Houthis reject Yemeni government offer to cooperate against COVID-19

Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik said the government had initially agreed to a UN proposal for both sides to cooperate. (File/AFP)
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Updated 03 June 2020

Houthis reject Yemeni government offer to cooperate against COVID-19

  • The Houthis have escalated the violence in the country despite a raging health crisis, the prime minister said

DUBAI: The Houthi militia has repeatedly dismissed the Yemeni government’s efforts for a coordinated response against the coronavirus pandemic, state news agency Saba reported.
Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik said the government had initially agreed to a UN proposal for both sides to cooperate in tackling the outbreak, but the Houthis refused to cooperate.
Instead, Abdulmalik said, the Houthis have escalated the violence in the country despite a raging health crisis.

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The prime minister was speaking with Niel Annen, the German Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office.
Both officials discussed the results of the pledging conference which Saudi Arabia has lead to raise funds for Yemen.
Germany has pledged $141.1 million in support of war-torn Yemen.


I won’t quit: Lebanese PM defiant as his critics blast financial chaos

Updated 36 min 40 sec ago

I won’t quit: Lebanese PM defiant as his critics blast financial chaos

  • University president and UN human rights chief join condemnation of ‘incompetent’ government

BEIRUT: Beleaguered Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Saturday defied a barrage of criticism to declare that his government alone ruled Lebanon and it was determined to implement reforms to resolve the financial crisis.

Diab dismissed as “fake news” reports that he was on the verge of resignation, and said: “Lebanon will not be under anyone’s control as long as I am in power.”

The prime minister spoke after UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned that Lebanon was enduring “the worst economic crisis in its history” and was “fast spiraling out of control.” 

She urged Diab’s government to initiate urgent reforms and respond to “the people’s essential needs, such as food, electricity, health, and education.”

Diab also faced harsh criticism from the American University of Beirut (AUB), where he was vice president and a professor before becoming prime minister.

BACKGROUND

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet urged the Lebanese government to initiate urgent reforms and respond to ‘the people’s essential needs, such as food, health and education.’

AUB president Fadlo Khuri said Diab’s government was the worst in Lebanon’s history in its understanding of higher education.

“I have not seen any shred of competence in this government since its formation six months ago,” said.

“The government owes the AUB $150 million in medical bills,” Khuri said, and he urged Diab to “at least discuss with us a payment timeline.”

Lebanon’s financial plight is illustrated by its currency, the lira, which has lost 80 percent of its value. 

The black market  dollar exchange rate on Saturday was 7,500, compared with the official rate of 1,507.

Bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund were suspended in a dispute over government debt, but Diab insisted on Saturday: “We have turned the page … and started discussing the basic reforms required and the program that the IMF and Lebanon will agree upon, which will restore confidence and open the door to many projects.”