Posts Tagged ‘Anwar Gargash’

UAE welcomes ‘early convening’ of UN-led Yemen talks in Sweden

November 15, 2018

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, said on Wednesday the Emirates welcomes the early convening of UN-led Yemen talks in Sweden.

Yemeni pro-government forces gather at a checkpoint in a street on the eastern outskirts of Hodeidah. (AFP)

The UAE along with Saudi Arabia is a leading member of the Arab Coalition supporting pro-government troops in the war against the Iran-backed Houthi militia.

The UN said it planned to reconvene peace talks in Sweden by the end of the year. The last attempt in Geneva collapsed when the Houthi delegation failed to arrive.

د. أنور قرقاش

@AnwarGargash

We welcome early convening of UN-led talks in Sweden. At UNSC meeting on Friday, Coalition will urge all parties to take advantage of window of opportunity to restart political process.
We look forward to hosting Martin Griffiths this week in Abu Dhabi.

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“We welcome early convening of UN-led talks in Sweden,” Gargash, tweeted. He said the coalition would “urge all parties to take advantage of window of opportunity to restart the political process” at a UN Security Council meeting on Friday.

“We look forward to hosting (UN Yemen envoy) Martin Griffiths this week in Abu Dhabi,” Gargash added.

Fighting intensified this month around the crucial port of Hodeidah, which has been helf by the Houthis since they triggered the war in 2014 by seizing control of the capital Sanaa. The fighting has died down in recent days amid a flurry of diplomacy to bring a ceasefire to the city.

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1404896/middle-east

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UAE supports ‘early convening’ of UN Yemen talks

November 14, 2018

The United Arab Emirates, a leading member of a pro-government coalition fighting in Yemen, said Wednesday it supports a UN plan for peace talks to be held in Sweden by the year’s end.

“We welcome early convening of UN-led talks in Sweden,” the UAE state minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, tweeted in English.

Gargash said the pro-government coalition would “urge all parties to take advantage of window of opportunity to restart the political process” at a UN Security Council meeting on Friday.

“We look forward to hosting (UN Yemen envoy) Martin Griffiths this week in Abu Dhabi,” Gargash added.

Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, speaks during a press conference in Dubai about the situation in Yemen on August 13, 2018. (File photo / AFP)
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After failed peace talks in September, the UN is pushing to host a new round of negotiations between the Yemeni government alliance, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the country’s Iran-linked Huthi rebels by the end of the year.

The United States, Britain and France — three of the main arms suppliers to Saudi Arabia — have also called for an end to nearly four years of conflict, particularly in the Red Sea city of Hodeida.

The Saudi-led alliance this month stepped up an offensive to take Hodeida, controlled by the Huthis since 2014. The city is home to Yemen’s most valuable port, crucial for food imports and aid delivery.

The Hodeida campaign has sparked fears of a new humanitarian crisis in war-hit, impoverished Yemen, where 14 million people face mass starvation.

AFP

UAE blames Iran’s ‘aggressive policies’ for U.S. sanctions

November 3, 2018

The United Arab Emirates’ minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said on Saturday that Iran’s “aggressive policies” were “largely responsible” for the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

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Anwar Gargash

Washington will on Monday reintroduce far-reaching sanctions on Iran’s vital oil sales and banking sectors to try to force the Islamic Republic into negotiations to scrap its nuclear energy and ballistic missile programs and end its support for proxies in conflicts across the Middle East.

Iran’s top leader was earlier reported as saying that U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies face opposition across the world as Washington prepared to reimpose sanctions on Iran’s vital oil-exporting and financial sectors.

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Alexander Smith

Reuters

Apple watch worn by Saudi journalist may have transmitted evidence of his death, Turkish paper reports

October 13, 2018

Missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi may have recorded his own death, a Turkish newspaper reported Saturday morning.

Khashoggi turned on the recording function of his Apple Watch before walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 , according to Sabah newspaper.
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The moments of his “interrogation, torture and killing were audio recorded and sent to both his phone and to iCloud,” the pro-government, privately owned newspaper paper reported. The Turkish newspaper said conversations of the men involved in the reported assassination were recorded.
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Security forces leading the investigation found the audio file inside the phone Khasshoggi left with his fiancé, according to Sabah.
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Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
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Upon noticing the watch, Sabah reports, Khashoggi’s assailants tried to unlock the Apple Watch with multiple password attempts, ultimately using Khashoggi’s fingerprint to unlock the smart watch. They were successful in deleting only some of the files, Sabah reported.
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However, on its website, Apple does not list fingerprint verification as one of the Apple Watch’s capabilities. A representative from the company confirmed to CNN the watches do not have the feature.
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It was not immediately clear whether it would have been technically feasible for Khashoggi’s Apple phone to transfer audio to his phone, which he had given to his fiancee before entering the consulate.
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CNN cannot independently verify Sabah report and is seeking comment from both Saudi and Turkish officials.
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Mohammed Bin Salman
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images
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Saudi Arabia firmly denies any involvement in his disappearance and says he left the consulate that afternoon. His fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside the consulate, says she did not see him re-emerge.
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Turkey has called on Saudi officials to provide evidence that he left the consulate, as they claim.
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Saudi Arabia Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz said reports that the Saudi government ordered the killing of Khashoggi are “lies and baseless allegations against the government of the Kingdom,” according to a statement in the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) published early Saturday.
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Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia’s minister of interior. (SPA)
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Abdulaziz also said “some media” have circulated “false accusations” regarding Khashoggi’s disappearance.
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On Friday, a source familiar with the ongoing investigation told CNN that Turkish authorities have audio and visual evidence that showed Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate. But it was unclear how Turkish authorities obtained the evidence.
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The evidence, which was described to the source by a Western intelligence agency, showed there had been an assault and a struggle inside the consulate. There is also evidence of the moment that Khashoggi was killed, the source said.
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Turkish security units analyzed how Khashoggi’s reported killing unfolded with the use of a translator, according to Sabah.
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Sabah also reported that investigation units are currently examining all cell phone and landline records from the consulate and the consul general’s residence on October 2.
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Efforts to locate Khashoggi’s body are ongoing, Sabah reported.
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Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, went into the consulate to obtain paperwork that would allow him to marry his Turkish fiancée. He hasn’t been seen in public since.
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CCTV images show Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
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The Washington Post reported late Thursday that the Turkish government had told US officials that it was in possession of audio and video recordings proving that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, citing unnamed US and Turkish sources.
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The audio recording in particular provided “persuasive and gruesome evidence” that a Saudi team dispatched to Istanbul was responsible for Khashoggi’s death, the Post reported.
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“You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic,” one person with knowledge of the recording told the Post. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.”
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International pressure has mounted on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi, a former Saudi royal insider who became a critic of the regime and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is known colloquially as MBS.
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The business world has also signaled its disquiet, with British tycoon Richard Branson saying he’s pulling back from two tourism projects in Saudi Arabia and has suspended discussions with Riyadh about a $1 billion investment in Virgin’s space companies. Business leaders have also started pulling out of a key conference hosted by MBS in late October.
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CNN confirmed Friday that it too would no longer participate in the Saudi Future Investment Initiative conference, known as “Davos in the desert.” CNN was a media partner for the event.
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US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reaffirmed his commitment to attend the Riyadh summitwhile expressing concerns about Khashoggi’s status.
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“The conference is on for now, I am going,” he told reporters Saturday at the International Monetary Fund’s annual meeting in Indonesia.
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He also suggested that his plans could change as details from the investigation are released.
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Focus on 15 Saudi men

Turkish authorities believe 15 Saudi men who arrived in Istanbul on October 2 were connected to Khashoggi’s disappearance and possible killing. At least some of them appear to have high-level connections in the Saudi government.
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On Thursday, a US official familiar with the intelligence told CNN that the US had intercepts of Saudi officials discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him.
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Washington’s “working assumption” is that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate in Istanbul, according to a US official familiar with the latest intelligence. “We are pretty clear eyed it is likely to have happened and it didn’t end well,” the official said. The source did caution that this was the latest assessment and no conclusions had been made.
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An aerial image of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
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A source who knows Khashoggi told CNN that Saudi authorities made several attempts to reach out to Khashoggi in 2017, including proposing he lead a think tank funded by the state. The source says that Khashoggi rejected the ideas and over the following months his much sharper criticism of the government, in its domestic policy and relating to the crisis with Qatar, ended any dialogue.
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The source, who maintains high-level contact inside the kingdom, says that senior figures in the Royal Court in Riyadh were especially infuriated by Khashoggi’s criticism of the decision by the Saudi authorities to classify in September 2017 the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi as terrorists. At the same time, the source says, Khashoggi became more wary of returning to the kingdom.
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Three days before his disappearance, Khashoggi — speaking to a BBC journalist in an off-air conversation after a radio interview — said he did not think he would ever be able to return to Saudi Arabia.
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Asked when he might be able to go home again, Khashoggi says: “I don’t think I’ll be able to.”
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The BBC several days ago said it decided to publish the off-air conversation “in light of the current circumstances.”
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“When I hear of an arrest of a friend who did nothing… makes me feel I shouldn’t go,” Khashoggi is heard saying. “That friend of mine… maybe he was talking critically over something at a dinner party. That’s what we are becoming in Saudi Arabia, we are not used to that, we never experienced [this],” he added.
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A delegation from Saudi Arabia has arrived in Turkey for the investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported Friday.
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Trump rules out immediate action on arms sales

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US President Donald Trump has said his administration was being “very tough” with Saudi Arabia as it investigates Khashoggi’s case.
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But Trump said Thursday that he was reluctant to take action, particularly on the issue of arms sales. “There are other things we can do,” he told reporters at the White House.
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“I don’t like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States because you know what they’re going to do, they’re going to take that money and spend it in Russia or China,” Trump said, referring to a US arms deal with Saudi Arabia. “If it turns out to be as bad as it might be, there are certainly other ways of handling the situation.”
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The US signed a nearly $110 billion defense deal with Saudi Arabia in May 2017, when Trump made Saudi Arabia a stop on his first foreign trip as president. The stop was seen, in part, as an endorsement of the strong relationship between Trump, Jared Kushner — his son-in-law and senior adviser — and bin Salman.
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France’s Foreign Ministry said it had demanded that Saudi Arabia provide a “complete and detailed response” with regard to the reported killing of Khashoggi, whose disappearance “raises serious questions about his fate.”
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“France demands that the facts are clearly established,” the ministry said.
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Gulf Arab states came out in support of Saudi Arabia, however, in the first wave of official reactions from its neighbors.
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In a tweet Thursday, the United Arab Emirates’ Foreign Minister, Anwar Gargash, called media reports on the matter “a fierce campaign” run in coordination with “inciting parties.”
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United Arab Emirates’ Foreign Minister, Anwar Gargash
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“The repercussions of political targeting of Saudi Arabia will be dire on those who inflame it,” he said.
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Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmad, said that “Saudi Arabia is the target, not the search for truth.”
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Turkish investigation

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Saudi officials had agreed to allow Ankara to inspect the consulate as part of Turkey’s investigation into the missing journalist. But it was not clear Friday whether this inspection had taken place. A senior Turkish official speaking on the condition of anonymity had previously told CNN that “the Saudis are not cooperating fully with the investigation. They are not open to cooperating.”
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On Friday, a Saudi official said that he “welcomed” an announcement by the Turkish President to form a joint team of experts from both countries to investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance and that he was “fully confident of the team’s ability to accomplish the mission,” according to a statement from the Center for International Communication at the Saudi Information Ministry.
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He said the “Kingdom attached utmost priority to its citizens’ safety and security, irrespective of their location.”
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Sabah, a pro-government private newspaper in Turkey, on Tuesday listed 15 names alongside photographs of men who authorities believe were flown into Istanbul from Riyadh. The state-run Anadolu news agency later published similar details on eight of the individuals.
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One of the Saudi men was identified by Turkey’s official Anadolu Agency and Sabah as Salah Muhammed al-Tubaiqi. He is listed on an official Saudi health website as the head of the forensic medicine department at the interior ministry.
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Salah Muhammad al-Tubaiqi, head of the forensic medicine department at the Saudi interior ministry.
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Another member of the group identified by Turkish official media, Muhammad Saad al-Zahrani, has appeared on Saudi state TV alongside MBS.
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See also:
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Trump Says He Will Speak With Saudi Arabia’s King Salman About Missing Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

http://time.com/5423878/trump-saudi-arabia/

and

Companies back away from Saudi business over missing journalist

https://www.axios.com/companies-saudi-arabia-conference-khashoggi-disappearance-153deaec-1282-4723-91f2-2ea8998d5fe2.html

Yemen peace talks collapse in Geneva after Houthi no-show

September 8, 2018

Yemen peace talks collapsed on Saturday after three days of waiting for the Houthi movement delegation, but the United Nations envoy vowed to press ahead with diplomacy.

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UN envoy Martin Griffiths addresses a news conference in Geneva on September 8, 2018. Reuters

The Houthi’s failure to come to Geneva for the first talks in three years was “the elephant in the room”, but did not signify the peace process was deadlocked, U.N. Special Envoy Martin Griffiths said.

Griffiths, who held three days of talks with a Yemeni government delegation, said he would meet in coming days with the Houthi leadership in Sanaa and Muscat, Oman.

“They would have like to get here, we didn’t make conditions sufficiently correct to get them here,” Griffiths told a news conference, declining to elaborate.

The Houthi group said on Friday it was still waiting for the United Nations to guarantee that the flight carrying its delegation to Geneva would not be inspected by Saudi coalition forces and could evacuate some of its wounded.

Griffiths, referring to peace processes, said on Saturday: “A restart is a very delicate, fragile moment. People are coming at a time when perhaps all of their constituencies are not fully engaged and don’t see ahead of time results that will come out of talks.

“So I don’t take this as a fundamental blockage in the process,” he added.

Confidence-building measures such as prisoner releases, increasing humanitarian access, especially to the city of Taiz, and reopening Sanaa airport were discussed with the government, he said.

Agreement has been reached for medical evacuations from the Houthi-held Yemeni capital of Sanaa, to start in a week with a flight to Cairo, he said, calling it an “early achievement”.

A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen’s war against the Houthis in 2015 with the aim of restoring the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The humanitarian situation has worsened sharply since, putting 8.4 million people on the brink of starvation and ruining the already weak economy.

Yemeni foreign minister Khaled al-Yamani, who led the government delegation, accused the Houthis of being “totally irresponsible” and of “trying to sabotage the negotiations”.

“If they were sincere in reaching peace, they should have come, even if we were meeting in separate rooms,” he told a separate news conference before leaving the Swiss city.

Yamani also strongly criticized Griffiths, who took over as mediator in February.

“We want the U.N. to be firmer in bringing the other party to the negotiations,” he said.

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Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab states, tweeted: “Despite the serious setback in Geneva the way forward is still a political solution. What is perhaps clearer now to the international community is the unwillingness of the Houthis to engage in good faith with such a process.”

Yemen pro-govt forces seize Hodeida airport from rebels

June 20, 2018

Emitari-backed Yemeni government forces seized Hodeida airport from Huthi rebels on Wednesday, the coalition said, in a major step towards retaking the key Red Sea port city.

“The airport was completely cleared, Thank God, and is under control,” coalition commander for the Red Sea coast, Abdul Salaam al-Shehi, said in a video posted by the United Arab Emirates’ official WAM news agency.

Last Wednesday, government forces launched an offensive to clear Hodeida of rebel fighters who have held it since 2014, raising UN concerns for vital aid shipments and commercial food imports through the city’s docks.

© AFP | Emitari-backed Yemeni government forces advance into Hodeida airport on June 19, 2018 in a major step towards recapturing the strategic Red Sea port city from Shiite rebels. .UAE-backed Yemeni government forces fought their way into Hodeida airport today, pressing an offensive that has seen some of the most intense fighting of a three-year war against Shiite Huthi rebels.

The airport is disused but housed a major rebel base just inland from the coast road into the city from the south.

It lies just eight kilometres (five miles) from the city’s port, through which three-quarters of Yemen’s imports pass, providing a lifeline for some 22 million people dependent on aid.

UN envoy Martin Griffiths held four days of talks in the rebel-held capital Sanaa in a bid to avert an all-out battle for the city but flew out on Tuesday without announcing any breakthrough.

The United Arab Emirates and other members of a Saudi-led coalition that intervened in support of the government in 2015 have accused regional arch foe Iran of using Hodeida as conduit for arms smuggling to the rebels. Tehran has denied the allegation.

AFP

Saudi-led coalition storms Yemen’s Hodeidah airport compound

June 19, 2018

Troops backed by a Saudi-led coalition stormed the airport compound of Yemen’s main port city Hodeidah on Tuesday after fierce battles with Iran-aligned Houthis fighting to defend their sole port, residents and Yemeni military sources said.

Hodeidah port's cranes are pictured from a nearby shantytown in Hodeidah, Yemen

FILE PHOTO: Hodeidah port’s cranes are pictured from a nearby shantytown in Hodeidah, Yemen June 16, 2018. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad

The capture of the airport would be an important gain for the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who have said they can seize the heavily defended city quickly enough to avoid interrupting aid to millions facing starvation.

“They have stormed the airport,” an anti-Houthi Yemeni military source told Reuters.

A resident also said the compound had been stormed.

“This is the first time we hear the clashes so clearly. We can hear the sound of artillery and machinegun fire,” the resident, who requested anonymity, told Reuters, adding that warplanes bombarded the airport earlier in the morning.

The Western-backed alliance launched the onslaught on Hodeidah seven days ago in order to turn the tables in a long-stalemated proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran that has compounded instability across the Middle East.

The upsurge in fighting has wounded and displaced dozens of civilians and hampered the work of aid groups in the port city, which is a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.

The United Nations says 22 million Yemenis depend on aid, and 8.4 million are on the verge of starvation.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Monday that the coalition was taking a measured approach to minimize risks to civilians, and allowing the Houthis an escape route inland to their bastion in the capital Sanaa.

Additional reporting by Maha El Dahan; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Robert Birsel

Reuters

UAE’s Gargash: Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time

June 18, 2018

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthis for control of Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah will take a “calculated and gradual” approach to the battle, a senior United Arab Emirates official said on Monday.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the military alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE was taking into consideration a “fragile humanitarian situation,” avoiding civilian casualties in addition to military calculations.

Gargash, speaking to reporters in Dubai, estimated the number of Houthi fighters in Hodeidah at between 2,000 to 3,000. He declined to reveal the size of coalition forces but said they had “numerical superiority.”

He said that the Arab coalition’s full control of Hodeidah only a matter of time.

This image grab taken from a AFPTV video shows Yemeni pro-government forces firing a heavy machine gun at the south of Hodeida airport. (AFP)

Gargash added that the Hodeidah port is a “major artery” for weapons smuggling from Iran to the Houthis.

“The liberation of Hodeidah is a major step in freeing Sanaa,” the UAE minister said, adding that “the roads leading to the port are filled with mines.”

France is said to be helping the Arab coalition in demining the roads.

“We have opened the road from Hodeidah to Sanaa to allow the militias to flee without resistance,” Gargash said.

The UN envoy for Yemen carried a plan to halt fighting around the key aid port of Hodeidah where Houthi militia have been battling a regional coalition as he arrived Saturday in the militia-held capital Sanaa for emergency talks.

Martin Griffiths was expected to propose to militia leaders that they cede control of the Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee and halt heavy clashes against advancing government troops backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

(With AFP – Reuters)

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1323291/middle-east

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Yemen army offers safe routes for Hodeidah civilians — Iran looms large

June 18, 2018

“Unless they get the green light from their leaders in Iran they will never give up their weapons or surrender in peace and spare the innocent citizens in Hodeidah and the rest of the Yemeni territories under their control their atrocities.”

Houthi militants willing to put down their weapons would also be given safe passage, the army said. — The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Sunday that nearly 5,000 families have been displaced from Hodeidah province this month.

Forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition pushed their offensive to recapture Hodeidah. (AFP)

The Yemeni army said on Sunday it was ready to open safe corridors for civilians who want to leave Hodeidah.

Houthi militants willing to put down their weapons would also be given safe passage, the army said.

Fighting continued to rage around Yemen’s largest port as forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition pushed their offensive to recapture the city. Coalition jets bombed the airport as pro-government forces moved closer to dislodging the militants.

The UAE, a main coalition partner, said the operation was designed to help the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, to persuade the Houthis to withdraw.

“We are at a turning point, because as long as the Houthis hold Hodeidah, they will continue to impede the political process,” Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, said on Twitter. “We firmly believe that the liberation of Hodeidah will pull the Houthis back to the negotiating table.”

The people of Hodeidah did not want to be governed by “Iranian backed religious extremists,” he said. “We will continue to focus on our two main goals: To protect the flow of humanitarian aid and to protect civilians.”

The Yemeni military said about 500 Houthis had been killed in the battle for Hodeidah, which is a crucial aid supply line, but also a conduit for supplies of Iranian arms to the militants.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Sunday that nearly 5,000 families have been displaced from Hodeidah province this month.

Yemeni government spokesperson Rajeh Badi told Arab News the Houthi militias understand only the language of force.

He said they were not optimistic about the outcome of talks between Griffiths and the Houthi leaders.

“Unless they get the green light from their leaders in Iran they will never give up their weapons or surrender in peace and spare the innocent citizens in Hodeidah and the rest of the Yemeni territories under their control their atrocities,” Badi said.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1323046/middle-east

Saudi Arabia planning to turn Qatar into an island?

April 10, 2018

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia could consider a proposal to dig a maritime canal along the kingdom’s border with Qatar, turning the peninsula-nation into an island and transforming its only land border into a military zone and nuclear waste site, state-linked Saudi newspapers reported on Monday.

The project has not been given official approval and faces many obstacles. Still, the proposal signals a new low in the 10-month-old feud between Qatar and a quartet of nations that includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain.

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The four accuse Qatar of sponsoring terrorism because of its support for Islamist opposition groups in the region and its warm relations with Iran. Qatar denies the allegations and says the moves attempt to undermine its sovereignty.

Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, met in Washington on Monday with US defence secretary Jim Mattis. He is scheduled to meet President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia’s Sabq and al-Riyadh newspapers carried nearly identical reports on Monday saying that under the proposal, Saudi Arabia would transform part of its side of the border with Qatar into a military base and another area would become a dump site for waste from nuclear reactors the kingdom wants to build. The UAE, meanwhile, would also build a nuclear waste site at the closest point near its border with Qatar.

An earlier report by Sabq newspaper ran with a headline saying the canal project would “turn Qatar into an island” and would take just 12 months to complete. The so-called Salwa Marine Canal project would be funded by Saudi and Emirati investors and dug by Egyptian companies with experience in the Suez Canal.

Sabq reports the canal would span the entirety of the border with Qatar, creating waterfront coastline for resorts, private beaches and Gulf cruise liners. The canal, estimated to cost 2.8 billion riyals ($750 million), would stretch 200 meters wide (656 feet) wide and up to 20 meters deep (66 feet).

Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, became the first high-ranking official to comment on the proposal. In a string of tweets, he said the project is “proof of Qatar’s failure to manage and solve its crisis”. Qatari government spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Associated Press

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/saudi-planning-to-turn-qatar-into-an-island/articleshow/63690171.cms