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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

The value of Aden in the fight for Yemen

Return of the Yemeni government to Aden sends an unavoidable message for the future
Yemen's prime minister Ahmed bin Dagher in Aden. Saleh Al Obeidi / AFP
Yemen's prime minister Ahmed bin Dagher in Aden. Saleh Al Obeidi / AFP

This week, 14 members of Yemen’s legitimate government returned to Aden. Prime minister Ahmed Obaid bin Dagher said that the return was permanent and ordered by the country’s president, Abdrabu Mansur Hadi. In conjunction with the rebuilding of critical infrastructure in the Aden governorate, the return of the officials is a demonstration of the work that has been done to free Yemen and restore the country to stability.

Aden is a pivotal city in the conflict. The government was forced to take refuge in the city after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels took over the country’s capital in Sanaa. When the rebels laid siege on Aden, the government fled to Saudi Arabia.

President Hadi, however, returned last September after Houthi rebels were driven out from the city by loyalist forces supported by Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces that included UAE forces. Since then, the coalition has established Aden as a base of operations in the push to free Sanaa from the Houthi’s mendacious presence. At the same time, work has focused on rebuilding the city’s infrastructure and helping civilians that have been caught in the fight.

With the return of the Yemeni government to Aden this month, work has doubly increased to restore critical electricity supply to the Aden province. With ample assistance from the Emirates Red Crescent, spare parts and diesel for power stations have reached plants across the province. The UAE has already given Aden more than Dh500 million for the restoration of the electricity supply in the province. As temperatures soar from the summer heat, such assistance is critical in the short term for Yemeni civilians. There is still much work to be done but the pace of rebuilding is increasing despite the onset of summer.

The presence of the Yemeni government in Aden at the start of the holy month of Ramadan sends a much bigger message. The path out of the war has been established and with the help of the Saudi-led coalition, Yemen will soon be free from the Houthi’s nefarious influence.

While the battle continues and Sanaa must still be freed, the direction of travel is clear. The coalition’s aims in Yemen have always been the protection of civilians through the restoration of the legitimate government. While the Houthis seek to sow chaos, the coalition and Mr Hadi’s government are trying to bring back stability. The fruits of that stability are becoming evident in Aden.