French troops in Yemen alongside UAE forces: Le Figaro

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Rasha Khalaf

PARIS (AA) – French Special Forces are on the ground in Yemen actively fighting Shia Houthi rebels, French daily Le Figaro reported on Saturday.

Le Figaro quoted unnamed military sources as saying that French Special Forces were fighting in Yemen alongside troops from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The newspaper did not provide any additional details.

The French authorities, meanwhile, have yet to comment on the report.

On Friday, the French Defense Ministry said it was considering taking part in mine-sweeping operations to facilitate access to Yemen’s strategic Al-Hudeidah seaport, which Yemeni government forces — with the help of a Saudi-led military coalition — are now trying to wrest from the Houthis.

The ministry stressed, however, that French forces were not currently taking part in the ongoing military operations in Al-Hudeidah.

On Wednesday, Yemeni forces and the Saudi-led coalition launched a major operation aimed at retaking Al-Hudeidah — and its strategic seaport — from the Houthis, who captured it in 2014.

Yemen’s internationally-recognized government (currently based in the port city of Aden) and its Saudi-led allies accuse the Houthis of using the port to import weapons from Iran.

Last week, the UN warned that a major military assault on Al-Hudeidah by the Saudi-led coalition could adversely affect as many as 250,000 people.

“Humanitarian agencies in Yemen are deeply worried by the likely impact of a possible military assault on… Al-Hudeidah,” Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, said in a statement released last Friday.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies — including the UAE — launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

The following year, UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait failed to end the destructive conflict.

The ongoing violence has devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.

Reklamlar

UN Security Council calls for Yemen port to remain open

Alaturka Politika Haberleri

By Safvan Allahverdi

WASHINGTON (AA) – The UN Security Council on Thursday demanded an urgent halt to a Saudi- and United Arab Emirates-led offensive in the Yemeni port city of Hudaydah, calling for the port to be kept open for humanitarian assistance.

The emergency closed-door meeting, requested by the UK, convened Thursday afternoon and marked the second time this week the council has met over what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia, who is also President of the Security Council for the month of June, said the council is deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Nebenzia also emphasized the council's demand that the Saudi- and UAE-led coalition keep Hudaydah port open because of its vital role in providing humanitarian aid to Yemeni civilians.

Sweden's deputy envoy to the UN Carl Skau also urged an immediate halt to the bombardment of the key port to prevent a major humanitarian disaster from unfolding.

The Saudi-led coalition forces on Wednesday launched a major military operation to recapture Hudaydah port from Shia Houthi rebels.

Impoverished Yemen has been wracked by conflict since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies — who accuse the Houthis of serving as Iranian proxies — launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

The ongoing violence has devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as one of “the worst humanitarian disasters in modern times”.

Car bomb kills 3 UAE-backed troops in southern Yemen

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Shukri Hussein

ADEN, Yemen (AA) – At least three people were killed Thursday when a car bomb exploded near a security checkpoint in Yemen’s southern Abyan province, according to local sources.

A local security source, who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity, said a suicide car bomber had targeted UAE-backed security forces (who support Yemen’s internationally-recognized government) in Abyan’s eastern Al-Wadeei Directorate.

According to the source, the blast killed three UAE-backed troops and injured seven others, including a commander.

A medical source at Abyan’s Al-Razi General Hospital said the hospital had admitted seven injured people, including some who were in critical condition.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, while the Yemeni authorities have yet to issue a statement regarding the incident.

Impoverished Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies — who accuse the Houthis of serving as Iranian proxies — launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

Qatar sues United Arab Emirates at UN rights court

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Mohamed Fahd

ANKARA (AA) – Qatar has filed a lawsuit against the United Arab Emirates at the UN International Court of Justice over "human rights violations", Qatar's Foreign Ministry said Monday.

"The State of Qatar Initiates Proceedings against the UAE before the International Court of Justice for Human Rights Violations,” the ministry said on Twitter.

Efforts to reach the UAE for a comment on the Qatari announcement were unsuccessful.

Relations between Qatar and the UAE have been strained since June 2017, when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain severed diplomatic and trade ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

The four states have threatened Qatar with additional sanctions if it fails to meet a list of demands, including one for the closure of broadcaster Al-Jazeera.

Qatar, however, has refused to comply, denying the accusations against it and describing the Saudi-led embargo as a “breach of its national sovereignty”.

Saudi, Kuwait, UAE pledge $2.5bln in aid to Jordan

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Fares Karam

RIYADH (AA) – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have pledged $2.5 billion in aid to ease Jordan’s economic crisis following a wave of protests against a controversial income tax bill.

The money includes a deposit in Jordan’s central bank, funding to support the country’s budget for the next five years, World Bank guarantees and financing of development projects, the summit said in a statement early Monday and cited by the official SPA news agency.

The announcement came following a summit called by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in Makkah to discuss Jordan’s economic crisis after a wave of demonstrations rocked the country to protest economic conditions and an income tax bill approved by the government last month.

The protests had forced Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki to resign, with the Jordanian king appointing Education Minister Omar al-Razzaz to head up a new government.

Amman recently raised subsidized electricity prices for the fifth time this year, leading to further popular discontent. It also announced increases in subsidized fuel prices before swiftly reversing the move following a popular backlash.

According to official data, Jordan's budget for this year suffers from a roughly financial deficit of $1.753 billion.

Yemeni interior minister meets UAE crown prince

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Mohamed al-Samei

SANAA (AA) – Yemeni Interior Minister Ahmed al-Maysari has held talks with the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mohamed bin Zayed, in Abu Dhabi.

The talks, which were held on Tuesday, tackled issues of mutual concern, the Yemeni Interior Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the statement, bin Zayed pledged to provide support for the Yemeni security agencies.

Al-Maysari’s visit came after he criticized the Emirati military presence in the southern city of Aden during a television interview.

Yemeni provinces controlled by government forces are witnessing security chaos, amid rivalry between government forces and troops funded by the UAE.

The UAE is a major member of the Saudi-led coalition that has launched a massive air campaign in 2015 against Houthi rebels, who overran much of Yemen, including capital Sanaa, a year earlier.

Scores of rebels killed in Yemen battles

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Mohamed Fahd

SANAA (AA) – At least 70 Houthi rebels were reportedly killed on Sunday in airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition and clashes with government forces in western Yemen.

Coalition fighter jets and artillery struck rebel positions and gatherings in Yemen’s western coast, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

The agency said the attacks have forced the rebels to flee, leaving their weapons behind.

Meanwhile, Yemeni government forces were reportedly advancing in Al-Hudaydah province toward the airport and the strategic seaport in the area, WAM said.

Government forces have managed to capture 21 rebels during operations in Al-Hudaydah, it said.

There was no comment from the Shia Houthi group on the claim.

Impoverished Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies — who accuse the Houthis of serving as Iranian proxies — launched a massive campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

The violence has devastated Yemen’s basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.

Yemen, UAE interior ministers hold talks in Abu Dhabi

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Shukri Hussein

ADEN, Yemen (AA) – Yemeni Interior Minister Ahmed al-Maysari met with Emirati counterpart Saif bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi, with whom he discussed bilateral security coordination, Yemen’s official SABA news agency reported on Thursday.

At the meeting, which took place Wednesday evening, the two men reportedly discussed the need for greater coordination between their two ministries, especially in regards to areas of Yemen recently “liberated” from the Houthi rebel group.

According to SABA, al-Maysari hailed the UAE’s ongoing support for Yemen’s internationally-recognized government against the Houthis.

Al-Maysari arrived in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday for an official visit.

Al-Maysari’s visit comes shortly after he told a U.S. radio broadcaster that UAE forces had “occupied” Yemen’s port city of Aden, which since 2015 has served as a temporary headquarters for Yemen’s government.

In a recent interview with the broadcaster, al-Maysari had said that Yemeni government officials were unable to enter the city without the consent of the UAE, which is responsible for security in parts of Yemen recently recaptured from Houthi rebels.

Some Yemeni government officials have accused the UAE of arming and funding militia groups — including the Hadhrami and Shabwani Brigades — inside “liberated” Yemeni territory.

Impoverished Yemen has been racked by violence since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa, forcing the government to set up an alternative capital in Aden.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies — including the UAE — launched a wide-ranging military campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

Emirati social-media activist gets 10 years behind bars

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Mohamed Fahd

DOHA, Qatar (AA) – An Emirati court has sentenced Ahmed Mansour al-Shehhi, an online activist, to 10 years in prison for belittling Abu Dhabi’s “status and prestige” on social-media platforms.

According to prominent Emirati daily Al-Ittihad, al-Shehhi was convicted of “belittling the status and prestige of the United Arab Emirates and its leaders”.

He was also convicted of “seeking to damage the UAE’s relationship with its neighbors through the publication on social media of false reports and information”.

The court also fined the activist 1 million Emirati dirhams (roughly $272,000).

Al-Shehhi was acquitted, however, of charges of “involvement with a terrorist group”, according to the newspaper.

The UAE authorities, meanwhile, have yet to issue an official statement regarding the sentences handed down against the activist.

Al-Shehhi was arrested in March of last year on a handful of criminal charges, including “using social media to disseminate false information, rumors and fake news”.

Amnesty International has described the activist as a “prisoner of conscience” and has repeatedly called for his release.

Russian, UAE banks agree on sale of Turkish lender

Alaturka Ekonomi Haberleri

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) – Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, will sell its entire 99.85 percent stake in Turkey's fifth-largest private bank Denizbank to Dubai’s Emirates NBD, according to a joint statement.

"In accordance with the signed agreement, the consideration for 99.85 percent equals 14.6 billion Turkish liras ($3.1 billion) under a locked box mechanism, based on consolidated equity capital of Denizbank as of Oct. 31, 2017," the statement read.

It said Emirates NBD will pay interest on the consideration for the period between Oct. 31, 2017 and the transaction closing date. As part of the transaction, Emirates NBD will assume ownership of Denizbank’s subordinated debt previously provided by Sberbank.

Herman Gref, Sberbank’s CEO, said in the statement: "Denizbank is one of the most attractive assets in the Turkish banking sector. We highly value the management team and the results achieved during our ownership of Denizbank since 2012.

"The decision to sell Denizbank is prompted by a change in Sberbank Group’s international strategy and will allow us to focus further on the development of ecosystem of Sberbank.”

Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, vice chairman and managing director of Emirates NBD, said through the transaction, Emirates NBD will establish itself as a "leading" bank in the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey.

Shayne Nelson, group CEO of Emirates NBD, said the transaction represents a "significant milestone" for Emirates NBD and is expected to benefit shareholders in the first year.