Yemen’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak admitted that Yemen is on the brink of collapse, however, he expressed his belief that the legitimacy succeeded in securing livelihood in liberated areas, including Shabwa, Hadramawt, Marib, and Mahra, despite challenges.
In an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, bin Mubarak described the Houthi group as a “movement of violence.”
The minister said there are several opportunities for peace, stressing that the main challenge is to end the war.
Asked whether he believes Yemenis are heading towards peace or civil war, the minister indicated that there are several conflicts, but Yemenis will not allow a scenario similar to that of Somalia.
Asharq Al-Awsat asked bin Mubarak about the Omani mediation, as its results remain unclear to date, he asserted that all peace efforts are appreciated, noting that they have not been informed about the meeting with the Houthis.
He said that Houthis’ strength stems from the weakness of all political components, noting that they wouldn’t have entered Sanaa had they not exploited the differences between the political forces.
Asked why the legitimacy failed to provide a positive model in its regions, the minister recalled that in December, the government returned to Aden, but was later forced to leave for security reasons.
“We are in a phase based on partnership and this entails joint responsibility.”
Bin Mubarak stressed that it is unfair to say the situation is bad, noting that security and stability have been maintained in areas under the government’s control.
The minister discussed the situation in Marib, asserting that the city will not fall, saying everyone understands its geostrategic importance, warning that if Houthis reach Marib, they will seek to target the whole Arabian Peninsula.
He asserted that enforcing the rule of law and the constitution on Yemeni soil is a “legitimate matter that has no red lines,” adding that the constitution, international law, and Security Council resolutions all address unity, security, stability, and sovereignty of the recognized Yemeni state.
In response to the question about the operation to liberate Hodeidah, the minister explained that the situation is terrible in the city, and Houthis did not allow the entrance of humanitarian aid.
The objective of the Stockholm Agreement was to address the situation in Hodeidah and its port, however, it has not been implemented, according to the minister.
“The world should review what happened in Stockholm and ensure that it is not repeated in any subsequent agreement.”
Bin Mubarak asserted that the security situation prevents the return of the President and Vice President to the liberated areas.
Asked about the conflict between the political and armed wings of the Houthi group, the minister indicated that it is not a “coherent group” and the two always clash.
“The armed wing is the real decision-maker.”
On the Iranian presidential elections, bin Mubarak asserted that the Supreme Leader is the de facto ruler.
“Iran is a huge neighboring country […] Our main issue is with its approach […] We suffer the most from the Revolutionary Guard Corps.”
Bin Mubarak further said the government’s return to Aden, in accordance with the Riyadh Agreement, faced security challenges and the escalation of the media discourse, forcing it to leave a few months later.
“We trust and rely on the role of our brothers in Saudi Arabia, as a sponsor of this agreement,” said the minister, asserting that the government will exert all efforts to move forward in completing its implementation.
Bin Mubarak asserted Yemen’s sovereignty over all its cities, islands, airspace and seas, and confirmed that there isn’t any agreement regarding Socotra and Mayon. However, he reiterated that there is great cooperation within the Arab coalition and joint military operations.
Asked about the corruption and its influence on the government’s performance, the minister admitted the system is flawed.
The government’s most important principle is to “enhance the monitoring performance of state institutions,” said the minister.
“We believe that combating corruption is an important issue that must be addressed radically.”
Regarding the diplomatic corps, he explained that there is an evaluation program for the performance focusing on efficiency and addressing any issues.
“We are trying to get more efficient teams in diplomatic missions and develop strategies and policy approaches,” noted the minister, lauding the efforts of the Yemeni diplomatic missions despite all the difficult conditions and budgeting issues.