Yemen warring parties to travel to Switzerland to discuss prisoner releases

Griffiths told the 15-member UN Security Council he sent an “advanced draft” of a cease-fire deal to Yemen’s warring parties last week. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 15 September 2020

Yemen warring parties to travel to Switzerland to discuss prisoner releases

  • Griffiths told the UN Security Council that “logistical arrangements permitting” the talks would resume in Switzerland this week

UNITED NATIONS: Delegations from Yemen’s warring parties are due to meet in Switzerland this week for talks on a UN-backed prisoner exchange deal, which UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths said on Tuesday he hopes will result in the release of some detainees.
Griffiths told the UN Security Council that “logistical arrangements permitting” the talks would resume in Switzerland this week between the two delegations. A UN source said the talks were due to start on Thursday.
“The parties committed to release conflict-related prisoners and detainees back in 2018 in Stockholm, and furthered their discussions to fulfill that commitment in Amman earlier this year,” Griffiths told the council. “What I hope is that this meeting will actually result in the release of some prisoners.”
Mohammed Abdulsalam, chief negotiator of the Houthi movement, told Reuters his group’s committee is set to leave Sanaa on a UN plane.
The Iran-allied Houthis and Yemen’s Saudi-backed government are trying to reach an agreement to end a years-long war and ease a humanitarian crisis in the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country.
Griffiths told the 15-member UN Security Council he sent an “advanced draft” of a cease-fire deal to Yemen’s warring parties last week and “now is the time for the parties to swiftly conclude the negotiations.”
He also said the political importance of gas-rich Marib — the last government stronghold where fighting has raged over the past year — should not be underestimated and that “military shifts and consequences and events in Marib have ripple effects on dynamics of the conflict across Yemen.”


Arrest campaign targets allies of Palestinian MP

In this Photo taken Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, the newly built Palestinian Authority's mansion, at the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP)
Updated 19 min 47 sec ago

Arrest campaign targets allies of Palestinian MP

  • The Palestinian Authority believes that Dahlan played a major role in the conclusion of the peace agreement between the UAE and Israel

GAZA CITY: Palestinian Authority security services recently began a campaign to arrest opposition activists in the West Bank.
The campaign has targeted activists in the Democratic Reform Bloc of parliament member Muhammad Dahlan, a high-profile critic of President Mahmoud Abbas.
Key members of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, former security officials and university professors have been arrested. These include Haitham Al-Halabi, a member of the Revolutionary Council in the Nablus, and Maj. Gen. Salim Abu Safiya, a former security official in the Gaza Strip.
Several days ago London-based Palestinian journalist Jayab Abu Safiya published pictures from the home of his uncle, Maj. Gen. Abu Safiya, showing security personnel tampering with property.
Abu Safiya’s family said in a statement that at 2 a.m. security services arbitrarily arrested him. Abu Safiya was a former prisoner in an Israeli jail and a founder of the Preventive Security Service.
A court released him after seven days’ detention on Monday, while Haitham Al-Halabi’s sentence was extended by 15 days amid ongoing investigations.
An official source in the Palestinian Public Prosecution office in Ramallah told Arab News that the prisoners are facing two main charges related to possession of weapons and transfer of illegal funds to the West Bank.
However, a leading source in the Fatah, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the arrests were based on direct instructions from President Abbas to the Joint Security Committee to take strict measures against Dahlan supporters.
The Palestinian Authority believes that Dahlan played a major role in the conclusion of the peace agreement between the UAE and Israel.
Dahlan has resided in the UAE after a dispute with President Abbas forced him to leave the West Bank. He sought refuge there after Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.

BACKGROUND

An official source in the Palestinian Public Prosecution office in Ramallah told Arab News that the prisoners are facing two main charges related to possession of weapons and transfer of illegal funds to the West Bank.

Since then, Dahlan, 58, who enjoys strong international and regional ties, has been widely reported as a potential successor to Abbas, 84.
Spokesman for the security forces in the West Bank Maj. Gen. Adnan Al-Dameiri denied that the arrests were political. “The security services arrested 4 or 5 people only on the basis of legal violations,” he said.
The arrest campaign coincided with statements by US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, in which he told Hebrew newspaper Israel Hayom that the US was considering replacing President Abbas with Dahlan. The newspaper later retracted the statement.
A Fatah source told Arab News that the claim angered President Abbas and his team, after Friedman also claimed Dahlan played a “significant” role in UAE-Israel agreement.
Spokesman for the Democratic Reform Bloc and member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council Dimitri Diliani told Arab News that Dahlan preceded Abbas in rejecting the statements of the US ambassador. He added that Dahlan also rejected the Israel deal through an official statement issued from Abu Dhabi.
Diliani rejected accusations directed at the prisoners and said they have “no relationship or connection with money, or the current financing methods in the West Bank.”
He said there is a “separate structure” for money and financing, and that the method of delivering money to the West Bank is carried out in strict secrecy.
“Abbas and the group of beneficiaries surrounding him fear the power of the Dahlan bloc, which today has become a majority inside Fatah at home and abroad,” he added.

Highlight An official source in the Palestinian Public Prosecution office in Ramallah told Arab News that the prisoners are facing two main charges related to possession of weapons and transfer of illegal funds to the West Bank.