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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

UAE, Saudi, UK and US establish committee to address Yemen war

Quartet states call for renewed UN-led peace talks

People walk in a market street in Yemen's southwestern city of Taez on November 13, 2018. AFP
People walk in a market street in Yemen's southwestern city of Taez on November 13, 2018. AFP

The UAE, Saudi, US and UK established on Thursday a committee to address Yemen’s economic and humanitarian crisis.

Senior officials and ambassadors of the quartet states met in Riyadh to identify measures aimed at stabilizing Yemen’s economy by calling on the international community to support the ongoing peace process.

“The four nations agreed to establish an advisory committee that will meet once a month to establish measures aimed at stabilizing Yemen’s currency, management of foreign currency flows and support the government of Yemen in improving its economic management,” according to a statement by the Saudi Press Agency.

They expressed support for UN Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths’ efforts in bringing all sides of the conflict to the negotiating table in order to work on a political solution.

Mr Griffiths is expected to give a briefing on Friday to the UN Security Council on the progress of the upcoming peace talks next month.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Adel Al Jubeir, said on Thursday that the kingdom supports UN-led peace efforts to end the war in Yemen.

"We support a peaceful solution in Yemen and we support the efforts of the UN special envoy to Yemen," Mr Al Jubeir told reporters. "We are committed to delivering all the necessary humanitarian aid to our brothers in Yemen."

The development comes as Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, held talks with Yemen’s Al Islah party.

During the meeting on Wednesday evening, Sheikh Mohammed reviewed the latest developments in Yemen with Al Islah chairman Colonel Mohammed Abdullah Al Yidoumi and secretary-general Abdulwahab Ahmad Al Anisi, according to state news agency WAM.

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Al Islah leaders expressed their gratitude to the UAE and the Arab led coalition for their efforts against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to WAM.

“The meeting is seen as a positive and important step towards strengthening and uniting the Arab coalition in achieving its objectives of assisting pro-government forces to retake much of the rebel-held areas,” Adnan Al Adaini, deputy head of the information department of the Islah Party said.

Mr Al Adaini accused Qatar of playing a role in undermining security in Yemen and the Arab region.

Al Islah has been fighting alongside forces loyal to Yemeni president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi in Marib province, east of Sanaa, for three years.

Mr Hadi on Wednesday backed UN-proposed talks to end fighting in his war-torn country but vowed to "liberate" the battleground rebel-held port city of Hodeidah regardless of the peace process.

His aide Abdullah Al Alimi said the president had given strict instructions to army commanders to avoid civilian casualties, while also pushing for peace negotiations.

President Hadi, said Mr Al Alimi, has continuously pushed for the interest of the country to be taken into consideration.

On Thursday in Hodeidah an uneasy calm had settled for the third consecutive day after nearly two weeks of intense fighting between Iran-backed Hputhi rebels and the Arab coalition.

A resident of Hodeidah told The National that the Iran-backed rebels had deployed tens of children to replace deserters and fighters taken prisoners by the coalition.

Anas Balgheith, a displaced Hodeidah resident in Al Khoukhah told The National that tens of new Houthi fighters had been deployed to the city centre on a daily basis.

"As soon as they arrive they take up positions on the buildings' rooftops and start digging new trenches and build barricades and plant mines," Mr Balgheith said. "More than 300,000 civilians are still living in the city, they are living in a catastrophic situation, they can't flee the city because the Houthis used to fire randomly over the families who tried to flee so the majority prefer to stay home.