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Yemen Govt. Proposes Initiative for Complete Houthi Withdrawal from West Coast

Yemen Govt. Proposes Initiative for Complete Houthi Withdrawal from West Coast

Wednesday, 18 July, 2018 - 06:00
Yemeni soldiers stand on their position on a mountain on the frontline of fighting with Houthis in Nihem area, near Sanaa. (Reuters)

Yemen’s Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani revealed on Tuesday that his government had proposed a new comprehensive initiative to the Iran-backed Houthi militias to withdraw from all regions of the West coast.

It calls for their withdrawal from Hodeidah province and its strategic port and the ports of al-Salif and Ras Isa. The Interior Ministry and police department will be tasked with controlling these areas, he explained from his ministry’s temporary headquarters in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Legitimate powers, in turn, will oversee the performance of the police in the West coast. It will also supervise all other state institutions there, Yamani told a press conference.

All state resources will be transferred to the central bank, he revealed in detailing the government initiative.

“Should the militias reject the proposal, then the government will have no choice but to employ its means to liberate Yemeni territory, as we did in Aden. We will eventually liberate Sanaa,” he vowed.

Yamani stressed that Yemen refuses to adopt a selective solution to the country’s crisis. He instead demanded that the Houthis withdraw from regions they have occupied and lay down their arms in accordance to United Nations Security Council resolution 2216.

“This resolution is the most important legal tool for the international community to address the Yemeni crisis,” he stated.

Asked by Asharq Al-Awsat about the latest round of peace negotiations, the minister replied: “Up until this moment, we are awaiting for the Houthis to accept our demand for a complete and unconditional withdrawal.”

“They have been completely uncooperative in this respect,” he continued, saying that they have instead been focusing on “de-escalating” tensions and reducing the number of their forces.

“These are proposals that are unacceptable by the legitimate government,” the minister declared.

He added that international partners are imposing pressure on the legitimate government despite their acknowledgment that the militias are the main source of the problem.

The Houthis should be the ones being held accountable, he urged.

Moreover, Yamani noted that UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths had exerted “severe pressure” on the legitimate government and Saudi-led Arab coalition from the very moment that he assumed his duties.

His pressure focused on humanitarian issues in order to reach results on the political level, he explained, while expressing reservations over the UN’s assessment of the humanitarian situation.

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