Opinion: Obama and the Palestinian Fig Leaf

In the days that Fleet Street was the home of the British press many clichés circulated in the public bars as gospel truth of journalism. One such was the claim that the safest issues to write an editorial about were Palestine and Afghanistan. Six hundred words on why Palestine needed a better deal or why Afghanistan had to be helped to develop its economy would make the writer feel good about himself while the paper could pose as a fount of wisdom- all that without committing anyone to anything let alone upsetting any applecart.

It seems that the administration of President Barack Obama has adopted at least part of the cliché by suddenly feeling an upsurge of sympathy for the Palestinian cause. For more than a week the White House has been spreading the news that the US decided not to veto a resolution critical of settlement buildings in Israel on Obama’s “firm instructions.”

The resolution, numbered 2334, is marketed as an attempt at reviving the mythical peace process by fomenting confusion regarding other key resolutions of the Security Council, on the subject, notably the famous 242. It makes a set of recommendations to Israel without even hinting at what might be done if they are ignored. More immediately, it gives Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu additional arguments in favor of its “stand firm and fast, no compromise” stance that he tries to justify with reference to an uncertain international situation compounded by Obama’s apparent wish to fire parting shots at his Israeli bête-noire.

You need not be an expert in diplomacy to know that the resolution reduces any chance there might have been for a two-state solution, a chimera put in circulation by the then juvenile United Nations and later given a second life by President George W Bush. Because Obama is intelligent enough to know this, the only reason for his 11th hour activism on this issue must be his desire to hide the total favor of his lackluster presidency, especially in international affairs. One could already imagine him claiming in his memoirs that he had “worked hard” for a two-state solution until the last moments of his presence in the White House. (I wish Senator George Mitchell would write about his experience as Obama’s Middle East peace appointee and how the 11th hour self-styled peacemaker effectively sabotaged every practical step in that direction.)

Those who might ask why Obama didn’t do a thing eight years, or even two years ago, must remember that he was more concerned with his petty electoral calculations than any desire for justice for the Palestinians. In 2008 he needed the support of Jewish Americans in such crucial states as Florida and Ohio; and they did help by giving him 85 per cent of their votes. Last year he had the same calculation, this time in favor of Mrs. Hillary Clinton, his Democrat Party’s presidential candidate. No longer in need of electoral calculations, he can rediscover a conscience that reminds him of his attachment in his youth to the Palestinian cause.

Obama’s foreign policy factotum John Kerry has also been searching for a fig leaf to hide the nakedness of his failure as Secretary of State. His entourage tells me that he wanted to make a big speech on the subject in 2014, presumably to divert attention from his and Obama’s abject failures on Georgia, the Baltic States, Turkey, Egypt, Poland, Ukraine and Syria among other places. According to the yarn spun by his entourage, Kerry did not trigger his logorrhea because Obama ordered him to remain silent after the 2016 presidential election.

With that order no longer in force, Kerry, too, could build a bit of a legacy with a 60-minute diatribe that is bound to be studied as a model of confusion and dishonesty in diplomacy. According to French officials, Kerry has also asked to be allowed to make another lengthy speech in Paris later this month on the same subject as another failed president, Francois Hollande, launches an international peace conference on Palestine in Paris. Well, there is no reason why Hollande should be denied the fig-leaf that Obama and Kerry try to procure for themselves in the name of Palestine.

Obama, Kerry and Hollande are not the first to try to look heroic at the expense of the Palestinians, and the Israelis who suffer and die in a 70-year old zugzwang carted by the so-called international community which has told Arabs, and more specifically Palestinians, that they need do nothing themselves to achieve a peace settlement with Israel: the UN is there to do the work by passing endless resolutions with no mechanism for implementation.

For people far from the conflict and with no real interest in it, adopting a heroic posture at the expense of the Palestinians, or the Israelis for that matter, is no big deal.

The problem is that such heroism bought at the expense of others who pay with their lives could only prolong a conflict that might have been resolved decades ago hadn’t others, starting with the British, the UN, the Arab League, the US, Soviets etc. not intervened, often with empty promises or self-centered schemes, on one side or another.

The Obama-Kerry tandem may yet engage in other shenanigans before they ride into the sunset. Their political careers over in disaster across the board, they have nothing to lose by posing as peacemakers while settling personals scores on the side.

The Palestinians and Israelis should learn that no outsider, even with the best of intentions, which is not the case with Obama and Kerry, could solve their problems for them. It is up to the Palestinians and Israelis to decide whether they could live together and on what terms. Big speeches and meaningless resolutions might camouflage that fact for a while but won’t deprive it of its urgency.

Tristate Summit to Resolve Libyan Crisis

Libyan Crisis

Cairo – Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi revealed preparing for a tristate summit that includes Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia to resolve the Libyan crisis – meanwhile al-Wefaq government appointed a member of the parliament as the head of intelligence body in Tripoli.

Essebsi announced that an initiative to fix the gap in Libya has been launched, hinting on meetings among ministries of foreign affairs that will take place prior to the upcoming summit.

The latter said during an interview with Leaders Magazine that “stability in Libya is of high importance” and that the Libyan topic was discussed during his last summit with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

He stressed that the interest of Libya’s neighboring countries (Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia) is represented in seeing Libya moving towards a national unity and agreement, but this does not grant these countries the right to interfere for personal agendas.

Speaking of risks resulting from the return of Tunisian jihadists from tension zones in Iraq, Libya and Syria, he said: “The fact that we want the return of terrorists is a false allegation.” Essebsi affirmed that he respects the Tunisian constitution and anyone proven guilty will not enjoy freedom.

In a different matter, al-Wefaq government appointed Fathullah al-Suaiti as head of the Tunisian intelligence body that is finding difficulty taking over militias that have full control over the capital since two years ago.

According to Suaiti curriculum vitae, published on his Facebook page, he actually is a graduate of telecommunication engineering and used to work at Libya Telecom & Technology – he is born in March 1982.

Putin Seeks New Reference for “Post-Aleppo” Negotiations


Moscow, Beirut – Moscow seemed unenthusiastic, unlike its allies, to start a battle in Idlib following Aleppo. And while all parties were eager to discover what step Iranian militias and the so-called Hezbollah would take the day following the invasion of Aleppo, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin uncovered a plan to kick off a new vision.

Russia’s Putin said on Friday he and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan are working to organize a new series of Syrian peace talks between the Bashar Assad regime and the opposition. Putin suggested the talks could take place in Astana, the Kazakh capital.

“The next step is to reach an agreement on a total ceasefire across the whole of Syria,” Putin said in Tokyo. “We are conducting very active negotiations with representatives of the armed opposition, brokered by Turkey.”

The Russian president was cautious to clarify that the new talks would not overshadow similar talks brokered by the U.N. in Geneva.

“It won’t compete with the Geneva talks, but will complement them. Wherever the conflicting sides meet, in my view it is the right thing to do to try to find a political solution,” he said.

Commenting on Putin’s statements, informed sources in Moscow told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday that currently, Russia is not thinking about a battle in Idlib, claiming that “Moscow is now interested in placing the Syrian crisis back on the political track and to lower the role of the military force.”

Putin seeks to “digest the victory of the Syrian regime forces, backed by Russia, Iran and allied militias,” the sources said, adding that Russia might currently work on convincing Turkey and Iran to joint these efforts.

According to other sources, doubts concerning the capacity of the regime and its allied militias to fight are the main reasons that pushed Moscow towards reviving the political track in Syria.

Meanwhile, head of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee Riyad Hijab said on Friday that the committee is ready to join peace talks, which Putin plans to hold. But, Hijab asserted later that the opposition is attached to the Geneva talks as a reference to any solution in Syria.

And while paramedics spoke on Friday about tragic cases in Aleppo and the breakdown of hospitals, the evacuation operations stopped for a while in the eastern part of the city, waiting for an agreement to remove injured from the two Shi’ite villages of Al-Foua and Kefraya in the Idlib province and which are both besieged by opposition fighters.

Also on Friday, Syrian regime media outlets said a young girl of nine years of age blew herself up in a police station in in the Midan neighborhood of Damascus, causing injuries.

Opinion: France’s Brave Position

There is a strong diplomatic confrontation between France on one side, and the Assad regime, Iran and Russia on the other. Despite the threats against it, the French government insists on its firm stance and solidarity with the Syrian people after most international powers have abandoned it.

The Russians have criticised the French saying that they are surprised by France’s insistence on opposing their project in Syria and describe their attacks and sieges on the Syrian people which has caused the displacement of millions of them as a war on terror. They also believe that France, by taking these stances, is not only disagreeing with them, but with the European orientation in general.

The French draft resolution which called for an end to the bombing of Aleppo and that was vetoed by the Russians caused verbal confrontations between the ambassadors of Security Council members last week. This is not the only action that the French government has sponsored. France is one of the states that supported the Syrian Revolution from the outset, and has supported the political efforts of the coalition and various councils. It has also been repeatedly targeted by terrorist operations carried out by organisations such as ISIS. The actions of these organisations demonstrate that that they are implementing a project that benefits Assad and the Iranians, and that they are targeting countries that stand against Assad’s regime and its allies. Despite the recurrence of terrorist attacks on France, it has continued to stand against the brutal war being waged on the Syrian people.

France has not just suffered from terrorism carried out by ISIS. It has also faced an internal crisis that is no less dangerous; the growing racism against foreigners and French Muslims. This racism is fuelled by the crimes of terrorist organisations that are linked to the Syrian crisis and the flood of immigrants from Syria and other countries into western Europe.

On the political and diplomatic levels in particular, the French government is leading a call for countries involved in the siege and destruction of Aleppo and other Syrian cities to be held accountable and prosecuted for war crimes. It also wants international institutions to act against them.

We have been witnessing these positions for years and we should appreciate what the French are doing. Their fair and unbiased policy on the Syrian issue is an extension of their position against the Assad regime in Lebanon. This is illustrated by the fact that France backed the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri, and its position was essential and crucial after he was assassinated by the Assad regime.

French presidents generally continued with this approach, except for Sarkozy who tried to better Assad’s image by cooperating with some regional powers and who failed in the end.

Some may believe that the French attitude is not enough to change the situation on the ground because although France is a big country, it is not as big as the United States and Russia, the two superpowers. Despite this, it is playing a big role and leading the locomotive of confrontation at a time when most other nations prefer to avoid confrontation with the “axis of evil”.

Considering the disregard for values and international laws shown by Assad’s allies, it is significant that countries like France take these stances which we hope will lead to a reasonable political solution. The Iranian – Russian war in Syria has so far failed to end the uprising of the Syrian people. It has also failed to maintain Assad’s rule over Syria, even in the half which is now under his rule. They can only rely on a country like France to support a political solution to get them out of this quagmire.

Opinion: Riyad Hijab – “We Don’t Want Another Saleh”

There is always hope for a military settlement or a political solution during conflicts, and this also applies to Syria. The Syrian political opposition held a meeting in London this week and was represented by the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) which announced its plan for a political transition. This coincided with the negotiations that took place at the G20 summit in China.

I don’t want to suggest something that is not certain and say that the parties concerned have come to an agreement, and that the only matter that needs to be negotiated is where Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad will be exiled to. The negotiations focussed on the discussion surrounding the beginning of new negotiations within an unclear vision.

The most important thing that we heard is what the coordinator and the “leader” of the political opposition Riyad Hijab said. He said in a clear voice that there should be no place for Assad in any solution, and cited the important and convincing examples of Yemen and Iraq. He reminded everyone that a weak solution which leaves space for an ousted president later leads to greater destruction.

In the agreement to end the crisis in Yemen, the opposition parties agreed to the mediators’ condition that Saleh would leave government but stay in the party. The result is that Saleh took advantage of this right and worked with the Houthi opposition to interfere at the beginning and create political sabotage. Then he built a relationship between his armed troops and the Houthi rebels and they carried out the coup together. As a result, the crisis in Yemen became considerably worse, more people died and institutions were destroyed. Now, reaching a solution has become harder due to Saleh’s presence in Sana’a.

The second example cited by Hijab is that of the former Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri Al-Maliki. He disrupted the state for nearly two years in order to dominate it and refused to leave when the time came for him to do so, citing security conditions as an excuse. Then he tried to take advantage of his authority in order to stay. When Iraqi forces unanimously turned against him and international forces intervened and threatened him, he withdrew but remained in the shadow, retaining his power and leading militias under various names, and succeeded in marginalising the prime minister who replaced him.

Today we see the result; the chaos on the political arena, the disruption of state affairs, and Iranian penetration in governance and the administration of the military. Assad in Syria may not resemble Al-Maliki in Iraq because the latter was a legitimate ruler, but the Saleh situation is identical to that of Assad. Yemenis revolted against him across the country during the Arab Spring and there was consensus on the fact that he needed to be deposed. Allowing him to stay and work in Yemen was a mistake.

Hijab is right to be afraid about the Yemeni example being repeated. If Assad remains in any capacity within the proposed system or even just sits on his sofa at home watching television, he will remain a source of danger. He is able to subvert and sabotage the situation, and the war will continue because of him.

If the Russians and the Americans want a serious solution, they have to agree that Assad must leave. Who will govern, who the electorate will be and the constitution are merely details, and differences over these are limited. The majority of Syrian forces accept a system that ensures coexistence and secures the rights of minorities, and they also accept the principle of the ballot box.

Other details regarding the political solution, as presented by Hijab over three phases, reflects the maturity of the opposition and its willingness to accept a realistic solution. Of course, it will just remain an idea unless it is supported by the major powers. Without such a solution, the world will later be forced to sit at the table with terrorist groups, accept the departure of Assad and hand over rule to a group like the Taliban of Afghanistan. Assad will then leave at a later stage and the political opposition will have lost its popularity by then.

Opinion: There is a Solution for Syria in Hangzhou

Statements made after the meetings of G20 leaders promise a solution to the war in Syria. The new term being used is “solution to the violence” there. It is neither a political solution nor reconciliation between Syrian powers, but a way of bandaging the crisis that is bleeding with dangerousness. US President Barack Obama said that Russia is the key and that “Gathering all powers on the ground in Syria is difficult, but talks with the Russians are essential”.

How will this solution to violence work? Can they seize rifles from hundreds of thousands of armed men? Can they dismiss soldiers like they do in regular armies? Is the Syrian president ready to step down? What is this violence? How does it work today? How can it be stopped? The violence will not stop without political arrangements that answer the difficult questions just because Obama agreed on that with the Russians.

If what we hear is true, the solution is based on acknowledging the status quo and surrendering to the rule of the current regime despite the killing, destruction and displacement that it has carried out over the last five years.

There is no real armed Syrian opposition left because it has been used by the main countries fighting in Syria. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) was used by the Americans to strike ISIS, and the Turks are using it to fight Kurdish groups in the north. It is said that there is no longer an armed Syrian opposition to fight its enemy, i.e. Assad’s forces and its allies. It is also said that those who are fighting Assad and the Iranians and are bringing down Russian planes are fighters of terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Nusra Front, and that they are mostly Arabs, westerners and central Asians, rather than Syrians.

Does this description fit reality on the ground in Syria? The situation of the Syrian resistance is difficult, but is has not been eliminated or defeated. Tens of thousands of Syrians chose to confront the Assad regime’s forces, the Iranians, the Russians and the militias that they brought with them, and they are still fighting in their areas in defence of their causes and people. If they had not fought, the regime would have extended its authority to most of Syria as foreigners who have joined terrorist organisations are estimated at 5,000.

Despite the setbacks faced by the Syrian resistance, whether caused by its allies withdrawing support for it or the closure of borders in the north and south, it continues to battle fiercely on the ground. The regime did not achieve success even with massive support from Iran and Russia, and despite international and regional pressure on the opposition.

The war is still raging on most of Syrian territory, and neither peace nor defeat appears on the horizon. We are hearing about a new solution because Washington wants to end the violence without solving the problem like an ostrich that buries its head in the sand. President Obama will leave the White House in twelve weeks’ time, and he wants to end the violence as he agreed. However, the Russian President Vladimir Putin will remain and Ayatollah Khamenei will continue to rule Iran. They want only one solution: to subjugate the Syrians.

At the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, they want a solution. What they can agree on is fighting ISIS and its terrorist sisters and granting Turkey the same right to fight Kurdish groups that are hostile to Ankara and abandon the Syrian opposition without a change in political stance. The proposed solution is an escape from reality and gives them the feeling that the Syrian issue will gradually wither and end with time.

They believe that summarising the crisis with the single word “violence” simplifies the task of negotiators. The final outcome of this will be that Assad will be imposed as ruler all over again despite killing half a million citizens in Syria and displacing 12 million people around the world. It will also result in Iran being granted power over Iraq, Syria and Lebanon!

Yemen’s Mohammed Maitami: Early Cost of Damage Touches $15 Billion

Caption :A journalist takes photos of a school destroyed by the country's civil war in the southwestern city of Taiz Anees Mahyoub / Reuters

Riyadh- Damage brought about by the guerrilla war in Yemen has recently accounted for an augmented $15 billion, according to Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Mohammed Maitami.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Maitami says that the size of damage done has increased from a previously announced imprecise $12 billion. Primary evaluation has not delivered its assessment with accuracy given that most of the study was dependent on satellite retrieved footage and data, with no field review whatsoever.

Maitami added that the revised figure came after an effective aerial photography that combed six of Yemen’s districts and four cities (two situated south and two north.)

The Yemeni government carried out the field assessment in the lines of topographic impartiality, said Maitami.

Warring blocs in Yemen must be prepared to fast-track through finding a solution for restoring peace and launching nationwide reconstruction projects, commented Maitami. He says that any political gaps must be filled, rebuilding put into effect as soon as possible as to prevent a relapse.

The needs of the people of Yemen must be attended immediately, said Maitami.

The Yemeni official commented on the recently proposed roadmap for solution, put forward by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, saying that any issuing of a roadmap must be settled by national negotiating committees. Maitami added that the roadmap must also agree with Gulf initiatives and the outcome of national dialogue.

Yemen’s legitimate government, institutions, civil organizations, private sector members, cooperation council members, supply funds and members of national economic cooperation must all be ready to kickoff reconstruction instantly after the peace agreement is signed, said Maitami.

Opinion: Yemen and the Distant Solution For Peace

Hope for a new solution to the Yemeni conflict and an end to the war was short lived when the United Nations launched its project for peace which was approved by the legitimate government. Hope quickly evaporated when the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s team and the Houthis rejected the project and set impossible conditions to accept it. Their rejection confirmed that they want the war to continue.

During the past few months, the Yemeni opposition and governments allied to it ran a propaganda campaign accusing the legitimate Yemeni government that is in exile and Gulf countries that are allied to it of rejecting any political solution and insisting on the continuation of bombing and destroying major Yemeni cities.

Kuwait hosted negotiations on its soil that brought together the legitimate government delegation and the Houthi- Saleh delegation. Saudi Arabia has also hosted the rebel delegation a number of times despite it refusing to recognise the rebels’ legitimacy, and has also communicated with officials from Ali Abdullah Saleh’s camp. When the international envoy presented his project for peace, the group of Gulf countries and the legitimate government led by Hadi accepted it.

The war in Yemen has been ongoing for sixteen months now whilst the crisis there started more than five years ago. Those who believe that the war has been going on for too long must remember the war in Afghanistan because the two wars may be similar. The United States entered the war in Afghanistan fifteen years ago and is still fighting there.

Yemen and Afghanistan are similar countries in terms of their rugged terrain, the great role of tribes, foreign interventions and the fact that there is no central authority. Sana’a was like Kabul, the capital does not have much influence on other parts of the country because the central government has been weak for decades.

I do not mean that the war in Yemen will last for another fifteen years. However, there should be no illusion that the solution in Yemen is imminent unless all power is handed to the Houthis who are allies of Iran, and this is totally unacceptable. Coalition countries must think and operate on the basis that the solution is a long way off, and they should look for partial solutions that enable the Yemeni government to work in liberated areas that are under its influence.

Coalition forces are just ten kilometres from Sana’a airport on the ground, and the airport is only eight kilometres from the centre of the capital. The global intelligence company Stratfor notes that the capital is at risk of falling now more than ever. However, I do not expect that the forces of the Saudi-led coalition want to rush into battle because they do not want to turn Sana’a into a cemetery. Yemen is a neighbouring country and its people are our neighbours. No one wants to pass grudges on to future generations, and victory is needed but at the lowest possible price for both warring parties.

The Houthi’s increasing military activity including bombing and breaching the Saudi border with Yemen is propaganda and aims to convince Yemenis and Saudis that the war in Sana’a and Sa’ada is moving to Saudi Arabia. Houthi artillery and operations have reached villages on the Saudi border and there are hundreds of civilian casualties, but the real and important fight remains in Yemen.

Lavrov, ‘ISIS’


Even though U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks on bolstering cooperation between his country and Russia to take on extremist groups in Syria, namely ISIS, his counterpart Russia’s Sergey Lavrov continues to blame the U.S. 2003 invasion of Iraq for the group’s rise.

In his speech to a youth forum Lavrov said that the West’s policy in the Middle East is what had led to the current dilemma faced by the region, Russia Today (RT) reported.

Lavrov argues that Washington by agreeing to sack military officers who had served in Saddam Hussein’s administration had directly caused the sidelining of the Sunni population in Iraq, and forced many of the officers to join ISIS and other hard-line armed groups.

Moreover, Lavrov said there are no guarantees on the Libya scenario not being repeated in Libya in case the regime head Bashar al-Assad is removed from power.

Assad’s Russian allies call on removing him from authority before any counter-terrorism takes place, however, Moscow only sees Assad’s leave possible through elections!

Contradicting notes call on the true question; is the Russian FM Lavrov really looking into a possible solution, or is he looking to buy time as to defend Assad? If Lavrov seeks solutions, most of them lie in learning from previous experiences and not in blaming others.

Before ISIS was established, al-Qaeda appeared in Iraq, and it was defeated. ISIS being Qaeda’s worse, had only emerged as a result of the lack of serious political resolution in Iraq— no real political action managed to halt sectarian-based cleansing in Iraq or to eradicate Iranian interference. When U.S. President Obama decided on swiftly pulling out of Iraq, the political state was far from stabilized.

Should Russia’s Lavrov truly seek serious solutions, and preventing such ultra-hardline groups from reemerging, then he should draw wisdom from the Soviet Union’s experience on invading Afghanistan in December 1978, which is quite similar to what Russia shares with Assad today.

After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban group was established, further fortified presence, and later annexed what was then known by the “Arab Jihadists” who later gave birth to Qaeda movement. The rest of the story is known well.

What Lavrov says on Assad and the U.S. shapes well for debates to be held by journalists- not decision making politicians.

What is needed today is the presentation of solutions which spare bloodshed by putting an end to the Assad killing machine that has taken the lives of half a million of Syrians and displaced other millions. Assad’s regime has proven to be today’s source of terrorism and the spring to all lurking dangers facing the region and the West.

Which brings us to the conclusion that Lavrov’s statements prove one thing alone, it remains difficult for us to trust in the Russians, or to believe that an understanding can be reached with them.

Maybe the Russians really do wish to arrive at an agreement somehow; however, it will not be materialized through political negotiations and persuasions, it is only realized when Russians witness a serious U.S. and western action taken for Syria, especially on the battlefield itself. Other than that it is all but a waste of time and souls.

Yemen Meeting in London Concludes With Expressions of Support For International Efforts

A meeting on Yemen that was held in London and that was attended by representatives from the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE ended yesterday evening. The foreign ministers of these countries came together in support of international efforts to reach a political solution to the Yemeni issue.

The meeting coincided with the increasing complexities facing the peace consultations held under the auspices of the United Nations in Kuwait. The meeting was attended by the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, the US Secretary of State John Kerry, the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and the Foreign Minister of the UAE Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed. The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash said that the meeting was “positive” and that the foreign ministers of the countries who participated in the meeting agreed that the current stage is critical and that they supported international efforts.

In tweets that he posted on Twitter, Gargash said that those who participated in the meeting reviewed current peace efforts and agreed that the success of the political solution lies in the withdrawal of Houthi militias from the capital and key civilian centres.

He added that the level of coordination and agreement between the regional and international powers concerned could be seen at the meeting in London, and that they will support political efforts in the next phase.