Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 July 2019

Yemen parliament drafts law to label Houthis 'terrorists'

The parliamentary session focused on the need to combat Houthi rebels

President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi was present at the Yemeni parliament's first meeting last week since the civil war broke out in late 2014. AP
President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi was present at the Yemeni parliament's first meeting last week since the civil war broke out in late 2014. AP

Yemen’s parliament on Tuesday referred a draft bill to designate Houthi rebels as a “terrorist group” to a higher committee for revision.

Members of the Parliament loyal to President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi held their first session on Saturday for the first time in four years.

The session was held in the town of Sayoun in Hadramawt province because Houthi rebels control the capital Sanaa.

The session focused on the need to combat the Iran-backed rebels and ways to pursue a political resolution to the war, Yemeni officials.

The members said the rebels' actions in areas under their control, such as holding elections in the capital Sanaa, were baseless.

They also condemned repeated Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, which have included firing missiles at civilian areas.

“We call on the international community to take responsibility in supporting the legitimate government of Yemen and to compel the Houthis to implement the UN peace deal without any further delay,” the Parliament said.

A preliminary peace deal was reached in Sweden last December between the two sides leading to a ceasefire agreement and withdrawal of troops from the port city of Hodeidah.

But the agreement is yet to be fulfilled, with forces loyal to the Yemeni government accusing the Houthis of thousands of breaches, while fighting continues outside areas included in the ceasefire.

Disagreements have deepened between the two sides as to who would secure Hodeidah’s port when fighters from both sides withdrew.

The pact is intended to clear the way for wider political negotiations, with a transitional government supported by both sides, to end the war.

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths said on Monday that the country's warring factions had finally agreed on terms for a withdrawal of troops from Hodeidah.

“I am happy to announce that both parties have now accepted the detailed redeployment plan for phase one,” Mr Griffiths told the UN Security Council.

But members of Yemen’s internationally recognised government remain sceptical of Mr Griffiths' announcement.

“The Houthis are not only obstructing the implementation of the Hodeidah deal but are also refusing to implement the agreement on the release of prisoners and detainees,” the Parliament said.

Yemen’s four-year war has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. An estimated 10 million people are on the brink of famine, while more than 10,000 have been killed, the UN said.

Yemen’s Parliament consists of 301 members elected for a six-year term.

The election in 2009 was postponed by the then-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who faced a boycott from a coalition of smaller parties after failing to negotiate a new body to oversee the vote.

Updated: April 17, 2019 02:39 AM

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