US to stop aid in Yemen’s Houthi areas if militants don’t budge

Houthi troops ride on the back of a police patrol truck after participating in a Houthi gathering in Sanaa, Yemen February 19, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 26 February 2020

US to stop aid in Yemen’s Houthi areas if militants don’t budge

  • USAID threatened to suspend aid to Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen
  • The UN calls the situation in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis

CAIRO: USAID said late Monday that it will suspend aid to Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, where most of the country’s people live, if the militants don’t remove impediments obstructing aid operations.
A spokesperson said that the agency said it informed partners including UN agencies about the plan last week. The official said the suspension will start in late March if Houthis take no action.
“We continue to do everything we can to avoid a reduction in aid in northern Yemen,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with agency regulations.
The US provided about $700 million in aid to Yemen last year. It is among the largest donors to Yemen, where a UN aid program totaling $8.35 billion since 2015 is vital to keeping many Yemenis alive. The UN calls the situation in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
As the war in Yemen enters its sixth year, 10 million people in the country are on the brink of famine and 80% of the population of 29 million need of aid, according to the UN More than 3 million people have been displaced, cholera epidemics have killed hundreds, and at least 2.2 million children under 5 suffer from severe malnutrition, the agency said.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who control most of northern Yemen, have blocked half of the United Nations’ aid delivery programs in the war-torn country — a strong-arm tactic aimed at forcing the agencies to give them greater control over the humanitarian campaign.

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Lebanon sets out its claim in maritime border talks

Updated 29 October 2020

Lebanon sets out its claim in maritime border talks

  • A military source told Arab News: “The Lebanese side considers that Israel, through the border line it drew for itself, is eating into huge areas of Lebanese economic waters.”

BEIRUT: Lebanese negotiators laid out their claim to maritime territory on Wednesday as they began a second round of talks with Israel over their disputed sea border.
The contested zone in the Mediterranean is an estimated 860 square kilometers known as Block 9, which is rich in oil and gas. Future negotiations will also tackle the countries’ land border.
Wednesday’s meeting took place at the headquarters of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) amid tight security. An assistant of the UN special coordinator for Lebanon chaired the session, and the US Ambassador to Algeria, John Desrocher, was the mediator.
A military source told Arab News: “The Lebanese side considers that Israel, through the border line it drew for itself, is eating into huge areas of Lebanese economic waters.”
The Lebanese delegation produced maps and documents to support their claim to the disputed waters.
In indirect talks between Lebanon and Israel in 2012, US diplomat Frederick Hoff proposed “a middle line for the maritime borders, whereby Lebanon would get 58 percent of the disputed area and Israel would be given the remaining 42 percent, which translates to 500 square kilometers for Lebanon and 300 square kilometers for Israel.”
On the eve of Wednesday’s meeting, Lebanese and Israeli officials met to discuss a framework to resolve the conflict through the implementation of UN Resolution 1701.
UNIFIL Commander Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col praised the “constructive role that both parties played in calming tensions along the Blue Line” and stressed the necessity of “taking proactive measures and making a change in the prevailing dynamics regarding tension and escalation.”