Houthis Turn against UN Team
For the second successive day, the representatives of the Houthi militias in the Redeployment Coordination Committee refused to meet with head of the body, retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert, revealed Yemeni government sources.
The committee is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the ceasefire deal on Hodeidah reached between the legitimate government and Iran-backed militias in Sweden in December.
The government had, meanwhile, met with Cammaert in a “fruitful” meeting in Hodeidah.
Houthi spokesman, Mohammed Abdulsalam, blamed the “lack of progress” in implementing the Sweden deal on Cammaert, accusing him of seeking to further “another agenda.”
He described Cammaert as weak, calling on UN special envoy Martin Griffiths to intervene to salvage the situation.
The Houthis appear to be irked by Cammaert rejection of their ploy in Hodeidah where they claimed to have withdrawn from the city, as stipulated by the Sweden deal, before later returning to it under the guise of security forces.
Observers said that the militias were probably disappointed that Cammaert was not siding with them as he was leaning more towards the legitimate government.
Many politicians were not surprised with the Houthi behavior. They noted that from the start, the militias were never really serious about implementing it.
On the contrary, instead of abiding by the truce and withdrawing their forces from Hodeidah, as per the agreement, the Houthis continued to amass their forces in the southern part of the province. They are likely preparing for a wide-scale offensive to cut government supply routes.
Yamani: A gang that only accepts death
Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Houthis thought that they could manipulate the UN, but they were met with a firm response that left them little room to maneuver around the deal.
“The hawks and extremists among the Houthis refuse the concept of withdrawal. They only accept the concept of violence, death and the destruction of the country. They do not yield to compromises,” he noted.
“This gang emerged from violence and it is therefore natural for it to adopt such an approach,” he explained.
“We assert with damning evidence before the international community that we are presenting all sorts of concessions for peace,” stressed the minister. “Can we make any more concessions than accepting that meetings be held in areas held by the Houthis?”
The militias, on the other hand, have refused to meet in regions held by the government, remarked Yamani.
Attack on government team
Separately, Information Minister Moammar al-Eryani revealed Sunday that military forces, backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, thwarted a terrorist attack against the government delegation in the Redeployment Coordination Committee.
The military thwarted an Iranian-made drone attack by the Houthis against the team, which is headed by Saghir bin Aziz.
Eryani said that by carrying out such attacks, the militias were seeking to obstruct the implementation of the Sweden deal.
He noted that the failed assault took place a day after the Houthi drone attack against a military parade in Lahj on Thursday.
This proves that the Houthis were determined to thwart the Sweden agreement, the minister said, accusing Iran of stoking unrest in Yemen and the region.
Threat of more violence
Another Houthi spokesman, Yehya Sarea, vowed that the militias will up their drone attacks, saying that they have a large arsenal of these aircraft.
He also boasted of the Houthis’ abilities to locally manufacture the drones.