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Arabic press review: Saudi Arabia wants to end war in Yemen 'with dignity' soon

Meanwhile, Morocco becomes first Arab nation to produce Covid vaccine, UAE cracks down on video sharing of Houthi attack, and new messages between Israel and Hamas
Yemenis call for the removal of the Saudi-backed coalition government and denounce their living conditions, in the city of Taiz, 5 December 2021 (AFP)

Saudi Arabia intends to leave Yemen 'with dignity'

A leaked document that purportedly reveals a desire by Saudi Arabia to end its involvement in the Yemen war has been published by the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper.

The newspaper said that it had reviewed a secret document that reveals part of what the US special envoy to Yemen, Timothy A Lenderking, had reported to Gulf countries, most notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE, regarding the conflict with the Houthis.

According to the document, Lenderking sensed a "serious will from the Saudi side to end the war in Yemen”, narrating the content of a call that took place between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin in which the kingdom's de facto ruler expressed a desire to "leave with dignity".

"We affirmed to the Saudi officials, and I think they are aware of this, the necessity of not leaving Yemen completely, and the importance of their remaining involved in dealing with various situations related to the Yemen conflict, similar to the situation before the war," said Lenderking.

"We are all aware that the Yemen crisis will not end with a ceasefire, but we are not ready to wait for another opportunity, and we strongly desire to start the political process towards the formation of a transitional government in Yemen."

Morocco becomes first Arab state to produce Covid-19 vaccines

King Mohammed VI of Morocco has inaugurated a factory for the production of a Covid-19 vaccine, making the kingdom the first country in the Arab world to do so.

Moroccan authorities say the plant is designed to contribute to "securing the vaccine availability to the kingdom alongside the whole of the African continent", according to Maghreb Arabe Press (MAP).

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The project "is part of the vision of the Moroccan king to make the kingdom a centre in the field of biotechnology in Africa and the whole world... the kingdom [will] be able to secure the health needs of the African continent in the short and long term", reported MAP.

The plant, located near Casablanca, aims to produce 116m units by 2024 across three production lines.

The agency said the project is the result of a partnership between the public and private sectors, "especially with the support of the Swedish company Recipharm".

Morocco aims to produce 5m doses starting from next month, and may reach 20m doses at the end of 2022. Production may reach 2bn doses starting from 2025, according to MAP.

UAE pursues videos of Houthi attack

The UAE public prosecutor has summoned a number of people who circulated videos on social media platforms showing missiles launched by the Houthis in Yemen which landed in the UAE, according to the official Emirates News Agency (WAM).

The UAE announced last Monday that it had downed two ballistic missiles launched by the Houthis into its airspace, a week after an unprecedented attack launched by the Yemeni group against Abu Dhabi resulted in the death of three people.

Videos circulated on social media showing missiles destroying objects in the sky, which commentators say was the UAE's air defence response to the Houthis' missiles.

The public prosecutor's office said that it had summoned "a number of people after circulating videos on social media platforms showing the response of the state's air defences to the attempts by the Houthi militias to target some vital facilities of the state".

The office said the circulation of the videos "is prohibited by law, as they may endanger vital and military facilities, and may affect the security and stability of society," according to WAM.

Attorney General Hamad Saif Al Shamsi affirmed that "deterrent legal measures will be taken against those who publish these materials", warning of "the effects and dangers of rumours and the negative consequences they could bring to the state, which may reach the point of threatening societal peace, besides creating a state of panic and fear among individuals without real reasons and for reasons that have no basis in reality".

New Israeli messages to Hamas

Egyptian sources familiar with the mediation between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip said that an Egyptian security delegation who recently visited the Strip had conveyed a set of Israeli messages to the leadership of the Hamas movement, according to the London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper.

The sources indicated that the messages discussed more than one file; however, they are all related to the state of affairs in the Gaza Strip.

The sources pointed out that one of the messages was that Israel would not approve the measures requested by the Egyptians for reconstruction without Hamas providing clear guarantees of maintaining the state of calm.

The sources noted that "the most important matter that worries the Israeli government and Egypt for the time being is the Iranian role in the Gaza Strip". According to the report, "Tel Aviv fears that Tehran may encircle it through its allies in the region."

The sources asserted that the Israeli side proposed returning to prisoner negotiations, under Egyptian mediation. They asserted at the same time that there is a state of restlessness on the part of the Hamas leadership, due to its sense of the lack of seriousness of the Israeli government in this endeavour.