Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al Jaber revealed that Yemen’s General People's Congress, founded by the late former President Ali Abduallah Saleh, had always interacted positively in the 2016 Kuwait-sponsored talks. Houthi insurgents however had gone out of their way to foil peace discussions.
In an exclusive with Asharq Al-Awsat, Al Jaber said that the Yemenis’ uprising against Iran’s expansionist agenda is a strategic change of course for both the country and the region.
Al Jaber’s spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on December 3, a day before Saleh was killed by the Houthis in Sana’a.
In the aftermath of Saleh’s death, the diplomat tweeted: "The Kingdom always stands by our Yemeni brothers, despite all Houthi crimes, and Houthis’ treachery and revocation against covenants—a part of their Iran-tailored education.”
“Iran exports death to Yemen,” said the diplomat in a condemnation of the ongoing war in Yemen backed by Iran.
The ambassador also deemed as surprising calls by the Iranian Foreign Ministry on both the Houthis and General People’s Congress to return to calm.
He pointed out that Tehran never made such a demand in the past unless it sensed a direct uprising against it.
In the opinion of the Saudi ambassador, Houthi insurgents are now left with nothing but the support of their own militias, as the Yemeni people have chosen their state, tribe and Arabism above Iranian expansionism.
Asked about the possibility of holding dialogue with the Houthis should they appear willing to do so, he said: “The whole world for two years and a half has been demanding them to get involved in finding a solution and settlement, but they do not show any intentions towards taking action.”
“Houthis represent only Iran, and Tehran believes in interfering in Arab countries and their continued exporting of insurgency movements and ignorance, and impoverishment of the Arab world. For the Houthis, that is not linked to a political commitment,” explained Al Jaber.
“They (Houthis) attended the meetings of the national dialogue for ten months, approved and then renounced them… they have no desire for any peace.”
Asked if whether the military solution is the only current solution under the given intransigence of Houthis to engage in a political solution, Al Jaber noted that Saleh was in an alliance with the Iran-backed militias and they still betrayed him.
“It is very clear that Houthis will not seek political solutions and such a request is only a tactical move.”
On rumors that Iran was sending food relief to Yemenis, Al Jaber said: “Tehran has not sent any food-- Iran is killing the Arab world. It had sent militias to Iraq to kill Iraqis and ignite a sectarian war and create discord.”
Addressing post-war plans for the reconstruction of Yemen, the Saudi Ambassador stated that “there is no doubt that reconstruction in Yemen has been agreed upon worldwide since 2008 at the Friends of Yemen Conference.”
“Saudi Arabia provided billions of dollars to the Yemeni people through its government, by providing employment opportunities and supporting all Yemeni institutions.”
If the crisis ends and Yemenis reach solutions to restore their state, security and stability, reconstruction efforts will return from the Kingdom, Gulf States and the international community.
On funds allocated by Saudi Arabia for the reconstruction efforts in Yemen, Al Jaber said that he does not know the specifics, “but the countries are talking in large numbers for the benefit of the Yemeni people.”
He said that projections show nine digit numbers.