Friday, February 12, 2010

Russia welcomes decision of stopping military operations in northwest region

MOSCOW, Feb.12 (Saba)- Russia welcomed on Friday the decision of President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stop military operations in the northwest region of Yemen.

According to the statement of the Russian foreign ministry, the Russian government re renewed its steady position which supports efforts of the Yemeni government to enhance security and stability as well as tackle its social and economic issues.

On Thursday president Saleh chaired the meeting of the Parliament-Shura committee in charge of overseeing the implementation of the ceasefire conditions that the Houthi rebels accepted on Monday.

The committee was briefed on Slash's decision on halting the military operations in the northwest region.

The meeting also dealt with the responsibilities of the committee and other committees that would be responsible for brining peace into the region and dealing with the post-war consequences and reporting on the ravaged areas to rebuild them. President Saleh stressed the importance of the role of the committee, urging it should bear sense of responsibility.

Houthi still away from peace deal

SAADA, Feb. 12 (Saba) – The Houthi rebels did not stick to the peace deal announced on Thursday that ended the six-year war in northern Yemen, with their representatives agreed to be part of the committees overseeing the implementation of the peace terms not sent.

Though the ceasefire was put into effect Thursday at midnight and that al-Houthi pledged to start implementing the terms once this happens, the insurgents committed violations today, hours after the deal, an official said on Friday.

The Houthi must be held countable for violations including an attempt to assassinate deputy Interior minister Muhammad al-Qawsi, killing a soldier in Al Akab district and not sending his representatives to their workplaces, the official said.

Heads of the committees formed to supervise the implementation of the peace deal terms between the government and the Houthi militants arrived early today to the areas where they start their jobs.

On Thursday, President Saleh presided over the meeting of the Parliament-Shura Committee in charge of overseeing implementing the deal, ordering to stop the military operations in the northwest region as from 12:00 am.

Based on the decision of the Supreme Defense Council on Monday that was issued after the council received the letter of Abdul Malik al-Houthi in which he announced their acceptance of the terms and the mechanism to implement them, we decided to stop the operations, Saleh told the committee.

Four committees were formed during the meeting: a committee for Harf Sufyan and Jawf area, a committee for Almalaheedh area, a committee for Saada and the fourth was for the areas on the border with Saudi Arabia.

The deal ended a six-year war between the army and the insurgents that displaced, according to the UN 250000 people, and in recent months brought in Saudi Arabia after Houthi infiltrators took Saudi lands.

Yemen takes part in Arab economic meeting in Kuwait

KUWAIT, Feb. 12 (Saba)- The Republic of Yemen, represented by Minister of Industry and Trade Yahya al-Mutawakil, took part in meetings of the 85th round of the Arab Countries Economic and Social Council which was held on Thursday in Kuwait.

In the meeting, the minister presented a vision of Yemen on the economic situations which the least developing countries pass through and the nature of differences in the economic levels of the member states in the region, in addition to the strong competition among them.

The Council discussed, with the participation of Arab concerned ministers, a number of issues and topics in the round's agenda represented by following up implementation decision of Kuwait economic and social summit and the World Trade Organization.

It assigned the Arab League's General Assembly to prepare a study on the special requirements of the least developing countries and present them to the Council as the issue has gain consideration of all Arab countries.

UK''s spy agency chief defends MI5 amid coverup claims

LONDON, Feb 12 (Saba) -- The head of the British domestic intelligence service, MI5, has strongly defended the work of the Security Service in the face of damaging accusations that it had sought to cover up its involvement in the torture of detainees, according Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

In an article in The Daily Telegraph newspaper Friday, Director-General Jonathan Evans said claims by one of the country's most senior judges that there was a "culture of suppression" within the service were "the precise opposite of the truth." It also emerged that Evans had contacted the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) to deny claims that MI5 withheld documents relating to the treatment of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed.

Evans's rare public statement came after documents released last Wednesday at the Court of Appeal showed that the Master of the Rolls, the most senior judge, Lord Neuberger, severely criticised MI5 in a draft ruling relating to Mohamed's case.
He said the service had a "culture of suppression" and accused it of failing to respect human rights and of deliberately misleading ISC and Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

However, Evans said MI5 was simply seeking to protect the country from "enemies" who would use "all the tools and their disposal" - including propaganda - to attack.
"We will do all that we can to keep the country safe from terrorist attack. We will use all the powers available to us under the law," he wrote in his Telegraph article.
"For their part, our enemies will also seek to use all tools at their disposal to attack us. That means not just bombs, bullets and aircraft but also propaganda.

"Their freedom to extremist views is part of the price we pay for living in a democracy, and it is a price worth paying." The paper went on to quote a "well-placed government source" as suggesting there was a deliberate campaign to undermine the agencies through actions being brought against them in the courts.

"There is no doubt there is a campaign being run to try to destabilise the intelligence agencies.

"They are using against them mechanisms like the courts and are being funded by the taxpayer to do so," the source was quoted as saying.

ISC chairman Kim Howells disclosed that Evans had contacted him last night to assure him that MI5 had not withheld from the committee documents relating to Mohamed's treatment by the US authorities.

The commercial TV station Channel 4 News reported that MI5 received CIA documents about his case in 2002 but failed to produce them to the committee's investigation into the extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects in 2006.

In a joint statement with the senior Conservative on the ISC, Michael Mates, Dr. Howells said last night, "The director-general has confirmed to us this evening that no document concerning Binyam Mohamed and his treatment by the US authorities has been withheld from us." Evans acknowledged that British intelligence agencies had been "slow to detect" US mistreatment of detainees after 9/11 attacks in 2001, but he insisted that they did not collude in torture.

"We in the UK agencies did not practise mistreatment or torture then and do not do so now, nor do we collude in torture or encourage others to torture on our behalf," he said.

A Scotland Yard investigation is currently under way into an M15 officer who questioned Mohamed while he was being held in Pakistan following his arrest there in 2002.

The document released by the Court of Appeal shows that MI5 was aware that he was being subjected to sleep deprivation, stress tactics, and shackling by his US interrogators.

Miliband argued that releasing the seven paragraph paper, summarising US intelligence reports could damage Britain's intelligence-sharing relationship with America - a concern echoed by Evans.

Morocco, Polisario Front remain far apart on W. Sahara''s fate -- Ross

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 12 (Saba) -- Informal talks between Moroccan and Polisario Front officials ended late Thursday with no breakthrough on Western Sahara's fate, the UN Secretary-General's Personal Envoy for Western Sahara Christopher Ross said in a statement distributed here, according to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

"The proposals of the two parties were again presented and discussed. By the end of the meeting, neither party had accepted the proposal of the other as the sole basis of future negotiations," Ross said at the conclusion of the two-day informal talks held outside New York City.

While Morocco offered three years ago to grant the former Spanish colony its autonomy, Polisario Front wants the UN to sponsor a referendum with independence as an option.

Ross said the talks took place in an atmosphere of "serious engagement, frankness, and mutual respect," and that the parties reiterated their commitment to continue their negotiations "as soon as possible." He added that he intends to travel to the region to consult further with the parties and other stakeholders, mainly Algeria and Mauritania, whose representatives were present at the opening and closing sessions of this week's informal talks.

Plan to conserve Zabid's cultural heritage approved

HODEIDAH, Feb.11 (Saba) – The Ministerial committee for conservation of the historical city of Zabi approved on Thursday setting an executive plan of the projects and technical and legal procedures required to preserve the cultural heritage of the city, so as to ensure its survival in the World Heritage List.

A technical team was assigned during the committee's expanded meeting to set the plan and to program those projects and procedures in an executive scheduled package within two weeks.

Moreover, the committee charged a small team headed by Hodeidah Governor with removing the irregularities in the random construction that distort the cultural heritage and the traditional architecture of the city.

The attendants stressed the government agencies to continue the restoration and maintenance of the buildings in the city and speed up supplying the city with electricity and activate the side of the city tourism promotion, development and rehabilitation of the economic resources of the population and support of handicrafts.

Furthermore, the committee reviewed reports presented by the agencies working in the city, among them the report submitted to the Cabinet including a number of actions that should be taken by each ministry to preserve the city of Zabid and the procedures taken by the cabinet in this respect.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

PA blamed for Goldstone vote delay

The Palestinians missed a rare chance by delaying a vote on the Goldstone report which accuses Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza, a senior Qatari foreign ministry official has said.

Sheikh Khaled bin Jassem al-Thani, the ministry's human rights department head, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that the Palestinian representative to the UN Human Rights Council had requested a delay until the next meeting in March.

"We won't be more royal than the king," he said.

"The Palestinian decision was based on their wishes ... and member states could not take unilateral measures contrary to the wishes of the Palestinian Authority (PA)."

"There were many countries that supported [the report and a vote] ... it could have been adopted, but I think that an opportunity was missed and it may not come back."

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, under pressure from the PA's executive council and the central committee of his Fatah party, has launched an investigation into the delay.

But there appears to be no respite for him from the barrage of criticism from Palestinians.

Resignation urged

A senior member of Hamas has demanded that Abbas resign for supporting the postponement of the vote.

Mahmoud al-Zahar told Al Jazeera on Monday that Abbas was guilty of "a very big crime against the Palestinian people" over the PA's support to defer endorsing the report.

"He is encouraging the Israeli military leaders to attack Gaza, to kill Hamas, and to kill people because they voted for Hamas; to postpone a very important report concerning the Israelis committing crimes against human beings," al-Zahar said.

"He should resign and he should seek a fair trial. He is not representing any of the Palestinian people."

The comments came as hundreds of people in the West Bank city of Ramallah protested against the delay in the vote on the report by Richard Goldstone, a former South African judge.

Protesters waved placards at Monday's events, saying the delay "insults the blood of the martyrs and wounds our people".

Protests were also held in Jerusalem, where pro-Palestinian activists demanded an apology from Abbas.

"If the government had anything to do with the decision we want it to resign," Muhammad Jadallah, the head of the Coalition for Jerusalem, said.

Thirty-two Palestinian groups in Europe also called on Abbas to immediately step down from office.

In a statement, the groups said "the step to delay the endorsement was not less dangerous than the atrocities committed by the Israeli occupation in Gaza".