Fighting rages outside Yemen’s Marib as UN envoy meets leaders

Fighting rages outside Yemen’s Marib as UN envoy meets leaders
Separately, the UN Yemen envoy announced in the Jordanian capital, Amman, the conclusion of his first week of direct consultations with key Yemeni parties. (AFP/File)
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Updated 13 March 2022

Fighting rages outside Yemen’s Marib as UN envoy meets leaders

Fighting rages outside Yemen’s Marib as UN envoy meets leaders
  • Fighting took place as UN envoy announces conclusion of first week of consultations with key parties

AL-MUKALLA: Heavy fighting has broken out between Yemeni government troops and the Iran-backed Houthis outside the central city of Marib during the past 24 hours, killing and wounding dozens of combatants, a local military official told Arab News on Sunday.

The fighting took place as the UN Yemen envoy, Hans Grundberg, announced the conclusion of his first week of consultations with key Yemeni parties.

Backed by Arab coalition warplanes, Yemen army troops and allied tribal fighters on Sunday attacked Houthi fighters stationed on mountainous terrain south of Marib city, with the aim of pushing the militia away from the strategic city.

“We set ambushes and attacked the Houthis in Juba district. We managed to advance in the Akada mountain range,” the anonymous Yemeni military official said. The fierce fighting on the ground sparked heavy airstrikes by Arab coalition warplanes that destroyed Houthi military reinforcements and vehicles.

“The Arab coalition has carried out many precision airstrikes that hit the enemy’s locations and military equipment,” the official said.

BACKGROUND

Backed by Arab coalition warplanes, Yemen army troops and allied tribal fighters on Sunday attacked Houthi fighters stationed on mountainous terrain south of Marib city, with the aim of pushing the militia away from the strategic city.

Local media reports also said that the Houthis on Friday and Saturday renewed their attacks on government troops on Al-Balaq mountain range outside Marib city, but largely failed to achieve any territorial gains after government troops repelled their advances.

The strategic Al-Balaq is the closest battlefield to the city of Marib. Houthi seizure of the mountain range would enable artillery strikes over sections of the city. The coalition said on Sunday that 12 air raids by jets killed many Houthis and destroyed eight vehicles in Marib province during the past 24 hours.

For more than a year, the Houthis have relentlessly attacked the city, the government’s last bastion in the northern half of Yemen, rejecting warnings from local and international organizations about the impact of the attacks on the growing humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The Houthi offensive on Marib has claimed the lives of thousands of combatants and civilians, and forced thousands of people to flee their homes across the province.

At the same time, Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi ordered his government to give urgent attention and financial assistance to army troops battling the Houthis across the country, the official news agency said on Saturday. Hadi told his commanders in Marib city that they should pay soldiers’ salaries on time, provide them financial incentives, treat the wounded and take care of the families of dead soldiers.

Separately, the UN Yemen envoy announced in the Jordanian capital, Amman, the conclusion of his first week of direct consultations with key Yemeni parties.

It comes as part of his efforts to listen to views, ideas and suggestions that will be included in his framework for ending the war in Yemen.

During the first week, the UN envoy met with leaders of the General People’s Congress and representatives from Al-Islah Party, the Yemeni Socialist Party and the Nasserist Unionist People’s Organization. This week, Grundberg will meet in Amman with representatives of the Southern Transitional Council, the Inclusive Hadramout Conference, the General People’s Congress, as well as security experts, economists and civil society leaders.

“The special envoy explained that the intent of the consultations was to gather, in an honest and frank way, ideas, views and suggestions on immediate and long-term priorities for the political, security and economic tracks,” Grundberg’s office said in a statement.


Lebanese MPs to convene to elect new president, no consensus on candidate

Lebanese MPs to convene to elect new president, no consensus on candidate
Updated 30 min 25 sec ago

Lebanese MPs to convene to elect new president, no consensus on candidate

Lebanese MPs to convene to elect new president, no consensus on candidate

BEIRUT: Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri will call for a session to elect a new president on Sept. 29, state media reported, despite no political consensus on a candidate and dim chances of a sucessful vote.
President Michel Aoun’s six-year term ends on Oct. 31, and politicians have voiced concern about no successor being found — warning of even greater institutional deadlock given that Lebanon has also been without a fully functioning government since May.
The session will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, the state-run National News Agency reported.
The votes of two-thirds of lawmakers in the 128-member legislature are required for a candidate to be successful in the first round of voting, after which a simple majority suffices.
Aoun came to power after a 29-month presidential vacuum in which parliament was unable to agree on electing a president.
The stalemate ended with a series of deals that secured victory for Aoun and his powerful Iran-backed ally Hezbollah.
Aoun is limited to one term, and major political parties have not announced any agreement on his successor. 


100 dead in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria: new toll

100 dead in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria: new toll
Updated 27 September 2022

100 dead in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria: new toll

100 dead in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria: new toll

DAMASCUS: Syrian authorities have recovered 100 bodies from a Lebanese migrant boat that sank off Syria last week, state media reported about one of the deadliest recent shipwrecks in the eastern Mediterranean.
The first bodies were found last Thursday and only 20 people were rescued out of as many as 150 passengers.
“The number of victims of the Lebanese boat has reached 100 people so far after another body was recovered from the sea,” Syria’s official news agency SANA on Monday quoted the head of Syrian ports Samer Kbrasli as saying.
All survivors have been discharged from hospital, SANA said.
Nearly three years of deep economic crisis have turned Lebanon into a launchpad for migrants, with its own citizens joining Syrian and Palestinian refugees desperate to flee rising poverty via dangerous sea voyages.
Those aboard the ship that sailed from Lebanon’s impoverished northern city of Tripoli were mostly Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians, and included children and elderly people, the United Nations said.
Lebanon hosts more than a million refugees from Syria’s civil war and has been mired in a financial and economic crisis branded by the World Bank as one of the worst in modern times.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi described the shipwreck as a “heart-wrenching tragedy.”
Since 2020, Lebanon has seen a spike in the number of migrants attempting the perilous crossing in jam-packed boats to reach Europe.
The UN children’s agency UNICEF said that 10 children appeared to be “among those who lost their lives,” adding that “years of political instability and economic crisis in Lebanon have pushed many children and families into poverty.”


Iranians outraged after TikToker shot dead in protests

Iranians outraged after TikToker shot dead in protests
Updated 27 September 2022

Iranians outraged after TikToker shot dead in protests

Iranians outraged after TikToker shot dead in protests
  • Najafi was shot six times in the city of Karaj, receiving bullets in the face and neck

DUBAI: A funeral has been held for Hadis Najafi, a young Iranian woman who was shot dead by security forces during protests near Tehran.

Najafi was shot six times in the city of Karaj, and was hit by bullets in the face and neck, according to a report by Radio Farda.

Videos of Najafi's funeral has been circulated on social media as online users paid tribute to the 20-year-old.
She had earlier gone viral in a TikTok video where she was seen tying her hair and preparing to join the anti-government protests, which were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the ‘morality police’ for breaching the strict Hijab rules.
At least 41 people have been killed as Iran continues to crack down on the nationwide demonstrations.


Algeria’s UN integration will develop with support, says FM Lamamra

Algeria’s UN integration will develop with support, says FM Lamamra
Updated 27 September 2022

Algeria’s UN integration will develop with support, says FM Lamamra

Algeria’s UN integration will develop with support, says FM Lamamra
  • Algiers seeks non-permanent seat on Security Council
  • Candidacy endorsed by African, Arab and Islamic bodies

LONDON: Algeria’s development remains on track and will continue with the support of UN member states, the country’s foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra said on Monday.

During his speech at the General Assembly Debate, Lamamra also reaffirmed his country’s push for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

“My country is a member of the UN, it celebrates this year the 60th anniversary of independence,” he said. “It resolutely pursues the process of building a new Algeria under the leadership of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.”

He continued: “My country reaffirms its compliance with the values and principles (of the UN) and its determination to revive the role of multilateral action in keeping international peace and security and the achievement of comprehensive, fair, and sustainable development.”

Lamamra outlined Algeria’s commitment to the principles of the UN charter ahead of elections scheduled for next June on membership in the Security Council.

“Algeria is aware of the magnitude of unprecedented challenges that arise at the international and regional levels,” he said.

“Therefore, it has submitted its candidacy for the position of non-permanent member of the Security Council, a candidacy endorsed by the African Union, the League of Arab States, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.”

Lamamra also confirmed Algeria would host an Arab Summit on Nov. 1 and 2, and that Algiers “aspired to make this event a crucial step in the joint Arab action, for an effective contribution of the Arab world to dealing with the current challenges on the regional and international scenes.”


UAE lifts mandatory mask policy in indoor places

UAE lifts mandatory mask policy in indoor places
Updated 27 September 2022

UAE lifts mandatory mask policy in indoor places

UAE lifts mandatory mask policy in indoor places
  • Masks are still mandatory in medical facilities, place of worship, and public transport
  • The new rules, effective from Sept. 28, waived social distancing between worshipers

DUBAI: UAE residents are no longer required to wear masks in indoor public places, in the country’s biggest ease of restrictions since the outbreak of COVID-19, the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) announced.

However, masks are still mandatory in medical facilities, place of worship, and public transport, officials said.
“Senior citizens and residents and people with chronic diseases are advised to continue wearing masks for their safety,” according to Dr. Saif Al-Dhaheri, NCEMA’s official spokesperson.
The new rules, effective from Sept. 28, also waived social distancing between worshipers, while keeping the mask policy in mosques and other places of worship.
Shortly after the COVID-19 outbreak, the UAE placed a stringent mask policy in indoor and outdoor places, imposing $815 (Dh3,000) fine on violators.
In February, authorities lifted the requirement to wear masks outdoors.
Face masks will also be optional in schools.
Under the new rules, the isolation period for COVID-19 positive cases has been reduced from 10 days to five. Close contacts are required to take a PCR test only if they display symptoms.