Yemeni UN Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande broke her silence on an alleged deal signed between the international body and Houthi militias in Yemen for establishing an air bridge out of the war-torn country.
Grande reaffirmed that the global body upholds all United Nations Security Council resolutions, and recognizes the freely-elected Yemeni government as the sole legitimate authority in Yemen.
The air bridge project, which was a hot topic for debate between UN and Yemeni government delegates, will be signed with the legitimate government at the right time and place, reported the Yemeni official Saba news agency.
For his part, Undersecretary of the Yemeni Foreign Ministry for Political Affairs Mansour Bajash said that UN-affiliated offices and organizations operating in Houthi-held Sanaa, coercively signing agreements with militia groups that do not represent the Yemeni people is unjustifiable, saying that the Aden-based government will not recognize the arrangement as legitimate.
Yemen's government has said it will not recognize an agreement struck with Iran-aligned Houthis granting safe passage for airlifts claiming to be transporting critically ill civilians abroad for treatment.
Officials in Yemen are concerned that fighters from Iran-affiliate Lebanese group "Hezbollah" are fighting alongside the rebels and could use the flights to smuggle its members and allied rebels out of the country under a medical guise.
For his part, Yemeni Prime Minister Press Secretary Ghamdan al-Sharif said that Grande will be signing deals for humanitarian arrangements with the legitimate government in upcoming days.
“The Yemeni government is keen on alleviating the suffering of Yemenis and allowing for an air bridge to care for the sick and those in need of treatment successfully is a national duty it undertakes,” Sharif said.
Sharif adds that the government was the first to mobilize “countless initiatives” on international and regional scales to aid Yemenis in overcoming everyday struggles caused by the Houthi-waged civil war.