Houthis breaching cease-fire, Yemen government tells monitors

Tribesmen loyal to the Houthi movement hold their weapons as they attend a gathering in Sanaa, Yemen December 21, 2017. (REUTERS)
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Updated 16 February 2020

Houthis breaching cease-fire, Yemen government tells monitors

  • International monitors stationed in Hodeida urged to visit observation posts

AL-MUKALLA: Yemeni soldiers have asked international monitors stationed in the southern port city of Hodeidah to visit their observation posts to document daily cease-fire breaches by Houthi militia.

Baha Khalefa, one of 10 government soldiers deployed at the joint observation posts, said the team faced death every day due to thousands of landmines and from sporadic shelling by Houthis.
“We have sent reports to our seniors complaining about the violations,” Khalefa told Arab News by telephone from Hodeidah. “We are walking on fields of landmines that put our lives at risk.”
Yemen’s internationally recognized government and the Iran-backed Houthi militants set up observation posts to monitor a cease-fire in the city’s main frontlines as part of a UN-brokered agreement signed in Stockholm.

FASTFACT

Baha Khalefa, one of 10 government soldiers deployed at the joint observation posts, said the team faced death every day due to thousands of landmines and from sporadic shelling by Houthis.

The agency’s observers were tasked to monitor the truce and troop withdrawal from frontlines in Hodeida and the three ports in the city.
But soldiers say that international monitors in Hodeidah have never visited their posts at former flashpoints.
The government has long cast doubt on the Houthis’ adherence to the agreement, saying they were using the cease-fire to mobilize forces and dig new trenches.
Khalefa said that Houthis had mostly refused to defuse landmines or open key roads leading to Sanaa that go through government-controlled areas in the city.
“We want the international monitors to independently see the firsthand risks that we encounter. Our demining engineers defuse at least as many as 150 landmines every day. The Houthis refuse to remove landmines and reopen Al-Khameri and Kilo 16 roads.”
Houthis have planted thousands of landmines along the country’s western coast to slow down a major offensive by government forces aimed at liberating Hodeida. Yemeni government officials think that the UN has restricted movements of its monitoring team in Hodeida due to security concerns and landmines.


Lebanon’s foreign minister resigns amid economic crisis

Updated 03 August 2020

Lebanon’s foreign minister resigns amid economic crisis

  • Nassif Hitti submits resignation to the prime minister and leaves government house without making any comments
  • Hitti’s resignation is a blow to Hassan Diab’s government

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s foreign minister resigned on Monday, becoming the first Cabinet minister to defect from his post amid the severe economic and financial crisis striking the country.
Minister Nassif Hitti’s submitted his resignation to the prime minister and left the government house without making any comments.
A career diplomat, Hitti became foreign minister in January as part of Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government. He was was reportedly unhappy with the government’s performance and lack of movement on promised reforms.
Local media reports said he also was angered by Diab’s criticism of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian following his visit to Beirut last month. Diab had said Le Drian “did not bring anything new” and was not properly informed about the reforms implemented by the Lebanese government.
It was not immediately clear whether his resignation would be accepted and whether one of the other ministers would assume his responsibilities in caretaker capacity until a new minister is appointed.
Hitti’s resignation is a blow to Diab’s government, which has struggled to implement reforms amid an unprecedented financial crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.