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Yemen PM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Houthis Exploit Peace Talks to Prepare for War

Yemen PM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Houthis Exploit Peace Talks to Prepare for War

Friday, 12 April, 2019 - 07:00
Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed. (AFP)
Riyadh – Abdulhadi Habtor
Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed stressed that Operation Decisive Storm was the strongest signal against Iran’s hostile agenda against the Arab nation and its proxy, the Houthi militias, in Yemen.

On the fourth anniversary of the launch of the operation, Asharq Al-Awsat sat down with Saeed to assess peace prospects in his war-torn country.

“Since the launch of numerous UN-sponsored peace consultations in 2016, we have reached the same conclusion that we as Yemenis had already known that the coupists cannot be approached for peace,” he stressed.

“Their policy of stalling and maneuvering is unwavering and is not affected by horrors of war that they are fueling. The Houthis see peace talks as a lull to prepare for war and continue their coup and crimes,” he charged.

“I believe it is time for the UN and some international powers that have been luring the Houthis to peace that this approach has been a failure,” said Saeed.

Operation Decisive Storm, he said, was one of the bravest Arab decisions taken by the Saudi Arabia, led by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and in response to a plea by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi during a critical time in Yemen’s history. The operation revived Arab solidarity and the possibility of restoring joint Arab cooperation.

The operation is not limited to the military, but also extends to supporting the political process and Yemen’s leadership in international arenas, he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The operation was also a “painful blow” to Iran’s ambitions in Yemen, he continued.

“It has obstructed its efforts to expand its agenda by averting the collapse of the Yemeni state in Houthi hands,” remarked the premier. “It was a firm signal that Arab countries will not remain an open arena for Iran’s destructive project.”

“The mission to destroy this agenda still requires more efforts. We are talking about a project that is a product of 30 years of plotting that does not stop at Yemen, but extends to all Arab countries,” he stressed.

On Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian role in Yemen, Saeed said that the Kingdom has played a huge part through its King Salman Humanitarian Aid And Relief Center (KSRelief) and Riyadh’s financial contributions to easing humanitarian suffering. It has allocated $500 million for the 2019 relief plan for Yemen.

Asked to assess the visits paid by western officials to the temporary capital Aden, most notably that of British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Saeed said that they prove that international powers were determined to cooperate with the legitimate government.

“They also show that the Houthis do not have a political future,” he stated.

The more efforts are exerted to cement peace in Aden and restore services, the greater the chances are that diplomatic missions will resume their activities in Aden, he added.

Commenting on the southern transition council and the forces it has deployed in Aden, the PM said: “Our government belongs to all Yemeni people.”

“Since being appointed to my post, I have adopted a clear vision that is completely focused on steering clear of side battles. It instead stresses restoring calm and unity on the internal front in order to restore peace and defeat the coup,” Saeed remarked.

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