ABU DHABI,17th June 2018 (WAM) – The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash today briefed members of the international diplomatic corps based in Abu Dhabi on the Arab coalition operation to liberate the Yemen port city of Hodeida from Houthi control.
Commenting on the latest political, military and humanitarian developments, Dr. Gargash noted that the coalition forces were intentionally moving in a deliberate and responsible way to protect civilians and ensure the flow of humanitarian assistance.
”This operation is intentionally calibrated to help UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in his difficult task to persuade the Houthis to facilitate the peaceful and unconditional handover of Hodeida to the legitimate Yemeni government,” said Dr. Gargash. ”The military and humanitarian operation comes after three years of stalemate in which the previous Special Envoy was unfortunately unable to bring the Houthis back to the negotiating table. We believe Hodeida will be a turning point, because as long as the Houthis hold Hodeida, they will continue to impede the political process.”
Dr. Gargash stressed that extraordinary measures are being taken to ensure that civilian impact is minimized when dealing with an enemy that is placing snipers within villages and has indiscriminately used mines in its violent campaign to hold power.
The port of Hodeida continues to operate normally and a number of ships are currently unloading goods and supplies. At the same time, the UAE is carefully preparing a surge in the humanitarian response for potentially affected populations. Ten ships filled with food and medical supplies are already close or on their way to Hodeida and road convoys are heading north from Aden to pre-position supplies. The road from Hodeida to Sana’a is intentionally being left open as a corridor for the safe evacuation of Houthi militia.
The civilian population of Hodeida regards the Houthi militia as an occupying force and they want to be liberated, Dr. Gargash stressed: ”They do not want to be governed by Iranian backed religious extremists. They want to be free. The people of Hodeida and the coalition are intent on liberating the city because it will shorten the war.”
Dr. Gargash underscored the key strategic security interests of the UAE and the international community in Yemen, which include countering Iranian influence in the Arabian Gulf, ending the unacceptable threat from Iranian supplied ballistic missiles, defeating Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and protecting maritime trade routes.
Dr. Gargash reaffirmed the UAE’s commitment to a comprehensive political settlement based on a Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue, overseen by the United Nations in line with all relevant resolutions with the support of the UAE. He stressed that the UAE has no interest in interfering in the political outcome of this process, which should be decided by Yemenis for Yemenis.