UN Security Council highlights benefits of Yemen truce, urges all parties to uphold ceasefire

A man walks on a street in Sanaa, Yemen August 1, 2022. (Reuters)
A man walks on a street in Sanaa, Yemen August 1, 2022. (Reuters)
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Updated 13 September 2022

UN Security Council highlights benefits of Yemen truce, urges all parties to uphold ceasefire

UN Security Council highlights benefits of Yemen truce, urges all parties to uphold ceasefire
  • Council members said that since the truce was implemented there has been a 60 percent reduction in casualties and a four-fold increase in fuel shipments through Hodeidah port
  • They also reiterated their “deep concern about the catastrophic ecological, maritime and humanitarian risk posed by the Safer tanker,” a decaying oil storage vessel off the nation’s coast

LONDON: The UN Security Council on Monday highlighted the positive effects the ceasefire in Yemen is having on the country and its people.

The council said that since the implementation of the truce there has been a 60 percent reduction in casualties in the ongoing conflict and a four-fold increase in fuel shipments passing through Hodeidah port. In addition, the resumption of commercial flights to and from Sanaa has allowed 21,000 passengers to travel to receive medical treatment or reunite with their families.

Council members called on the Houthi militia and the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen to “urgently intensify, and be flexible in, the negotiations under the auspices of the UN to agree on an expanded truce that could be translated into a durable ceasefire.”

They urged both parties to intensify their engagement with UN’s special envoy to Yemen on all aspects of negotiations, and to “eschew conditionality, and ensure their economic experts work closely with the UN, to implement measures to tackle the economic and financial crises.”

The members of the Security Council welcomed the exceptional measures taken by Yemen’s government to avert fuel shortages in Houthi-controlled areas following a Houthi order that affected the established process for providing clearance for fuel shipments. They called on the Houthis to cooperate with UN-led efforts to identify a durable solution that can ensure the flow of fuel into the country.


SPECIAL INTERVIEW: There is ‘a very strong consensus’ in favor of Yemen truce continuation, says US envoy Tim Lenderking


The council condemned the Houthi militia’s recent attacks on Taiz, its military parade in Hodeidah and all “visible manifestations in violation of the Hodeidah agreement,” and urged both sides to uphold and respect human rights, including the protection of civilians, especially children.

Members called on both sides to work with the special envoy to reach an inclusive and comprehensive political settlement based on agreed references and under the auspices of the UN, and reiterated the importance of the “full, equal and meaningful participation of women in the peace process, including a minimum 30 per cent participation by women.”

They also highlighted the gravity of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country and the ever-present danger of famine, while encouraging donors to fully fund the UN humanitarian response plan and support the efforts of the Yemeni government to stabilize the economy.

Council members reiterated their “deep concern about the catastrophic ecological, maritime and humanitarian risk posed by the Safer tanker,” a decaying storage vessel containing more than 1.14 million barrels of oil that has been moored in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen with little or no maintenance since the war began in 2015.

They commended the pledges that have been made to help fund the UN operational plan for the vessel, which involves assistance from member state governments and the private sector. They underlined their expectation that the UN will be ready, as soon as the funding target has been reached, to immediately start work on the oil-transfer operation.


Ambassador of Italy to UAE: Cultural diplomacy should be ‘instrument to connect Italy, Gulf countries’  

Ambassador of Italy to UAE: Cultural diplomacy should be ‘instrument to connect Italy, Gulf countries’  
Updated 9 sec ago

Ambassador of Italy to UAE: Cultural diplomacy should be ‘instrument to connect Italy, Gulf countries’  

Ambassador of Italy to UAE: Cultural diplomacy should be ‘instrument to connect Italy, Gulf countries’  
  • Italian envoy’s remarks came on the sidelines of Arab News’ General Assembly 
  • Series of initiatives by Italian Embassy in Abu Dhabi set to launch in coming months in UAE 

DUBAI: Cultural diplomacy should be “a key factor” to improve the “already excellent relationship between Italy, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region countries,” said Ambassador of Italy to the UAE Lorenzo Fanara during his meeting in Dubai on Sunday with Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal Abbas. 

The meeting took place on the sidelines of the 2022 General Assembly of Arab News, which was also attended by the newspaper’s Assistant Editor-in-Chief Noor Nugali and its Italy correspondent Francesco Bongarra.

Abbas explained to the Italian envoy the reach and role of Arab News as the “voice of a changing region.” 

Fanara, who was appointed ambassador of Italy to the UAE after serving as an ambassador also in Tunis, stressed the importance of “cultural diplomacy” as an “instrument to connect the common history and heritage linking Italy and the Gulf countries. 

“A long-standing relationship cannot be based only on business,” the envoy said, after presenting a series of cultural initiatives the Italian Embassy in Abu Dhabi plans to organize in the next months both in the UAE capital city and Dubai. 

“Our histories and cultures are interconnected; we belong to the same cultural community. This is why we have to do our best to know each other’s heritage and enhance what unites us,” Fanara added.


Yemen foreign minister meets Italian counterpart

Yemen foreign minister meets Italian counterpart
Updated 04 December 2022

Yemen foreign minister meets Italian counterpart

Yemen foreign minister meets Italian counterpart

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed bin Mubarak, met on Sunday with the Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tijani, and discussed the political, security and humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Tijani affirmed Italy's support for efforts being made to resume negotiations to reach a peaceful resolution and end the conflict, stressing the importance of renewing and extending the armistice.

Mubarak thanked the Italian government for its firm and continuous political support of the Yemen’s internationally recognised government in its endeavor to establish peace, restore state institutions and end the Houthi coup, state news agency SABA reported.

Mubarak touched on the repeated Houthi attacks civilians, civilian infrastructure, and oil installations.

Mubarak also discussed his government’s decision to classify the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization, and called for support from the international community to implement that decision.

Mubarak spoke about the Houthi militia ties with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and their smuggling of Iranian weapons and drones.


Former British Daesh bride ‘will die without medical aid’ in Syrian camp, neurologist warns

Former British Daesh bride ‘will die without medical aid’ in Syrian camp, neurologist warns
Updated 04 December 2022

Former British Daesh bride ‘will die without medical aid’ in Syrian camp, neurologist warns

Former British Daesh bride ‘will die without medical aid’ in Syrian camp, neurologist warns
  • UK government inaction in Layla case amounts to ‘barbarism,’ says Dr. David Nicholl

LONDON: A former British Daesh bride detained in a prison camp in northeast Syria will die without medical intervention, with the UK government’s inaction amounting to “barbarism,” a neurologist told The Times.

The woman in her 40s, who is known by the pseudonym Layla, first traveled to Syria to join Daesh during the country’s conflict.

Following the collapse of the terror group and detainment of thousands of former fighters and their families, Layla — who is epileptic and partially paralyzed as a result of a shrapnel wound — has repeatedly appealed for medical aid through National Health Service consultant neurologist Dr. David Nicholl.

But despite his repeated warnings to the government that Layla will die without urgent medical aid, the government has yet to respond.

He first examined her via an online meeting late last year. Following another Zoom video call in November, Nicholl found that Layla’s condition had significantly worsened, with shrapnel in her neck having moved dangerously close to the aorta.

He said: “She’s ill and at risk of dying and needs to be got out of there and brought back immediately. It’s utterly inhumane.”

Layla, who has a university degree and held a high-level public sector job in the UK before traveling to Syria with her husband, suffered a stroke in 2019. “She has had life-changing neurological injuries as a consequence of her stroke,” Nicholl added.

“She does not speak Arabic so it is hard for her to understand the medical advice she is being given.

“It troubles me that my previous assessment has still not been acted on, the case for her urgent transfer still remains.

“Everything about this is a mess. Her son is also vulnerable and watching all this and is in a place where no child should be.”

Layla spoke to the Sunday Times in June, claiming: “I was never a threat.” She added: “Whatever people think I have done I am prepared to face trial. I made a mistake, why should my son pay?

“Life in the camp is really, really hard. It’s hard to walk on the stones with my crutches. I am embarrassed to have to ask for help for everything, and the tent is so hot and when it’s windy the whole tent moves.”

Human rights group Reprieve has also appealed to the UK government to act urgently and rescue Layla.

The organization sent a letter to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly that said: “Her condition has become critical and a local doctor told her that without urgent surgery, she will die. She requires immediate medical assistance that cannot be provided in northeast Syria.”

In response to the appeals, Cleverly told The Times: “I am not comfortable going into specific cases. They are difficult, they are sensitive, we do always look at the cases.”


Iran scraps morality police after months of deadly protests

Iran scraps morality police after months of deadly protests
Updated 04 December 2022

Iran scraps morality police after months of deadly protests

Iran scraps morality police after months of deadly protests
  • The morality police — known formally as the Gasht-e Ershad or “Guidance Patrol” — were established under hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN: Iran has scrapped its morality police after more than two months of protests triggered by the arrest of Mahsa Amini for allegedly violating the country’s strict female dress code, local media said Sunday.
Women-led protests, labelled “riots” by the authorities, have swept Iran since the 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin died on September 16, three days after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran.
“Morality police have nothing to do with the judiciary” and have been abolished, Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.
His comment came at a religious conference where he responded to a participant who asked “why the morality police were being shut down,” the report said.
The morality police — known formally as the Gasht-e Ershad or “Guidance Patrol” — were established under hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to “spread the culture of modesty and hijab,” the mandatory female head covering.
The units began patrols in 2006.
The announcement of their abolition came a day after Montazeri said that “both parliament and the judiciary are working (on the issue)” of whether the law requiring women to cover their heads needs to be changed.
President Ebrahim Raisi said in televised comments Saturday that Iran’s republican and Islamic foundations were constitutionally entrenched “but there are methods of implementing the constitution that can be flexible.”
The hijab became mandatory four years after the 1979 revolution that overthrew the US-backed monarchy and established the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Morality police officers initially issued warnings before starting to crack down and arrest women 15 years ago.
The vice squads were usually made up of men in green uniforms and women clad in black chadors, garments that cover their heads and upper bodies.
The role of the units evolved, but has always been controversial even among candidates running for the presidency.
Clothing norms gradually changed, especially under former moderate president Hassan Rouhani, when it became commonplace to see women in tight jeans with loose, colorful headscarves.
But in July this year his successor, the ultra-conservative Raisi, called for the mobilization of “all state institutions to enforce the headscarf law.”
Raisi at the time charged that “the enemies of Iran and Islam have targeted the cultural and religious values of society by spreading corruption.”
In spite of this, many women continued to bend the rules, letting their headscarves slip onto their shoulders or wearing tight-fitting pants, especially in major cities and towns.
Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia also employed morality police to enforce female dress codes and other rules of behavior. Since 2016 the force there has been sidelined in a push by the Sunni Muslim kingdom to shake off its austere image.


State news: Iran executes 4 people it says spied for Israel

State news: Iran executes 4 people it says spied for Israel
Updated 04 December 2022

State news: Iran executes 4 people it says spied for Israel

State news: Iran executes 4 people it says spied for Israel
  • Executed prisoners identified as Hossein Ordoukhanzadeh, Shahin Imani Mahmoudabadi, Milad Ashrafi and Manouchehr Shahbandi

TEHRAN: Iranian authorities executed four people Sunday accused of working for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, the state-run IRNA news agency said.
IRNA said the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard announced the arrests of a network of people linked to the Israeli agency. It said members stole and destroyed private and public property and kidnapped individuals and interrogated them.
The report said the alleged spies had weapons and received wages from Mossad in the form of cryptocurrency.
Israel and Iran are regional arch-enemies.
IRNA identified the executed prisoners as Hossein Ordoukhanzadeh, Shahin Imani Mahmoudabadi, Milad Ashrafi and Manouchehr Shahbandi.