Yemeni FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Time for Diplomacy is over

Yemeni FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Time for Diplomacy is over

Thursday, 14 June, 2018 - 06:00
Backed by the Arab coalition, Yemen’s legitimate forces launched a military operation to liberate Hodeidah from the Houthi militias. (Reuters)
Riyadh – Abdul Hadi Habtoor
Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani declared that the operation to liberate the port city of Hodeidah “will not stop until all Yemeni territory” is liberated from the clutches of the Iran-backed Houthi militias.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The door for diplomacy has been completely shut.”

The legitimate Yemeni forces, supported by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, launched on Wednesday Operation Golden Victory to liberate Hodeidah and its strategic port from the Houthis.

Yamani accused international powers of seeking to prolong his country’s war to give the Houthis more time to exploit and kill the Yemeni people.

The minister recalled the build up of the Hodeidah operation, revealing: “We had cooperated with all international powers, our friends, the United Nations and its Security Council.”

He stated that a solution on Hodeidah was proposed on May 31 and UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths presented it to the Houthis to convince them to withdraw from the province with the least number of casualties.

“The militias, however, rejected it and imposed their own conditions to withdraw from the region, but we refused them,” added Yamani.

Their main condition was for the Yemeni police to manage Hodeidah port after their withdrawal, he revealed.

“We informed the international community that those terrorists were using Hodeidah as a launchpad for their terrorist boats that are threatening international navigation,” Yamani charged.

“We are telling the world that pressure should be imposed on these militias because many crimes are being committed. The world has, unfortunately, stood idly by,” he lamented.

“We announced the end of diplomacy after we reached a dead end,” he continued.

A 48-hour deadline was given for the Houthis to withdraw from Hodeidah, but it was left unheeded. Operation Golden Victory was launched as soon as the deadline expired.

“We know that these militias will not withstand the operation. They will run away like rats because they are recruiting children and youths to head to the battlefronts of death,” Yamani said.

“Their higher commands meanwhile are residing in safe areas and hiding in caves,” he added.

“Where is Abdulmalek al-Houthi, this spiteful man! Has the blood that has been spilled over the years not satiated him?”

“We will enter Hodeidah and we will liberate it. It will return to the national fold and become a passageway for humanitarian work,” he vowed.

Humanitarian relief will be delivered to all Yemeni territory and international navigation and trade will be secured, he pledged, adding: “We are responsible for this vital passage.”

Furthermore, Yemani questioned the stances of Britain and the European Union on the liberation of Hodeidah.

“The EU constantly cites excuses on humanitarian work and relief to express exaggerated concern over the Yemeni people. Such tactics are used to exert political pressure and achieve interests,” said the minister.

“We say to the world that we will work with the international community, but we will decide our own fate. The alliance that restored Arab dignity cannot remain silent over statements that seek to prolong the war and exacerbate the suffering of the Yemeni people,” he declared.

“We believe that the liberation of Hodeidah will be the final nail in the Houthis’ coffin. Their days are numbered,” he stressed.

The Yemeni government had on Wednesday announced that it had exhausted all peaceful and political means to force the Houthis to withdraw from Hodeidah and it was left with no option other than the military one.

The recapture of Hodeidah will be a landmark moment in the Yemeni people’s struggle to restore their state, it said in a statement.

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