Officials: Aid ship diverts to Egypt
JERUSALEM | A Libyan aid boat carrying supplies for Gaza was sailing toward Egypt late Tuesday instead of trying to run a naval blockade of the Palestinian territory, Israeli military officials said, apparently defusing a confrontation on the high seas.
The latest challenge to the blockade came a day after Israel’s military admitted mistakes in the May 31 confrontation aboard a Turkish ship that left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead and brought a wave of world criticism that forced the Jewish state to ease restrictions imposed on the Hamas-ruled territory.
A spokesman for the Libyan mission insisted the boat still intended to try to reach the Palestinian territory but indicated those on board would not violently resist any efforts to stop them.
“First and foremost, we want to arrive to Gaza. If this is impossible, we don’t want to subject anyone to danger,” Youssef Sawani, an official with the Gadhafi International Charity and Development Foundation who was in contact with the boat, told the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera television station.
The Israeli officials said the ship’s captain informed the Israeli navy ships monitoring him that he was heading for the Egyptian port of el-Arish.
Emir: Ready to mediate in Yemen’s south
SAN’A | The emir of Qatar said Tuesday that his Persian Gulf state was prepared to help in safeguarding the unity of Yemen as southern calls for secession get louder.
“We would be happy to take part in finding a solution that helps the survival of the Yemen unity,” Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani told reporters after talks with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in San’a.
“We are always with the Yemenis in their problems, unless they refuse that. Until now, they have not refused,” the emir said, without specifying whether Qatar already was involved in mediation efforts.
South Yemen was independent from the time of Britain’s withdrawal in 1967 until it united with North Yemen in 1990. The south seceded in 1994, sparking a short civil war that ended with the region being overrun by northern troops.
Residents of the south, who complain of discrimination by the San’a government in the allocation of resources, have staged frequent protests, sometimes demanding full secession.