Egypt, Germany, France, Jordan meet to revive Mideast talks

Egypt, Germany, France, Jordan meet to revive Mideast talks
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Foreign Ministers of (L to R) Germany Heiko Maas, Jordan Ayman Safadi, Egypt Sameh Shoukry, and France Jean-Yves Le Drian, hold a joint press conference after a meeting to discuss the Middle East peace process, in the Egyptian capital Cairo, on January 11, 2021. (AFP)
Egypt, Germany, France, Jordan meet to revive Mideast talks
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From left to right, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, wears his mask after speaking during a joint press conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, at Tahrir Palace, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. (AP)
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Updated 11 January 2021

Egypt, Germany, France, Jordan meet to revive Mideast talks

Egypt, Germany, France, Jordan meet to revive Mideast talks
  • France’s Foreign Ministry said the meeting would discuss ways to have Israelis and Palestinians embark on talks

CAIRO: Egypt on Monday hosted the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Jordan to discuss ways to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, a week before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
In Cairo, the Foreign Ministry said the aim of the meeting was to urge the Palestinians and Israelis to negotiate a “just and comprehensive political settlement” on the basis of achieving a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital on territory Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
The Palestinians suffered numerous setbacks under the outgoing administration of President Donald Trump and complained about what they say were pro-Israeli steps from Washington.
Trump has sidelined the Palestinian Authority, recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv, slashed financial assistance for the Palestinians and reversed course on the illegitimacy of Israeli settlements on land claimed by the Palestinians.
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said last month that Cairo has been working toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “taking into account the regional and international changes.” He was apparently referring to Biden's election and the establishment of ties with Israel by four Arab countries — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
France’s Foreign Ministry said the meeting would discuss ways to have Israelis and Palestinians embark on talks, building on “the positive regional context” related to the recent normalization deals.
“It is a question of contributing, at the same time, to a resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, with a view to resolving the conflict in the framework of international law," the statement said.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted before leaving for Cairo on Sunday that the ministers would discuss “which concrete steps” that could help “build trust” between Israel and the Palestinians.

In September, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for an international conference early in 2021 to launch a “genuine peace process,” based on the U.N. resolutions and past agreements with Israel. The Palestinians no longer see the U.S. as an honest broker.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said last month that the Palestinian Authority was ready to cooperate with the incoming Biden administration, and urged Israel to return to talks based on a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


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.