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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

UAE's Gargash says victory in Yemen is 'close'

Dr Gargash praised the efforts and sacrifices of the Arab coalition

Yemeni forces, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, take position at an area after seizing it from the Houthi militia in the western province of Hodeidah, Yemen, on May 27, 2018. EPA
Yemeni forces, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, take position at an area after seizing it from the Houthi militia in the western province of Hodeidah, Yemen, on May 27, 2018. EPA

The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said that victory over the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen was “close”, as the Yemeni forces and the Arab coalition were closing in on the rebel-held port city of Al Hodeidah.

He praised the efforts and sacrifices of the Saudi-led alliance, which intervened in the Yemen war in 2015 at the request of the internationally recognised government of Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

“We are following the progress towards Al Hodeidah, and we have the right to be proud of the UAE army, its officers, its soldiers, its professionalism, its courage and its honour that have made them a key partner in the Arab coalition that is led by Riyadh to crush the Houthi rebellion,” Dr Gargash tweeted on Thursday morning.

“Our courageous armed forces are part of the vision and hard work that was led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed through continuous effort and planning.

Ramon Penas / The National
Ramon Penas / The National

“The courage and sacrifices of our sons within the Arab coalition remain the difficult factors that the Houthis did not expect as they tried to take over [Yemen] through their disastrous coup.”

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Read more:

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Hodeidah: the Houthi's supply hub

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Dr Gargash slammed those attempting to undermine the efforts of the Arab coalition and those who seek to terrorise Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“Our position in the battle today is the result of the joint sacrifices, and achievements will not be stolen by those who envy and are ungrateful,” he said.

“Yes, the Yemen test was and remains difficult but there is no choice but to face it.

"Days will prove the correct decision and will of the Saudi leadership, supported by the UAE leadership, that will move mountains. Watch out, victory is close."

Al Hodeidah is Yemen’s largest entry point for aid on which millions depend, as the country teeters on the brink of famine.

For the coalition, it is also considered the entry point for rebel weaponry, including ballistic missiles, which it accuses regional rival Iran of supplying.

The Houthis have repeatedly fired missiles at Saudi Arabia, which the US and UN experts say are of Iranian origin, a claim Tehran denies.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Mr Hadi in Jeddah.

The two men discussed latest development as well as ways to boost humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people, as the country’s forces made advances towards Al Hodeidah.

“The forces have advanced another three kilometres and are now less than six kilometres away from Al Hodeidah airport,” Sky News Arabia quoted sources as saying.

“The advances were towards the Taif area and agricultural areas, in which members of the Iranian Houthi militia are holed up, in the province of Al Hodeidah overlooking the Red Sea.”

The Houthis evacuated dozens of Iranian consultants from the city, reported Asharq Al Awsat newspaper.

“More than 50 Iranian experts have been evacuated from the city in the past couple of days and taken to Houthi-controlled area in Sanaa and Haja,” Walid Al Qadimi, secretary of Al Hodeidah district, said.

He added that some left the city in ambulances, while others were transferred to the mountainous region near Al Hodeidah.

Maj Gen Abdulatif Ali, of the Yemeni army, told The National, that the Houthis are using the expertise of the Iranians — which back the powerful Lebanese group Hezbollah — to try and set new military plans as they suffer setbacks in Al Hodeidah and Taez.

Col Abdulbasat Al Baher, a spokesman for the Yemeni army on the Taez front, said that the Iranian experts were not only being consulted for military planning but some were specialised in manufacturing missiles.

"They are also experts in military telecommunications and in planting land and sea mines," he told The National. "Most of them entered Yemen when the Houthis took over the capital Sanaa in September 2014."