People in Taiz disappointed after talks fail to end Houthi siege

Yemeni government fighters stand by armoured vehicles at a position which was taken from Houthi rebels in a mountainous region northwest of the central city of Taiz. (AFP)
Yemeni government fighters stand by armoured vehicles at a position which was taken from Houthi rebels in a mountainous region northwest of the central city of Taiz. (AFP)
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Updated 29 May 2022

People in Taiz disappointed after talks fail to end Houthi siege

People in Taiz disappointed after talks fail to end Houthi siege
  • Militia blockade forcing cancer and kidney failure patients into using tougher terrain to reach health facilities

AL-MUKALLA: Yemenis in Taiz, a densely populated city in the southwest of the country, have expressed disappointment after discussions between the Yemeni government and the Houthis in the Jordanian capital of Amman failed to lift the Houthi blockade on the city.

The UN Yemen envoy, Hans Grundberg, on Saturday said that the first round of talks did not lead to an agreement on opening roads in Taiz and the other provinces.

The announcement ruined the hopes of thousands of people in Taiz who voiced optimism that the UN-brokered discussions could bring an end to the siege.

“When the discussions started, we expressed hopes that the siege would be finally lifted,” Khaled Al-Qadhi, a photographer, told Arab News by telephone from the besieged city.




A demonstrator joins a protest demanding the end of the Taiz blockade. (AFP)

“But the hopes vanished when the Houthi negotiators showed up in talks with military uniform.”

The Iran-backed Houthis have imposed a siege on Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, for the past seven years after they failed to capture the city after fierce resistance from government troops.

The Houthis blocked the main entrances and roads that link the city with Aden, Sanaa and Hodeidah and planted landmines and deployed snipers to target people attempting to pass through the blocked roads.

Al-Qadhi said that the Houthi siege has forced many patients battling cancer and kidney failure into using unpaved and steep roads to reach health facilities in the city.

“Some people in Taiz see their houses in the Houthi-controlled side of the city but cannot visit them due to the siege,” Al-Qadhi said.

“They have to travel for seven to eight hours to reach them,” the photographer added.

“The economic situation here is very difficult.”

Discussions between the government and the Houthis began on Wednesday and were meant to reach an agreement on opening roads in Taiz and the other provinces under the UN-brokered truce.

The Yemeni government negotiators said that the Houthis resisted the idea of opening the main roads in Taiz and they suggested opening a new narrow road.

Local media reports said that the UN Yemen envoy would be visiting the port city of Aden, the interim capital of Yemen, to discuss opening roads in Taiz and extending the truce with the president of the Presidential Leadership Council, Rashad Al-Alimi, and the government.  

Yemenis urged their leaders to reject the Houthi proposal for opening small roads, pressuring them to push for the complete lifting of the Houthi blockade and reject any renewal of the truce if the Houthis refuse to end the siege.

“We want the Presidential Council to lift the siege in any way it sees fit — militarily or politically,” Maher Al-Abesi, an activist, told Arab News.

“We want to live in peace like the rest of the provinces where people move safely between their villages and cities,” said Al-Abesi.

Other Yemenis criticized their government for accepting the opening of Sanaa airport and Hodeidah port before the Houthi lifted their siege on Taiz.

But the Yemeni government officials responded by saying that they accepted opening the airport before ending the Taiz siege as to end the Houthi excuses for not accepting peace efforts to end the war.

“This great concession during the truce was meant to build confidence and also to put the Houthis in a narrow corner to accept going to negotiations to get Yemen out of this long-running war,” Najeeb Ghallab, an undersecretary at the Information Ministry, told Arab News, adding that the Houthis will be using the truce to build up their forces outside the city before launching a new military operation to take control of it.

The International Crisis Group said on May 19 that the Houthis have no interest in ending their siege on Taiz as it allows them to choke the city economically and keep their rivals holed up.

“The Houthis have had little incentive to improve road access to the city: They control the governorate’s economic heart and are keeping their main local rivals boxed in,” the organization said.

 


Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in West Bank

Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in West Bank
Updated 7 sec ago

Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in West Bank

Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in West Bank
NABLUS: Israeli troops killed a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, the Palestinian Authority said, with Israel’s army saying soldiers fired on “armed suspects” during a routine patrol.
The army said that “hits were identified” after soldiers fired toward “armed suspects driving in a vehicle and motorcycle” near Nablus in the northern West Bank, an area that has seen near daily violence in recent months.

President Alimi, UN Secretary General discuss peace efforts in Yemen

President Alimi, UN Secretary General discuss peace efforts in Yemen
Updated 25 September 2022

President Alimi, UN Secretary General discuss peace efforts in Yemen

President Alimi, UN Secretary General discuss peace efforts in Yemen

Dubai: Head of the Presidential Leadership Council in Yemen, Rashad al-Alimi, discussed on Saturday peace efforts with Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly's meetings.
Alimi welcomed the role of the UN and its secretary general’s efforts to stop the war in Yemen and to alleviate the severity of Yemen's crisis, state news agency SABA reported.
Alimi discussed the latest developments in Yemen, economic, service and right reforms adopted by the Presidential Council and the government..
The secretary general confirmed the commitment of the UN in supporting the presidential council and the government and mobilizing necessary resources to alleviate humanitarian suffering.
He also confirmed employing all efforts to tighten the truce and renewing it, resuming the political process and enabling Yemeni people to build their state.


German Chancellor arrives in UAE after Saudi Arabia visit

German Chancellor arrives in UAE after Saudi Arabia visit
Updated 25 September 2022

German Chancellor arrives in UAE after Saudi Arabia visit

German Chancellor arrives in UAE after Saudi Arabia visit
  • Scholz is scheduled to visit Qatar before going back to Berlin on Sunday night

DUBAI: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in the UAE Saturday night on the second leg of a two-day tour to the Gulf region.

Scholz was welcomed by the UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, and several officials at the Presidential Terminal of the Abu Dhabi International Airport, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

Earlier, Scholz left Saudi Arabia after meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Both leaders reviewed aspects of Saudi-German relations and areas of partnership between the two countries, in addition to discussing prospects for bilateral cooperation and opportunities for its development in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Scholz, accompanied by a large delegation that includes representatives of several economic sectors, is scheduled to visit Qatar before going back to Berlin on Sunday night.


Amid unrest, Iranian Guard attacks militant group in Iraq

Amid unrest, Iranian Guard attacks militant group in Iraq
Updated 25 September 2022

Amid unrest, Iranian Guard attacks militant group in Iraq

Amid unrest, Iranian Guard attacks militant group in Iraq
  • The Guard’s ground forces fired artillery from positions within Iran’s West Azerbaijan province
  • Some members of a separatist group were arrested by intelligence forces

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Saturday attacked a Kurdish militant group’s base located in the north of neighboring Iraq, state media said, a week after widespread anti-government protests began over a young woman’s death in police custody.

IRNA said the Guard’s ground forces fired artillery from positions within Iran’s West Azerbaijan province, attacking what it described as a “terrorist group” based across the border in Iraq. The report did not elaborate.

IRNA also said some members of a separatist group, so-called “Komleh” in Iran, were arrested by intelligence forces, without giving details.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency, believed to be close to Iran’s military, quoted the Guard’s statement as saying the operation will continue in order to ensure border security.

Tasnim added that the attack targeted the bases of Kurdish separatist groups in the north of Iraq and took place at 16:00 local time, and caused serious damage to them.

The Guard’s attacks were in response to the support of the separatist group for the recent unrest in the country, as well as their attempt to import weapons into Iran, the report said.
The death of a 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini, who died in custody after being detained by Iranian morality police, has launched unrest across Iran’s provinces and capital of Tehran. Amini’s family hails from Iran’s Kurdish region.

State TV suggested Saturday that 41 protesters and policemen have been killed since the protests erupted last Saturday. He said official statistics would be released by the Interior Ministry. According to a tally by The Associated Press, there have been at least 11 deaths from both sides since protests began after Amini’s funeral.


Saudi FM calls for global support amid MENA security pressures

Saudi FM calls for global support amid MENA security pressures
Updated 25 September 2022

Saudi FM calls for global support amid MENA security pressures

Saudi FM calls for global support amid MENA security pressures
  • Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud covered security pressures in Lebanon, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen
  • Urges global community to ‘cooperate for progress’ in combating the proliferation of weapons

NEW YORK CITY: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud has reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to the UN charter, calling on the international community to strengthen cooperation amid several global challenges.

In a wide-ranging speech on the fifth day of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York City, the minister covered several major geopolitical issues across the region and the world.

Outlining how the Kingdom’s commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and its charter is underpinned by Saudi Arabia’s Islamic and Arab values, Prince Faisal said that his country supports all efforts to “silence the guns, protect civilians, and provide prospects for development and peace.”

He added that the Kingdom supports “all efforts that can bring about a political solution to put an end to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis in order to stop the fighting and preserve international and regional peace and security.”

Moving to issues in the Middle East, the foreign minister said that the Jeddah Summit for Security and Development, which saw the participation of the US and nine Arab states, was an opportunity to “confirm collective action for a better world in the region for our peoples and our countries.”

He added that “security and stability in the Middle East requires a just and global solution for the Palestinian question,” calling for Palestinian state.

Commenting on Lebanon, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, he said these countries must not become a “breeding ground” for terrorists as they endure various crises of peace and stability.

“Afghanistan must not become a basis for terrorist operations,” the prince said.

Earlier in the day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres praised the Kingdom’s efforts campaigning for a truce in Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis in the war-torn country.

Guterres made the remarks during a meeting with Prince Faisal, who covered the Yemeni crisis during his speech. The foreign minister reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to a truce in Yemen.

Prince Faisal continued on the theme of Yemen’s crisis, telling the UN General Assembly that roads must be reopened, especially around Taiz, the country’s third-largest city.

He urged partners at the 77th UN General Assembly to “cooperate for progress” in the security field, calling on “the international community to counter the proliferation of weapons,” adding that the Kingdom is campaigning for “the Middle East to become free from these weapons.”

The foreign minister also referred to Sudan and Egypt, reaffirming the Kingdom’s support for the water needs of both countries.

He added that the Kingdom is committed to fighting climate change, with Saudi Arabia making particular contributions to the Paris Agreement.

The foreign minister said that the Kingdom is committed to “gradual and responsible change to diversified energy sources that are more sustainable,” noting that the global community must take into account the different economic and energy situations in every country.

He referred to the Kingdom’s Green Initiative, adding that Saudi Arabia is focussed on protecting the environment and green areas.

Prince Faisal concluded that he hoped the Kingdom’s “spirit of partnership and respect for a better world” would help to deliver Saudi Arabia’s message to the international community.