End your crimes, Hadi tells Houthis as Yemen holds first parliamentary session since coup

In his address, Hadi stated that four months had passed since the Stockholm agreement and there had been no further progress. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 April 2019

End your crimes, Hadi tells Houthis as Yemen holds first parliamentary session since coup

  • The parliamentary session was opened with the election of its new speaker
  • The session was held in Seiyun in the eastern province of Hadhramaut

JEDDAH/DUBAI: Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Saturday urged Iran-backed Houthi militias to “stop giving our nation to our enemies.”

“Isn’t it time to stop your crimes? Look around at the destruction you have caused,” Hadi said at the first meeting of the country’s Parliament since the Houthi coup in 2014.

The session took place in Seiyun in the eastern province of Hadhramaut, attended by 141 members, as well as international envoys and security personnel. 

Sultan Al-Burkani, head of the General People’s Congress party, was elected speaker. 

"The Houthis have made the capital a place of chaos", Al-Burkani said and asked officials to return to the temporary capital of Aden to fulfil their duties. 

In his address, Hadi said that four months had passed since the Stockholm agreement and there had been no further progress. 

"This meeting is convened during an extremely important and historic moment where we have to choose either peace or war," Hadi said.

"The Yemenis have recovered today, one of the most important institutions of their state, after a long journey of struggle, and they are in a station on the road to restoring their legitimate rights and the return of their stolen institutions," he said.

The president said that Houthi crimes must be exposed, adding that they do not understand peace.

He also called on government officials to resume their official duties. 

"War is not just military, every governmental official who does not perform his job is betraying his nation. We have to perform our duty of protecting our country," he told the session.

"All the parliamentarians who did not attend this meeting should join with their colleagues in this institution to defend their homeland," he said. 

Support for legitimate government

Mishaal bin Fahm Al-Salami, president of the Arab Parliament, who was also at the session, congratulated Hadi on holding a parliament session and called on the international community to condemn Houthi violations.

"The Yemeni crisis has always been at the heart of our agenda," Al-Salami said. 

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber said that Saturday’s parliamentary session emphasises the determination of Yemen’s people to reclaim the state and end the “Houthi project.”  

Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed arrived in Hadhramaut on Friday, with several ministers and officials to attend the meeting, Yemeni state agency SABA reported.

The prime minister is expected to set the public budget for 2019 during the meeting and prepare for further legal and constitutional procedures.

After the Houthi coup in 2015, the Yemeni president ordered the relocation of the parliament to Aden, the temporary capital.

Since the Houthis took hold of Sanaa, the militia captured around 100 lawmakers and threatened them into attending meetings, according to Arab daily, Asharq Al-Awsat.

The 301-member assembly was elected to a six-year term in 2009. It is split between Houthi supporters, government supporters and independents.

Yemen’s government has been based in the southern city of Aden since 2015, but Hadi and other top officials live in Saudi Arabia. 

Local authorities in Aden, who are allied with the United Arab Emirates, refused to allow parliament to convene there.

World community needs to act

Hadi called on the international community to stop procrastinating and pressure the Houthi militia to implement the agreements signed with it. 

"You are concerned with pressure to stop the war waged by the Houthi militias against the people of Yemen," he said. 

Last December in Stockholm, Sweden, the two sides agreed on a cease-fire and troop withdrawal in Hodeidah port, an exchange of prisoners, and the reopening of humanitarian corridors to help millions of starving Yemenis, with international monitors to oversee events.

The pact is intended to clear the way for wider political negotiations, with a transitional government supported by both sides, to end the war.

The Saudi-led coalition has accused the Iran-aligned Houthis of breaching the agreement. The Houthis want more guarantees from the United Nations that the other side will not exploit their withdrawal.

The cease-fire in Hodeidah has largely held despite an increase in violence in other parts of the country not subject to the agreement.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015 to restore Hadi’s government.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and an economic collapse has left about 16 million facing severe hunger.

Eastern Libya forces say 16 Turkish soldiers killed in fighting

Updated 23 February 2020

Eastern Libya forces say 16 Turkish soldiers killed in fighting

BENGHAZI: Forces loyal to Libyan eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar said on Sunday they had killed 16 Turkish soldiers in recent weeks, a day after Turkey acknowledged it had lost several "martyrs" in combat in the north African country.
Khalid al-Mahjoub, a spokesman for Haftar's Libya National Army (LNA), said the Turks were killed in the port city of Misrata, in battles in Tripoli and in the town of al-Falah south of the capital.
Turkey backs Libya's weak internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and has sent Syrian soldiers along with some of its own soldiers and weapons.
Haftar's forces are backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday acknowleged some Turkish losses in Libya's "struggle".
"We are there (in Libya) with our (Turkish) soldiers and our teams from the Syrian National Army. We continue the struggle there. We have several martyrs. In return, however, we neutralized nearly a hundred (of Haftar's) legionaries," Erdogan said.
The Syrian National Army, also known as Free Syrian Army, is a Turkey-backed Syrian rebel group fighting against pro-Damascus forces in northern Syria, where 16 Turkish soldiers have been killed so far this month.
The deployment of Turkish soldiers and sophisticated air defences has erased small gains made by the LNA with the help of Russian mercenaries, returning the frontline roughly to where it was at start of Haftar's campaign in April 2019.
Ceasefire talks between Libya's warring sides resumed on Thursday after the GNA had pulled out of negotiations following the shelling of Tripoli's port by Haftar's forces.