UAE foreign minister: Israel deal paves way for comprehensive Middle East peace

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In this image made from UNTV video, UAE foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed speaks in a pre-recorded message which was played during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at UN headquarters in New York. (UNTV via AP)
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In this image made from UNTV video, Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood AlBusaidi, foreign minister of Oman, speaks in a pre-recorded message which was played during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at U.N. headquarters. (UNTV via AP)
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Updated 30 September 2020

UAE foreign minister: Israel deal paves way for comprehensive Middle East peace

  • UAE position toward supporting Palestinian people, achieving two-state solution is firm

LONDON: The signing of the Abraham Accord with Israel will increase prospects of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, the UAE’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed said the US-brokered agreement signed in Washington this month had frozen Israel’s annexation of the occupied West Bank.
“The call for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, in line with international resolutions and the Arab and international consensus will remain a firm demand,” Sheikh Abdullah told the UN General Assembly.
“My country has made persistent efforts using all available diplomatic channels to affirm our total rejection of the annexation of Palestinian territory and we have warned on its impact on all parties and on the security of the region,” he added.
The UAE and Bahrain became only the third and fourth Arab states to normalize relations with Israel when they signed the agreements at the White House.
Speaking in a prerecorded message, Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE hoped the accords would provide the opportunity for the Palestinians and the Israelis to “reengage in negotiations to achieve peace.” 
“The UAE’s position toward supporting the Palestinian people and achieving the two-state solution is firm,” he said.

Speaking about opportunities with Israel from the deal, Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE would work to ensure the accord will open “new intellectual horizons in the region and create a prosperous path for future generations “who deserve a stable region and a better reality than wars and poverty.”
Sheikh Abdullah used his speech to reiterate that the UAE has a “legitimate right of sovereignty” over three Gulf islands, which are occupied by Iran.
Iran took control of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa, in 1971 “in flagrant violation of international law.” 
He also called on Iran to stop developing ballistic missiles and arming terrorist groups.
The UAE, he said, is particularly concerned that restrictions imposed on Iran under its nuclear agreement with world powers are soon due to expire, “since the nuclear agreement did not achieve its desired outcome.”
Sheikh Abdullah hit out more broadly at countries interfering in Arab affairs.
“The flash points in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq and others are linked to crude interventions in Arab affairs by countries to re-establish control and colonialism over the Arab region and the Horn of Africa, which caused bloody wars,” he said.
Along with Iran, Arab countries are increasingly concerned at Turkey’s role in the region after it ramped up military involvement in countries like Libya.
He said the UAE has deep concern over Turkey’s military interference in Libya, which is “an alarming part of regional interference in Arab affairs that exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, undermined efforts to reach a peaceful solution and destabilized the entire region.”
On Yemen, he said the UAE commends the efforts made by Saudi Arabia to restore peace oil the country and reiterates its support for the Riyadh Agreement, calling for a unified Yemeni position to reach a sustainable solution.
“We strongly believe that stability in Yemen can be restored, especially within the current environment that could lead to a complete cease-fire and a permanent political solution under the auspices of the UN.”
Sheikh Abdullah announced the UAE’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the Security Council for the period 2022-2023.
Meanwhile, Oman reaffirmed its support for the Palestinian people, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Oman's foreign minister Badr Albusaidi also called on Yemeni parties to join UN-backed dialogue to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict.
The Sultanate also called on the international community to support Lebanon's reconstruction efforts and help it grapple with the impact of the tragic explosion.


Arab coalition commander renews support to Yemen

Updated 29 min 50 sec ago

Arab coalition commander renews support to Yemen

  • Assurance comes as the governor of Aden thanked it for helping local security authorities intercept a major cargo of drugs at Aden seaport
  • Yemen’s defense minister said on Wednesday that at least 800 Houthi fighters, including senior field commanders, had been killed since the beginning of this month

AL-MUKALLA: The coalition will continue backing Yemeni military forces fighting the Houthis until the country returns to normal, the commander of Arab coalition forces in the southern city of Aden has said.

During a meeting with Aden’s new governor, Ahmed Lamlis, Brig. Gen. Nayef Al-Otaibi said that the coalition would continue its support till Yemen recovered from the war and its state bodies functioned normally, Yemeni state media said on Wednesday.

The coalition’s assurance comes as the governor of Aden thanked it for helping local security authorities intercept a major cargo of drugs at Aden seaport. The governor told the Arab coalition commander that local authorities in Aden were looking forward to receiving more support from the coalition, enabling them to bring back peace and stability to Aden and fix vital services there.

The Arab coalition and local security authorities at Aden seaport recently announced a 500kg cocaine and heroin bust worth millions of dollars. The drugs were hidden inside sugar bags in a large sugar shipment originating from Brazil. There was no information about arrests in connection with the drugs bust but local security officials said that investigations were underway.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s defense minister said on Wednesday that at least 800 Houthi fighters, including senior field commanders, had been killed since the beginning of this month in fighting with government troops or in Arab coalition airstrikes.

Based on Houthi burial statements carried on their media, the rebels have buried more than 600 fighters, including 154 field leaders, since Oct. 1, in different provinces under their control. In the capital, Sanaa, the rebels have arranged funeral processions for 178 dead fighters, including 67 field commanders with different military rankings, the ministry said in a statement on its news site.

Most of the Houthi deaths occurred in the provinces of Marib and Jouf, where rebel forces are engaging in heavy fighting with government forces and allied tribesmen, backed by Arab coalition warplanes.

State media also quoted the governor of Jouf, Ameen Al-Oukaimi, as saying that government forces had inflicted a huge defeat on the Houthis during the latest intense fighting in the province. Yemeni Army commanders said that they foiled Houthis attempts to recapture the liberated Al-Khanjer military base and surrounding areas in Jouf.

In the western province of Hodeidah, the Joint Forces, an umbrella term for three major military units in the country’s western coast, said that a Houthi field military leader, Mohammed Yahya Al-Hameli, was killed during a foiled rebel assault in the province on Wednesday.

Fighting has continued across Yemen despite repeated calls by the UN and western diplomats for Yemeni factions to halt hostilities and focus on approving the UN-brokered peace initiative known as the Joint Declaration. On Thursday, British Ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron called on the internationally recognized President of Yemen Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Houthis to engage in serious talks to end the war.

“President Hadi and the Houthi leadership must work seriously and urgently with the UN Yemen envoy to end the war in Yemen by concluding the Joint Declaration in order to avert a humanitarian catastrophe,” the ambassador said on Twitter.

The declaration proposes a nationwide truce ahead of the implementation of economic and humanitarian measures. When the fighting stops, the Yemeni parties will be asked to engage in direct talks to discuss postwar political arrangements.