The famed Salzburg music festival has withdrawn an invitation to former Swiss politician Jean Ziegler to speak at the event's opening, citing alleged links to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

"/> The famed Salzburg music festival has withdrawn an invitation to former Swiss politician Jean Ziegler to speak at the event's opening, citing alleged links to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

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MIDDLE EAST

Swiss politico dropped from music fest over Qaddafi links

The famed Salzburg music festival has withdrawn an invitation to former Swiss politician Jean Ziegler to speak at the event's opening, citing alleged links to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

The famed Salzburg music festival has withdrawn an invitation to former Swiss politician Jean Ziegler to speak at the event’s opening, citing alleged links to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

The governor of Salzburg province, Gabi Burgstaller, had invited the sociologist and former UN special rapporteur on the right to food to give the opening speech at the 91st Salzburg Festival this summer, before rescinding the invitation.

 

But debate over Ziegler’s alleged ties to Qaddafi would have detracted from the speech, Burgstaller told the daily Salzburger Nachrichten on Friday.Ziegler, 76, however, hit out at the festival’s sponsors in an interview with the Austria Press Agency.

 

Major Swiss firms, like food giant Nestle and banks Credit Suisse and UBS, had leaned on the festival’s organisers to prevent him from speaking to the well-heeled audience about global concerns like hunger and poverty, he claimed.

 

Burgstaller, meanwhile, insisted sponsors and special interests had nothing to do with her decision.

 

In a recent interview with the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Ziegler admitted he had met with Qaddafi half a dozen times in the past, although he insisted the Libyan leader was now “completely mad.”

 

On Friday, he again denied any recent contacts with Qaddafi, calling him a psychopath and a mass murderer.

 

Ziegler was now to attend a parallel event in Salzburg organised by the Green party instead.

 

The Salzburg Festival runs from July 27 to August 30.

LIBYA

First Red Cross aid reaches Yemeni capital

An initial flight from the International Committee of the Red Cross transporting medical personnel has reached the Yemeni capital Sanaa, the Geneva-based organization said on Tuesday, as fighting in the Arabian Peninsula country led to warnings of a humanitarian crisis.

First Red Cross aid reaches Yemeni capital
Photo: The Local

"First @ICRC flight reached Sanaa," " Dominik Stillhart, director of operations at the Red Cross, posted on his Twitter account.

"More to come by air and sea when clearances received to bring urgently needed medical supplies."

ICRC spokeswoman Sitara Jabeen said the first flight was a small passenger plane carrying medical staff and that it landed on Monday.

A cargo plane with medical supplies was waiting in Amman, she said.
   
"This plane will go to Sanaa tomorrow," said Jabeen.

The organization was also planning to send another aid shipment with a plane that would travel from Geneva to Sanaa.
   
Relief workers have warned of a dire situation in the impoverished country, where a Saudi-led coalition is waging an air war on the Iran-backed Huthi Shiite rebels.

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