Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

Anwar Gargash: UAE and Saudi stance on Yemen underlines united partnership

Rebel and government delegations meet for a second day to discuss enforcement of Hodeidah ceasefire

Negotiators from Yemen's government (L) and Houthi rebels (R) hold UN-mediated peace talks aboard a UN ship in the Red Sea off the coast of the city of Hodeidah, Yemen 08 September 2019. EPA
Negotiators from Yemen's government (L) and Houthi rebels (R) hold UN-mediated peace talks aboard a UN ship in the Red Sea off the coast of the city of Hodeidah, Yemen 08 September 2019. EPA

The UAE and Saudi Arabia’s joint message on Yemen portrays a strategic and united partnership between the two states, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, said on Monday.

A statement by the Arab Coalition allies on Sunday reaffirmed the “continued support for the legitimate government of Yemen” and called on warring parties to cease all military operations and to halt “media propaganda” that is increasing hostilities.

“Those who interpret our message in a different manner are spiteful and malicious,” Dr Gargash said on Twitter.

The UAE-Saudi partnership is one of “goals and sacrifices”, he said.

Earlier, Dr Gargash said that the two countries remained united on the need for dialogue to resolve the dispute between the Yemen government and the Southern Transitional Council.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have pressed them to reconcile and focus on efforts to defeat the Houthi rebels and terror groups that have been showing signs of resurgence.

“We assert the importance of completely halting all military actions, or violations against public and private property,” they said on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia is leading the Arab Coalition that has been fighting in Yemen to restore the internationally recognised government since 2015, after the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in 2014.

Coalition air strikes on Houthi positions in the northern provinces of Jawf and Saada on Saturday caused rebel casualties and destroyed their military equipment and a weapons depot, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency reported.

Meanwhile, government and rebel representatives made progress on implementing a UN-brokered ceasefire in the western port city of Hodeidah after a second day of talks on Monday.

The Redeployment Co-ordination Committee (RCC) decided to activate the ceasefire enhancement and de-escalation mechanism that was agreed upon at its last meeting in July, according to UN statement released after the meeting.

This would involve setting up a joint operations centre with government, rebel and UN representatives that will liaise with ceasefire monitoring teams in four locations on the Hodeidah frontlines, the UN said.

The RCC meeting, chaired by General Hany Nakhleh, acting head of the UN's Hodeidah observer mission, was held aboard a ship at sea off the city's coast.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia said they are working closely with the various parties to implement the ceasefire in preparation for talks on ending the conflict.

The government and rebels agreed on the ceasefire at UN-led peace talks in Sweden last December to avert a full-scale offensive by government forces to capture the city, which is the entry point for most of Yemen's food imports and aid.

The implementation of the agreement, which includes a troop withdrawal from Hodeidah's ports and other confidence-building measures, has been delayed by a lack of trust between the warring sides.

Updated: September 9, 2019 08:51 PM

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