Yemen govt. insists: confidence-building measures start first

Stockholm (Debriefer)
2018-12-07 | Since 1 Week

Khalid al-Yamani

اضغط هنا لقراءة الخبر بالعربية

The internationally recognized Yemeni government on Friday reiterated insistence on starting with confidence-building measures, refusal of solution based on political-security phased steps, and adherence to running the western governorate of Hodeida.

The legitimate government is clinging to managing Hodeida and will not accept otherwise, the Saudi Asharq Alawsat paper quoted Hadi Foreign Minister, Khalid al-Yamani as saying.

The Houthi Group controls Hodeida city and strategic port, along with the capital Sana'a and most of the Yemeni north, since 2014 when bloody war over authority was triggered between the Iran-backed group and the Saudi-led coalition-supported legitimate government.

Fierce battles have been waged in and around the port city of Hodeida for more than one month.

On Thursday, representatives of the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels stated peace talks in Rimbo, some 60 km to the south of the Swedish capital.

Chairing Hadi delegation at the talks, FM Yamani said "we asked for Hodeida to be abandoned by Houthis and submitted to interior ministry. Government troops are as close as 5 kilometers to freeing the port, which we demand to be submitted to transport ministry."

"We have no problem if there is UN presence, but authority over Hodeida and harbors should be under the Yemeni government," he added.

UN sources stated that two sides are still far away from an accord on who to run Hodeida port, and whether Houthis should leave the whole city. "Hodeida is very complicated."

As for the Central Bank of Yemen, Minister Yamani said his government opposes and plan to create a parallel CBY in Sana'a, stressing that the Aden-based is now the legitimate bank that should be supported and improved.

"The deal, previously inked by two parties, must include all prisoners, abductees, forcibly disappeared and individuals put under house arrest," he added. "We want UN guarantees that no one of the released [people] will be re-detained."

Yamani said his delegation want to discuss implementation of the swap deal, and to have the International Committee for Red Cross present.

The ICRC stated that at least 5,000 prisoners would be released.

Asked about prospects of reopening Sana'a Airport, Hadi FM said the "legitimate government" plans to run all Yemeni airports, with Aden Airport is the sovereign and others for local flights.

Head of Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, threatened to close Sana'a Airport to UN planes if talks could not lead to decision to reopen the airport for civil flights.

Let "UN and other officials endure arrival in Sana'a as do Yemeni sick people and travellers who take nearly 15 hours to reach on land," he tweeted.

Observers expect that the legitimate government, at Sweden talks, would agree to reopening Sana'a Airport to allow for flights between Sana'a and other Yemeni cities, as part of facilitating medical trips.

Back to Yamani, he said Taiz issue would be tabled, specially access to aids.

As for political solution's all-inclusive framework, he talked about "three important matters. First, it should be for solution between Yemeni government and Houthis. Second, it should start with security and military arrangements, making sure that Houthis have been in compliance with carrying out security and military measures, including laying down ballistic missiles and all heavy and medium arms, before getting into political solution.

"Third, the framework should not address future issues, after restore of legitimacy, as future is associated to National Dialogue outputs, approved by all Yemenis, including Houthis."

Hadi FM stated that any solution should give priority to security and then to politics, rejecting parallelism.

Yemen has been racked by an armed conflict that broke out after the Iran-backed Houthis had ousted the internationally recognized government late in 2014.

The conflict escalated after a Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily in the country in March 2015 to reinstate the government of President Hadi, leaving some 16,000 killed, hundreds of thousands injured, and 3 million displaced.

The UN warned that nearly 14 million Yemenis may face famine, and UNICEF stated that some 1.8 million Yemeni children suffer malnutrition.

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