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UAE to act against Daesh, AQAP in Yemen: Envoy

United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to India Dr. Ahmed Al Banna said Friday that his country’s government will take all measures necessary to help neighbouring Yemen free itself from the grip of terrorist groups like the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Daesh.

In a statement issued, Dr. Al Banna said, “An Arab coalition has launched military and humanitarian operations in Western Yemen to facilitate uninterrupted supply of relief aid to the Yemeni people by liberating the Red Sea port city of Hodeida from terrorist control.”

“The coalition action is at the request of the legitimate government of Yemen. Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi on Thursday reiterated his call to the Arab coalition to liberate the port city of Hodeidah through military means after having exhausted all efforts to reach a political solution because of the intransigence of the Houthi rebels,” Dr. Al Banna added.

“The Arab coalition is spearheaded by the Yemeni National Army, aided by local Yemeni resistance fighters, many of whom are from the Hodeida area. It includes military forces from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and several Arab nations. The current operations to liberate Hodeida port are in line with UN Security Council Resolutions 2216, 2231 and 2286. The UAE and the rest of the Arab coalition continue to strongly support the efforts of the UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, consistent with UN Security Council resolutions,” he said.

“The immediate aim of the liberation of Hodeida port is to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population in Yemen and create conditions favourable to achieving a negotiated settlement by cutting off supplies of illicit arms that have fueled an insurgency in that country. In the coalition’s assessment, Iran has been linked to supplies of unmanned aerial vehicles, small weapons, drone boats and other arms in direct violations of UN Security Council Resolutions 2216 and 2231. Our assessment is that once Iranian arms supplies to the militias are stopped, the ballistic missile attacks by the Houthis against neighbouring countries will stop, marking a significant improvement in regional security,” Ambassador Al Banna maintained through his statement.

He claimed that Houthi rebels have misconstrued all goodwill gestures from the UAE as a sign of for weakness.

“The Arab coalition has, therefore, come to the conclusion that liberating Hodeida port from terrorist control will block illegal Iranian weapons transfers…The larger context of the coalition operations in Yemen in general is to end the Iranian aggression and interference in the affairs of the Arab world and the region. The liberation of the Hodeida port will provide a fillip to the revival of the peace process and a return to the negotiation table,” the UAE envoy said.

He added, “From April 2015 until May 2018, the UAE has provided USD 3.76 billion in assistance to Yemen, benefitting more than 13.8 million people from its 12 governorates. In response to the UN Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan 2018, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have together contributed USD 1 billion.

“UAE and coalition operation to retake Hodeida will also improve the flow of humanitarian assistance to areas controlled by Houthi rebels and areas controlled by the legitimate government of Yemen,” he said.

“Liberating Hodeida and creating conditions favourable to achieving a negotiated settlement in Yemen will help to refocus full attention to the fight against AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) and Daesh that present serious risks to other countries targeted by extremist groups. The Arab coalition urges other nations and interested parties to intensify efforts to facilitate the political transition process and to support humanitarian efforts to meet the urgent needs of the Yemeni people,” he concluded.

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