Lebanon’s Hariri pays unannounced visit to Erdogan

Lebanon’s Hariri pays unannounced visit to Erdogan
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) meets with Lebanese former Prime Minister Saad Hariri (L) at Vahdettin Mansion in Istanbul. (AFP)
Lebanon’s Hariri pays unannounced visit to Erdogan
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) meets with Lebanese former Prime Minister Saad Hariri (L) at Vahdettin Mansion in Istanbul. (AFP)
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Updated 08 January 2021

Lebanon’s Hariri pays unannounced visit to Erdogan

Lebanon’s Hariri pays unannounced visit to Erdogan
  • The meeting focused on regional security issues and "deepening and strengthening" ties
  • Turkey has been playing an assertive role in the region under Erdogan, who has been vying for diplomatic influence

ISTANBUL: Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri paid an unannounced visit Friday to Turkey for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that came with his crisis-hit country struggling to form a government.
The two-hour "private" meeting at Erdogan's Istanbul residence focused on regional security issues and "deepening and strengthening" ties, the Turkish presidency said, without providing details.
Hariri's office said he and Erdogan also discussed "ways to support the efforts to stop the collapse and rebuild Beirut as soon as the new government is formed in Lebanon".
Hariri, whose is a son of Lebanon's slain prime minister Rafik Hariri, was renamed to the premiership post of a third time in October, almost a year after stepping down under pressure from an unprecedented protest movement.
The 50-year-old inherited a country reeling from an economic crisis whose impact was compounded by the coronavirus pandemic and the aftereffects of a Beirut port blast that killed more than 200 people and ravaged the capital in August.
Turkey has been playing an increasingly assertive role in the region under Erdogan, who has been vying for diplomatic influence with rivals such as France.
French President Emmanuel Macron visited Lebanon in August and September, pushing for political reform.
After Macron's first visit, Erdogan accused the French leader of pursuing "colonialist" aims in Lebanon.
Erdogan's office said the Turkish leader reaffirmed his support for the "unity and peace" of Lebanon, which was once part of the Ottoman Empire.


Yemen’s government vows to mitigate effects of Houthi terrorism designation

Yemen’s government vows to mitigate effects of Houthi terrorism designation
A military vehicle is stationed on the tarmac of Yemen’s Aden airport. Yemen says the Stockholm Agreement has failed to bring peace to the country. (File/AFP)
Updated 18 January 2021

Yemen’s government vows to mitigate effects of Houthi terrorism designation

Yemen’s government vows to mitigate effects of Houthi terrorism designation
  • International community urged not to surrender to ‘blackmailing and intimidation’ 
  • Stockholm Agreement has failed to bring peace, Yemen PM said

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s prime minister has vowed to address any impact on humanitarian assistance or the remittances of citizens abroad following the US move to designate the Iran-backed Houthis as a terrorist organization.

Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed also urged the international community not to surrender to “Houthi blackmailing” and intimidation.
Saeed defended his government’s strong support of the designation during a virtual interview with foreign journalists sponsored by the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies.
He said that his government had formed a committee to handle any effects on the delivery of humanitarian assistance inside Houthi-controlled areas and the remittances of Yemenis abroad.
“We are determined to prevent any impact of the decision on the Yemenis. We have formed a committee to mitigate effects of the decision,” he said.
When the US announced its intention to designate the Houthi movement as a terrorist organization last week, Yemen’s government quickly urged the US administration to put the decision in place, predicting it would stop Houthi crimes and their looting of humanitarian assistance, and would smoothe the way for peace.
Referring to the impact of the US designation on peace talks between the Yemeni government and the Houthis, Saeed said that the decision would not undermine peace efforts. He said that the Houthis would be accepted as part of the Yemeni political and social spectrum when they abandoned hard-line ideologies and embraced equality and justice.

The Yemeni government agreed to go to Stockholm for reaching a solution to stop fighting and saving the city. This model has failed.

Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed, Yemen’s prime minister

“This is an important pressure card on them and a real definition of them,” he said, adding that the Yemenis would not allow the Houthi movement to rule them.
“Yemen would not be ruled by a racist and terrorist group,” he said.
Formed under the Riyadh Agreement, Yemen’s new government’s ministers narrowly escaped death on Dec. 30 when three precision-guided missiles ripped through Aden airport shortly after their plane touched down.
The government accused the Houthis of staging the attack, saying that missile fragments collected from the airport showed that they were similar to missiles that targeted Marib city in the past.
The prime minister said that the Yemeni government had offered many concessions to reach an agreement to end the war. It had agreed to engage in direct talks with the Houthis in Stockholm in 2018 despite the fact that the Yemeni government forces were about to seize control of the Red Sea city of Hodeidah. However, the Stockholm Agreement had failed to bring peace to Yemen, he said.
“The government forces were about to capture the city within five days maximum. The Yemeni government agreed to go to Stockholm for reaching a solution to stop fighting and saving the city. This model has failed,” Saeed said.
In Riyadh, Yemen’s president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Friday appointed Ahmed Obeid bin Daghar, a former prime minister and a senior adviser to the president, as president of the Shoura Council.
Hadi also appointed Ahmed Ahmed Al-Mousai as the country’s new attorney general.
Fighting continues
Heavy fighting between Yemeni government forces and the Houthis broke out on Sunday for the third consecutive day in contested areas in the districts of Hays and Durihimi in the western province of Hodeidah. Official media said that dozens of Houthi rebels and several government troops were killed in the fighting and loyalists pushed back three assaults by Houthis in Durihimi district.
In neighboring Hays, the Joint Forces media said on Sunday that the Houthis hit government forces with heavy weapons before launching a ground attack in an attempt to seize control of new areas in the district.
The Houthis failed to make any gains and lost dozens of fighters along with several military vehicles that were burnt in the fighting, the same media outlets said. Heavy artillery shelling and land mines planted by the Houthis have killed more than 500 civilians since late 2018, local rights groups said.