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Archive for Yemen

Newsline: UN envoy encouraged by Yemen truce

The United Nations envoy for Yemen said on Monday he was encouraged by intensified efforts for an expanded truce deal but stressed they should seek an inclusive process for a sustainable political settlement. Hans Grundberg, addressing a U.N. Security Council briefing more than three months after an initial truce pact expired, said “we are witnessing a potential step change” in the conflict’s trajectory though the situation remained “complex and fluid”. Grundberg, speaking from the Houthi-held capital Sanaa, thanked Saudi Arabia and Oman for their diplomacy and said discussions in the past month have developed “options for mutually acceptable solutions to outstanding issues”. But he advised against a “piecemeal approach” focused on individual needs, saying talks on short-term steps should be part of a broader approach toward a sustainable resolution of a multifaceted conflict in which several parties are vying for power. (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/un-envoy-encouraged-by-yemen-truce-deal-efforts-warns-against-piecemeal-approach-2023-01-16/) The eight-year-old conflict between a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the Iran-aligned Houthi group, the de facto authorities in North Yemen, has killed tens of thousands of people, wrecked the economy and pushed millions into hunger. A U.N.-brokered truce deal agreed in April and rolled over twice delivered the longest stretch of relative calm that has largely held since its expiry on Oct. 2, though the two sides stepped up an economic war.

Newsline: US urges Yemen rebels to release its embassy employees

The United States on Wednesday called for the release of 12 embassy employees held by Houthi rebels in Yemen. “Today, we mark a somber anniversary. One year ago today, the Houthis began detaining Yemeni staff of the US Embassy in Sanaa,” US Ambassador Steven Fagin said in a statement. “The Houthis went to their homes in the middle of the night, rounded them up, and took them away,” he added. “It’s time to bring them home. I call on the Houthis to release all of them immediately so that they can be reunited with their families,” the envoy said. (https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-urges-yemen-rebels-to-release-its-embassy-employees/2715686) There was no comment from the Houthi group on the US statement.

Newsline: U.S. envoy fears “return to war” in Yemen

The American diplomat tasked with helping to end the grinding civil war in Yemen – which has claimed close to 400,000 lives and left the majority of the country’s people dependent on humanitarian aid for survival – lamented the end of a six-month ceasefire without a truce agreement to replace it. U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking told reporters on a State Department telephone briefing that he feared the failure to reach a new peace agreement would bring a “return to war.” Lenderking said that if the fighting between Yemen’s Saudi Arabian-backed central government and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who hold a huge swath of the Arabian nation, does resume, it will “bring nothing but casualties and destruction on Yemen and will create further confusion as to where this conflict is headed.” (https://news.yahoo.com/u-envoy-fears-return-war-132600310.html) The Houthis, whom Lenderking blamed for the failure of the negotiations, made it clear to CBS News that the fighting was indeed likely to resume, as they warned of an imminent “return to military operations.”

Newsline: From Yemeni diplomat to dinghy

Dr Yahya al-Rewi 60, from Yemen, has gone from diplomat to dinghy: he was president of his government’s national information centre, part of the interior ministry. “Before all the problems started I travelled from country to country by plane using my diplomatic passport. When I arrived at airports I didn’t have to queue as I was taken through the special gate for diplomats. At that time all the doors were open for me. Now they are closed. I had no choice but to cross the Channel to the UK in a dinghy to try to reach safety.” (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/sep/24/from-diplomat-to-dinghy-why-people-are-risking-the-channel-in-small-boats) He wept as he told how he was forced to flee Yemen because of the conflict there, arriving in Switzerland in April 2019 on his diplomatic passport, and claiming asylum. While there he was attacked and blinded in one eye, he believes by political opponents because he had previously spoken out against corruption in Yemen. “After that attack my life was in constant danger in Switzerland. I travelled by train to France on 10 July 2020 and spent four days in Calais before crossing to the UK in a dinghy,” he said. He is listed as a governor at the UN body the Economic and Social Commission for western Asia Technology Center, and is an expert in informatics.

Newsline: Morocco pulls out of Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, recalls ambassador to Riyadh

Move comes after a year of slow diplomatic breakdown concurrent with rise to power of Saudi crown prince. Morocco’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia has been told to remain in home capital Rabat for ‘consultations.’ Mustapha Mansouri was told by his superiors that he should not go back to Riyadh following a week-long visit back home, a move that is seen by observers as a way to express the North African kingdom’s dissatisfaction with the Saudi regime. Moroccan officials also confirmed the country was pulling its troops out of a Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen’s government in a civil war that has become a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, throwing the country into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The decision seemed to have been sparked by the broadcast last week of a documentary doubting Morocco’s claims over the disputed Western Sahara region on the Saudi government-owned Al Arabiya. The documentary came just a month after Morocco’s foreign minister Nasser Bourita expressed concerns over the humanitarian situation in Yemen in an interview with Qatari channel Al Jazeera.


Newsline: Saudi Embassy Claims “Hostage” Situation Off Yemen

Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Washington, D.C. asserted that Houthi militia forces have taken 19 vessels “hostage” off Hodeidah, Yemen. The claim has not been independently verified. In a post on its website, the embassy wrote that Houthi rebels are “holding hostage 19 ships” at an anchorage off Hodeidah. The announcement suggested that the vessels are carrying a combined total of 200,000 tons of “petroleum byproducts,” and it raised concerns that the rebels could intend to destroy the ships and release pollutants into the Red Sea. While the embassy’s announcement asserted that the vessels have been “detained” and blocked from entering the port, it did not specify whether Houthi personnel have boarded and seized the vessels, nor whether any of the ships have been prevented from departing.


Newsline: Iran Accused of Turning its Embassy in Sana’a into Military Camp

Iran turned its embassy in Sana’a into insurgents’ military operation room, indicated Yemen’s Foreign Ministry. The Ministry issued a statement strongly condemning Iran’s constant negative interference in the Yemeni internal issue to support the insurgency, encouraging chaos and instability in Yemen, all of which is an extension to Tehran’s sabotaging roles in the region. In a statement which the Yemeni News Agency (Saba) received a copy of, the Ministry said: “Iran has turned its embassy in Sanaa into a military camp and training center for the insurgency militia.” The embassy also became a military operations room in which Iranian military advisers meet with the coup leaders, and it serves as storage for weapons, explosive devices and missiles that pose threat to local residents in Sanaa and to other Yemeni provinces and neighboring countries, according to the Ministry.


Newsline: UN chief appoints former British diplomat envoy to Yemen

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed a former British diplomat as special envoy to war-torn Yemen. A U.N. spokesman announced the appointment of Martin Griffiths on Friday, saying he will replace Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. Ahmed had been in the post for three years. His contract expires at the end of the month. Griffiths is the executive director of the European Institute of Peace and has served in multiple U.N. roles.


Newsline: US cuts staff in Yemen years after embassy closed

Three years after Yemen’s civil war forced the U.S. embassy to close, the State Department has laid off 360 local staff members, according to Reuters. Ambassador Matthew Tueller said in a letter obtained by the news agency that U.S. regulations on suspended embassies prevented him from keeping the staff members employed. Workers will get full severance payments and are encouraged to reapply when the embassy reopens, Tueller reportedly said. “We are extremely grateful for the service of each and every one of these individuals and hope to work with them at some point in the future when we can safely resume operations in Yemen,” a State Department official said, according to Reuters. In 2015, the United States closed its embassy in Yemen as the country descended into civil war. The conflict led the former Yemeni president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his staff to go into exile in Saudi Arabia. The U.S. ambassador to Yemen is also currently operating out of Saudi Arabia.


Newsline: Russia temporarily shuts, evacuates Yemen embassy

Russia removed all of its diplomatic personnel from Yemen and has temporarily shut its embassy there, the country’s Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday. Russia’s ambassador to Yemen and other diplomats would continue to fulfill their duties from Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement carried by Russian state media. The decision to temporarily close the embassy, located in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, was attributed to thedeteriorating security situation in the country. “Considering the situation in Sanaa, a decision has been taken to temporarily suspend Russia’s diplomatic presence in Yemen. All employees of the Russian embassy have left the country,” Zakharova was quoted by news agencies as saying.