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Yemeni Speaker to Asharq Al-Awsat: Betting on Houthis Changing is False Hope

Yemeni Speaker to Asharq Al-Awsat: Betting on Houthis Changing is False Hope

Sunday, 23 June, 2019 - 09:00
A general view of the southern port city of Aden, Yemen January 22, 2018. (Reuters)
Cairo - Sawsan Abou Hussein

Yemeni parliament Speaker Sultan al-Burkani voiced his fears of the conflict ailing his country being removed from the international community’s memory as the threat of an Iran-US war occupies the highest political echelons worldwide.

“Certainly, any tension in the region affects the future of Yemen, and we are afraid to reach a stage of forgetting the issue of Yemen in light of the international community's concern for what is to come,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Burkani reaffirmed national resolve in Yemen towards defeating Iran-backed Houthi coupists and reinstating power to the freely-elected authorities.

He also blamed the United Nations special envoy Martin Griffiths for the ongoing stalemate in Yemeni peace talks and called on all involved parties to undertake decisive measures to hold the Houthis accountable for their violations of the UN-brokered deal signed in Sweden last December.

“We must not forget that the political solution led by the UN through its envoy has not achieved anything significant. We hope for the crisis to remain present and strong at international forums, because our people need to end this war and reach peace and restore the state to security and stability and overthrow of the coup,” Burkani stressed.

Popularly known as the Hodeidah agreement, the deal was signed in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, and represents a first step towards brokering a comprehensive political solution.

Speaking about Iranian efforts to destabilize Yemen by funding and arming Houthi insurgents, Burkani remarked: “Iran has outlined a personal agenda and we regret that our friends in the international community who know the truth choose to ignore it and stand idle.”

Iranian ambitions in the region, according to the speaker, do not only target Yemen, but also seek to undermine the national security of Arab countries in the region.

As for what role Houthis will play in war-torn country’s future, Burkani said: “First, we do not reject or deny the fact that Houthis are a component of the Yemeni society, and we have already invited them to establish a political party with a role and functions, but they want to act as an arm for Iran, to control Yemen, and harm neighboring countries instead.”

Pointing out several counts of Houthi noncompliance with peace efforts, he added: “We (the Yemeni internationally-recognized government) emphasize that those who count on changing the group's approach are making a losing bet. Griffith, has done so for a year and a half, yet with no avail.”

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