Dialogue is “pointless” without disarming Yemen’s Houthis: minister
Aden’s new governor arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday
Sawsan Abu-Husain Asharq Al-Awsat Saturday, 17 Oct, 2015
Cairo and Aden, Asharq Al-Awsat—Yemen’s human rights minister has called for
“disarming” the Houthi group who controls large parts of the country, a
step, he said, without which any dialogue between the rebel movement and the
government would be “pointless.”
“No peace [agreement] can be reached with this extremist group unless it
hands over its weapons [to the government],” Ezz Al-Din Al-Asbahi, Yemen’s
Human Rights Minister, said in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday,
expressing hope that the Iran-allied group will return weapons depots and
military bases it has seized from the government.
Asbahi’s remarks coincide with the UN Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s
return to Yemen to resume peace efforts aimed at ending the conflict that
pits loyalists to the Gulf-backed government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur
Hadi against an alliance of Houthi rebels and supporters of ex-president Ali
“We appreciate the great efforts [of the UN] for they are dealing with a
party that does not know a thing about international law or … diplomatic
rules,” Asbahi said of the Houthi movement that continues to occupy large
parts of Yemen despite a UN Security Council resolution calling for its
Once disarmed, Asbahi argued, the Houthi group will lose its influence which
he attributed to its seizure of weapons depots and military bases from Hadi’s
government in coordination with Saleh’s forces.
He said: “The Houthi-Saleh alliance is incapable of building a country,
society or institutions. It lacks a vision for the future and all it does is
cause harm to innocent citizens.”
Earlier this month, the Houthi group and Saleh’s party notified UN chief Ban
Ki-moon that they were ready to join talks on a settlement based on a
seven-point peace plan proposed by the UN in talks in Oman in September.
“We want from them two lines only saying: ‘We abide by the legitimacy and
the UN resolution’; not just a letter addressed to the UN
secretary-general,” Asbahi said.
Meanwhile, Major General Ja’afar Mohamed Sa’ad, the newly appointed governor
of Aden, arrived to the strategic southern city from Saudi Arabia on Friday.
The appointment of Sa’ad, who replaced Nayef Al-Bakri, comes as the city is
going through exceptional circumstances caused by fighting between the
Houthis and Hadi’s loyalists in mid-July.
Government loyalists, backed by Saudi-led airstrikes and ground troops, have
driven out the Houthis from Aden, and advanced towards the capital, Sana’a,
which remains under rebel control since September of 2014.