UN denounces recent escalation in Yemen, says threatens cease-fire

A Yemeni tribesman from supporting forces loyal to Yemen’s president during fighting against the Iran-backed Houthi militia and their allies, west of Marib city. (File/AFP)
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Updated 21 June 2020

UN denounces recent escalation in Yemen, says threatens cease-fire

  • Griffiths denounced recent escalations in Marib and Al-Jawf
  • He also said escalation in fighting disrupts combat efforts

RIYADH: The UN on Sunday denounced a military escalation in Yemen, which it said jeopardizes a cease-fire.
UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, called on all sides to reduce tensions, particularly “the recent increasing hostilities in the governorates of Ma’rib and Al Jawf.”
“I once again urge the parties to take serious measures to de-escalate, give peace a chance, and continue to engage constructively with the UN efforts to reach an agreement,” Griffiths said. “I hope they will refrain from the misguided quest for territorial gain by force, which can only bring more violence and suffering to Yemen.”

According to the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, hundreds of thousands of displaced Yemenis are based in Marib, an area that has been relatively calm over the past five years.
The surge in clashes between the Iran-backed Houthis and forces loyal to the internationally recognized government come as the country is battered by COVID-19.
Griffiths said increased fighting “impeded efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak devastating the country.”


Iraq’s foreign minister makes first visit to Iran

Updated 26 September 2020

Iraq’s foreign minister makes first visit to Iran

  • Iran sees neighboring Iraq as a possible route to bypass US sanctions that President Donald Trump re-imposed in 2018

TEHRAN: Iraq’s foreign minister arrived Saturday in Tehran for bilateral talks with senior Iranian officials, according to the state-run news agency.
IRNA reported that Fuad Hussein planned to meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani, in what marked his first visit to the Iranian capital.
Zarif visited Baghdad in mid-July, when he met with Hussein and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. It was Zarif’s first visit to Iraq since a US airstrike in January killed a top Iranian general, Qassim Soleimani, outside Baghdad’s international airport. The strike catapulted Iraq to the brink of a US-Iran proxy war that could have destabilized the Middle East.
After Zarif’s trip, the Iraqi premier visited Iran in July.
The report did not elaborate on the main reasons behind the top Iraqi diplomat’s two-day trip to Tehran.
Iran sees neighboring Iraq as a possible route to bypass US sanctions that President Donald Trump re-imposed in 2018 after pulling the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
Last year, Iran’s exports to Iraq amounted to nearly $9 billion, the official IRNA news agency reported on Tuesday. It said the two nations will discuss increasing the amount to $20 billion.
Before the current global pandemic, some 5 million Iranian pilgrims annually brought in nearly $5 billion visiting Iraq’s Shiite holy sites.
Iran has seen the worst outbreak in the region, with more than 443,000 thousand confirmed cases and at least 25,300 deaths.
A news website affiliated with Iranian state TV, yjc.ir, reported that Iran canceled all its flights to Iraqi cities until the religious holiday of Arbaeen, due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. The holiday marks the end of the forty days of mourning that follow annually on the death anniversary of the seventh-century Muslim leader Hussein, who was killed at the Battle of Karbala during the tumultuous first century of Islam’s history.
Iran fought an eight-year war with Iraq that killed nearly 1 million people on both sides, after former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded in the early 1980s.