Connect with us

FOREIGN NEWS

Yemen peace talks set to start in Sweden after nearly 4 years of deadly conflict – National

Published

on

[ad_1]

A Yemeni Houthi delegation is expected to leave for Sweden on Tuesday for U.N.-sponsored peace talks, the first since 2016, as Western nations press for an end to the war that has pushed the impoverished country to the verge of starvation.

The nearly four-year-old conflict, which has killed thousands and spawned the world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis, pits the Iranian-aligned Houthis against other Yemeni forces backed by a coalition loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

IN PHOTOS: Yemen’s civil war pushing families to live off leaves, bread crumbs

A Houthi official said their team would travel on a Kuwaiti plane accompanied by U.N. special envoy Martin Griffiths, who arrived in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa on Monday.

Hadi’s government is expected to follow the group, whose attendance was secured after the coalition allowed the evacuation of 50 wounded Houthis for treatment in Oman on Monday. Previous talks in Geneva in September had collapsed after three days when the Houthis failed to show up.

The warring parties are expected to convene in Sweden as early as Wednesday to discuss confidence-building measures and a transitional governing body, as the U.S. Senate is set to consider a resolution to end support for the war.

WATCH: Father pleads for war to end in Yemen after losing four daughters






Outrage over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has increased scrutiny of Riyadh’s activities in the region, potentially giving Western powers, which provide arms and intelligence to the coalition greater leverage to demand action.

Germany, Denmark and Sweden have suspended arms exports to Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s killing and the Yemen war. The United States halted refueling support for coalition warplanes.

The Western-backed alliance intervened in the war in 2015 to restore Hadi’s government, which was ousted from Sanaa in 2014, but has bogged down in military stalemate.

Criminal juncture

The conflict, seen as a proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran, has left more than 8 million Yemenis facing famine although the United Nations has warned that could rise to 14 million. Three-quarters of the population, or 22 million, rely on aid.

U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock said on Tuesday Yemen’s government will need billions of dollars in external support to finance its 2019 budget and avoid another currency collapse in addition to $4 billion in aid.


READ MORE:
7-year-old girl whose haunting picture put spotlight on Yemen famine dies: NYT

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Tuesday that the Sweden talks are a “critical opportunity.”

“A sustainable Yemeni led political solution offers the best chance to ending the current crisis. A stable state, important for the region, cannot coexist with unlawful militias,” he said.

Sweden’s foreign ministry has yet to announce the venue of the talks, which will focus on reopening Sanaa airport and securing a prisoner swap and a ceasefire in Hodeidah port city, a lifeline for millions that is now a focus of the war.

This would serve as a foundation for a wider truce that would halt coalition air strikes that have killed thousands of civilians and Houthi missile attacks on Saudi cities.

WATCH: UN’s Guterres says hopes to restart peace talks in Yemen before year-end






“Yemenis need immediate relief as a stepping stone to longer-term hope. The focus of the talks on the future management of the Hodeidah port and city and de-escalation of the fighting are important and welcome,” David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said in a statement.

The last available figure for the death toll from the United Nations was in 2016 and stood at more than 10,000. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, a database that tracks violence in Yemen, says around 57,000 people have been reported killed since the beginning of 2016.

In Geneva, the United Nations’ Lowcock told a news conference the government would need billions of dollars of support to finance the core functions of the state all over the country. Oil revenues, the main source of government income, had declined about 85 percent, leaving income at $2 billion.

“The country with the biggest problem in 2019 is going to be Yemen,” he said.



[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Published

on

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

Continue Reading

FOREIGN NEWS

Harris accepts VP nomination

Published

on

Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

Continue Reading

FOREIGN NEWS

Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

Published

on

Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

Continue Reading

Trending