH: Violence in Yemen has significantly dropped in the last two weeks, the UN’s special envoy to the country said Friday. 

The comments by Martin Griffiths to the security council come after the Yemeni government and southern separatists signed a Saudi-brokered power sharing agreement earlier this month.

While both parties are part of a coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthi militia, many hoped the deal could pave the way to a broader agreement to end fighting in the country. 

On Wednesday, King Salman said the agreement could open the door to broader peace talks and that the Kingdom sought a political settlement.

 

 

Griffiths said that in the last two weeks the rate of the war had dramatically reduced.

“We call this de-escalation, a reduction in the tempo of the war and perhaps, we hope, a move towards an overall ceasefire in Yemen.”

He said their had been dramatic reductions in the number of airstrikes and missile and drone attacks and that the number of security incidents in Hodeidah, the key port which became the main hub of the conflict, had significantly reduced.

“In the last two weeks, there were almost 80 percet fewer airstrikes nation-wide than in the two weeks prior," Griffiths said. "In recent weeks, there have been entire 48-hour periods without airstrikes for the first time since the conflict began."

He added that the Houthis had also stopped firing missiles and exploding drones into Saudi Arabia.

Griffiths thanked the Kingdom’s leaders for the role they played in brokering the agreement between the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Southern Transitional Council after fighting erupted between their forces in the summer.

He said the clashes had made a further break up of the country very real, something he described as terrifying.”

Griffiths said Mohammed bin Salman “very positive about the prospects of a comprehensive, peaceful resolution to the conflict in Yemen” when they met two weeks ago.

The crown prince was clear Saudi Arabia will “support efforts to make this happen and happen soon,” Griffiths said. 

The war in Yemen started after the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 from the internationally recognized government and launched an offensive across the country. A coalition including Saudi Arabia and the UAE intervened in 2015 after the militants invaded the city of Aden.


Trump gives dramatic account of Soleimani’s last minutes before death: CNN

Updated 18 January 2020

Trump gives dramatic account of Soleimani’s last minutes before death: CNN

  • The president spoke at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, at a Republican event
  • CNN said it obtained an audio recording of Trump’s remarks

PALM BEACH, Florida: US President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the US drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.

With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.

The president spoke in a ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, at a Republican event that raised $10 million for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign and for the Republican National Committee.

Reporters were not allowed in for the event. CNN said it obtained an audio recording of Trump’s remarks. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Jan. 3 killing of Soleimani at Baghdad airport prompted Iran to retaliate with missile strikes against US forces in Iraq days later and almost triggered a broad war between the two countries.

“They’re together sir,” Trump said military officials told him. “Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. ‘Two minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car, they’re in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. Thirty seconds. Ten, 9, 8 ...’ “

“Then all of a sudden, boom,” he said. “’They’re gone, sir. Cutting off.’“

“I said, where is this guy?” Trump continued. “That was the last I heard from him.”

It was the most detailed account that Trump has given of the drone strike, which has drawn criticism from some US lawmakers because neither the president nor his advisers have provided public information to back up their statements that Soleimani presented an “imminent” threat to Americans in the region.

CNN said that in the audio, Trump did not repeat that Soleimani was an imminent threat. Trump said Soleimani was “saying bad things about our country” before the strike, which led to his decision to authorize his killing.