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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 October 2018

UAE's Gargash: Liberation of Yemen's Hodeidah key to political solution

Government reiterates its support for UN-led efforts to end the Yemen war

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash says the status of Hodeidah is the sine qua non ('without which, nothing') for a settlement in Yemen. Karim Sahib / AFP
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash says the status of Hodeidah is the sine qua non ('without which, nothing') for a settlement in Yemen. Karim Sahib / AFP

Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said that the liberation of Yemen’s key port city of Hodeidah from the Houthi rebels was an “essential step” towards a political solution.

The Arab Coalition – which includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE – intervened in the war in 2015 to fight the Iran-backed rebels at the request of the internationally-recognised government of Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

“To move the UN-led political process in Yemen, the liberation of Hodeidah is essential. We are determined to end this war. Our priority is the peaceful withdrawal of Houthi militias from the city and port,” Dr Gargash tweeted on Tuesday.

“Securing Hodeidah is an essential step towards a political conclusion.

“Otherwise, the mentality of zero-sum solutions and utility of profiteering from a war economy will continue to prevail.”

The minister reiterated the UAE’s backing for United Nations-led talks to end the war in Yemen.

“We continue to support the UN-led efforts in Hodeidah and Yemen. A UN/Yemeni-led political process will accelerate with a Houthi decision to withdraw from Hodeidah and avoid a confrontation,” he said.

“The coalition is acting responsibly and rationally in trying to secure Hodeidah peacefully and by avoiding a confrontation.

“Yet, achieving our objectives is essential to ending the war in Yemen.”

The Yemeni government and the coalition say that the Houthis must completely withdraw from the city and hand over control to the UN. However, the rebels – who have been using Hodeidah to smuggle weapons provided by Iran – have so far only agreed to share control with the UN.

The port is also an entry point for aid deliveries and commercial goods, and the Yemeni government fears the rebels’ grip on the city will cut the only lifeline for millions facing starvation.

UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths was due to arrive in the southern city of Aden on Wednesday for talks with Mr Hadi.

Yemen government forces, backed by the coalition, launched an offensive on Hodeidah on June 13 to flush out the rebels and box them into Sanaa, cutting off their supply lines and forcing them to work on a political process.

The UAE has said the campaign aimed to help the UN envoy in his last chance to convince the Houthis to withdraw unconditionally from the city.

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