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Yemeni Government Rejects Hunt’s Statements on Hodeidah ‘Neutral Authority’

Yemeni Government Rejects Hunt’s Statements on Hodeidah ‘Neutral Authority’

Wednesday, 6 March, 2019 - 11:15
Yemen's Foreign Minister, Khaled al-Yemani, walks with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the presidential palace in Aden. Reuters
Aden - Jeddah - Ali Rabih and Asma al-Ghabri
The Yemeni government voiced its rejection of statements made by UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on the situation in Hodeidah and the assignment of a “neutral authority” to run the city’s three key ports.

In a statement, the Yemeni Foreign Ministry said that the government reaffirmed its legitimate right to manage all the facilities in Hodeidah following the withdrawal of the Houthi rebels from the city as declared in the Stockholm Agreement struck between the warring sides last December.

The statement came in reaction to Hunt’s remarks after his first official visit to the southern port city of Aden.

Hunt said during a media interview that Houthis had suggested handing over Hodeidah to “a neutral control” following their withdrawal.

“All the Yemeni laws along with the international resolutions enshrine the exclusive right of the government in running the affairs of the country and extending control over all the country's sovereign territory, including Hodeidah,” said the government's statement.

It also said the Stockholm Agreement stipulates that “Hodeidah's authority (after the Houthi pullout) should remain in the hands of the security forces as per the Yemeni law” and that Hunt's talk about “neutral control” is an odd interpretation of that deal.

The statement concluded that the task of the international community is to “implement the Stockholm Agreement, not to interpret it in contradiction to its content in search for inapplicable solutions.”

As for talks concerning resorting to alternative arrangements, the government said they were ‘premature’ and stressed that the full implementation of the peace agreement remains a top priority.

The government demanded that the international community shoulders its responsibilities in forcing Houthi compliance with the UN-brokered Stockholm deal, considering that it serves as a benchmark for the launching of a new phase, if implemented well.

Recalling the large number of concessions it had presented to advance the peace process, the government said that there is no room for further compromises, adding that more of them could hamper the war-torn country’s hopes for peace, especially in light of Houthis, time and time again, employing a non-compliance policy.

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