Yemeni FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: We are Still Awaiting Lebanon’s Response to our Complaint

Yemeni FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: We are Still Awaiting Lebanon’s Response to our Complaint

Friday, 20 July, 2018 - 08:45
Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani. (Getty Images)
Riyadh - Saeed al-Abyadh
Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani revealed that the legitimate government was still awaiting Lebanon’s response to its complaint over “Hezbollah’s” involvement in the conflict in his country.

He stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Yemen “will address any country whose nationals are involved in the conflict.”

Yamani had sent a complaint to his Lebanese counterpart Jebran Bassil over “Hezbollah’s” interference in Yemen, describing the Iran-backed party’s actions are a violation of joint Arab treaties.

“Lebanon will not accept to be kidnapped by militias that claim to be part of the Lebanese system at a time when they are commanded by the Wilayet al-Faqih,” stated the minister.

“The ‘Hezbollah’ secretary general openly declared that he is a Khamenei soldier and that he is ready if confronted by war,” he continued. “Such statements do not make him part of the Lebanese national defense concept, but Iran’s idea of defense.”

Moreover, Yamani revealed that his government was preparing to send a similar complaint to Iraq over recent statements made by extremist Shiite militias.

The Iran-backed Houthi militias are seeking to preserve their presence in Yemen and follow the example of “Hezbollah”, which is present alongside the political system in Lebanon, he noted.

The party has been obstructing political and social life in Lebanon. “The Yemeni government will not accept this,” Yamani stressed. “Any sovereign country that respects the rule of law will not accept the existence of militias similar to ‘Hezbollah’, which manages political life and imposes vetoes by force of its arms.”

“This will not be acceptable by the government and the coupists are trying to impose themselves on the negotiations table as a partner that obstructs the development of the nation,” he added.

“The government will accept them as a political partner after they lay down their arms and agree to withdraw from all cities they have seized,” he noted.

On the developments in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, he revealed that United Nations special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths had met separately with President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Houthis to discuss an initiative on the coastal city.

The envoy’s proposal had focused on the Houthi withdrawal from the West coast, referring port revenues to the central bank and imposing UN supervision of Hodeidah, al-Salif and Ras Isa ports.

The militias rejected the government’s main demand of a complete and unconditional withdrawal from the entire West coast.

The solution must not be implemented in phases, Yamani added.

“Does their withdrawal from Hodeidah mean that they will end all of their operations in Sanaa, Nahm and Saada?”

“The project to restore the authority of the state will continue, unless the Houthis consent to implement the security aspect of the Kuwait agreement that includes the withdrawal and hand over of weapons and ballistic missiles,” he continued.

Iran, he charged, has continued to provide the Houthis with missiles and it is sending “Hezbollah” cadres to train and equip the militants.

These actions have been documented and evidence has been gathered to implicate Tehran. It has even provided the Houthis with information on how to build drones to carry out attacks, he said.

“The government has presented several files to the UN Security Council on Iran’s involvement in Yemen. We have demanded that stronger measures be taken against it,” he stated. “Legal experts have attested that Tehran is violating Security Council resolution 2216 by providing the Houthis with weapons, but it has still continued its arming of the group.”

He said that the Iranians are supplying the Houthis with their weapons and equipment through uninhabited Red Sea islands.

He revealed in this regard that efforts are underway between the government and Saudi-led Arab coalition to establish a protocol agreement with various countries to set up a coast guard force in the region to monitor smuggling operations.

Asked about Iranian experts in Yemen, he said that the claims are difficult to verify, but several “Hezbollah” members are part of the Houthi hierarchy.

“The militias would definitely not have had the ability to wage battles had they not received the sufficient training by ‘Hezbollah’,” he added, revealing that the first thing that the militia did when they seized Sanaa was to release six Iranians from state prison.

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