Abu Dhabi: The UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths’ new initiative on Hodeida is being met with intransigence and evasive manoeuvers, on the part of the Houthi militias, said Yemeni Foreign Minister Khalid Al Yamani, affirming that the insurgents’ bets on buying time will ultimately prove futile.
Speaking to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) Al Yamani said, following a media briefing he had on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, that the UN Envoy's initiative is crystal clear and consists of three main points. "The first is the full withdrawal of Houthis from Hodeida and handing over their control over the city to the Yemeni Ministry of Interior. The second point is ensuring the control of the legitimate government's Central Bank over the financial resources of the Hodeida Port, while the third point is to allow UN supervisors access to help improve the performance of ports and ensure enforcement of Article 14 of UNSC Resolution No 2216 on banning the supply of arms."
"We are extending our hand to the UN Special Envoy who has had enough time to contact the Houthis," he added.
"If the Houthis do not withdraw from Hodeida and Yemen's Red Sea Coast, Yemen's Legitimate Government and the Saudi-led Arab Coalition have all options, under the international law and with the blessing of the international community, to accomplish the mission and ensure full liberation of our territories until Sanaa," he stated.
The minister expressed his satisfaction with his first visit to the UAE saying, "The UAE is a main partner of the Saudi-led Coalition in support of legitimacy in Yemen."
He described his country's unbreakable relations with the UAE as 'deeply rooted' in history and sharing common destiny.
"We are today fighting together for the sake of legitimacy and for thwarting the expansionist schemes in the region."
He expressed sincere thanks to the UAE for all that it had offered to Yemen during this exceptional stage the country is going through. "The UAE has not only extended a hand of help, but also the Emiratis have sacrificed their very lives in a way that will remain indelible in the history and memory of all Yemenis."
The UAE and Yemen are partners in the collective effort for restoring legitimacy in Yemen, he said.
"Restoring legitimacy in Yemen is a significant and strategic objective not only for Yemenis, but rather for the entire Arab nation. We are at a critical juncture where we are telling the entire world that Yemen can never accept Iran's expansionist policy and the practices of the Houthi rebels," he stated.
On the efforts of the UN Envoy, the Yemeni minister said, "We have already given him our response to his initiative on Hodeida and affirmed that its success is contingent on the full and unconditional withdrawal of the Houthis from Hodeida and on giving up all their weapons." He called on the international community to pressure the rebels into fully accepting the initiative.
''We always back efforts aimed at bringing peace in Yemen and we are also keen to support UN Special Envoy's peace efforts, but the Houthi militia is standing against all these initiatives,'' Al Yamani added.
''While we are extending an olive branch, the Houthis are buying time to reinforce their military capabilities. During the time given to the UN Special Envoy to assume his role, the Houthi militia was building reinforcements in the Hodeida, taking civilians as human shields, recruiting children and digging trenches, which destroyed the water and power networks, that created a humanitarian crisis and a cholera outbreak,'' he stated.
He termed the Saudi-led 'Operation Restoring Hope, which also encompasses a massive humanitarian operation, as the first of its kind in the world.
He expressed gratitude to the Emirates Red Crescent, ERC, and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, for their joint significant efforts in delivering relief assistance to the liberated areas.
''The Arab Coalition is exerting great humanitarian efforts to provide assistance to the Yemeni people in liberated areas and rehabilitate facilities destroyed by the Houthi militia,'' he further added.
''These rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts chart the future of Yemen,'' he said.
''The military operation, which liberated the Hodeida airport, confirmed to the world that the task to liberate Hodeida is not difficult, but we have decided to opt for peace and support the UN Special Envoy's peace efforts,'' he asserted.
''If the Houthis accept withdrawal, they will have an exit from their dilemma; otherwise they will face the consequences of their intransigence. Outcomes of UN's efforts will be evaluated and an appropriate decision will be taken,'' he stated.