Hadi vows to thwart attempts to divide Yemen

Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. (AFP/File)
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Updated 23 May 2020

Hadi vows to thwart attempts to divide Yemen

  • Hadi’s speech comes as his forces battle two rebellions in the north and south of Yemen

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has vowed to keep the country united and to confront all internal and externals attempts to divide the country.

In a televised speech to mark the 30th anniversary of the unification between north and south Yemen on May 22, Hadi said that his country was facing serious challenges that threatened its unity, and a wave of diseases that had overwhelmed the country’s fragile health system.

“We will defeat all who try to harm our homeland, culture, history, geography and the aspirations of our people. We will not allow anyone to drag the country into chaos, violence and terrorism,” he said.

Hadi reiterated his government’s willingness to comply with peace initiatives that could end the war in Yemen. Hadi’s speech comes as his forces battle two rebellions in the north and south of Yemen.

The Iranian-backed Houthis seized control of Sanaa in late 2014, forcing Hadi to call for military intervention from Arab countries. In the south, the separatist South Transitional Council (STC) declared self-rule in Aden and other southern provinces, blocking the return of the internationally recognized government.

Vowing to face all challenges, the president said: “We are making every effort to restore the state and end the coup and rebellion in the north and south of the country. We have dealt positively with all peace calls and all humanitarian initiatives,” he said.

Hadi ordered his forces positioned in Abyan on May 11 to push toward Aden to drive separatists out of the strategic city and other provinces, triggering heavy fighting with separatists. Over the past couple of days, Yemen’s army has dispatched heavy equipment and military forces to Abyan to reinforce the government’s troops battling to break the military impasse.

Residents in Abyan reported seeing a convoy of flatbed trucks carrying tanks, armored vehicles and heavy machine guns heading to Abyan’s Shouqra.

Hadi said that separatists seized control of state bodies in Aden, obstructed the return of the government, blocked the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement and attacked army troops in the southern provinces, stressing that his government was still willing to implement the agreement.

“We affirm that the Riyadh Agreement is still, to date, an available option that offers solutions for these problems,” he said.

Coronavirus cases

The number of coronavirus cases in government-controlled areas has increased to 193 with 13 new cases in Aden, Hardramout, Shabwa and Taiz. Three deaths have also been reported, the Aden-based national coronavirus committee said in a statement. Yemen recorded its first case of coronavirus on April 10 in the province of Hadramout.

Yemeni Health Minister Dr. Nasser Baoum has urged western envoys to Yemen to send medical teams to the port city of Aden to help local health authorities investigate the causes of hundreds of deaths reported since early last month.

At a meeting with European ambassadors to Yemen, the minister said that the deteriorating health situation in Aden required urgent intervention from international health care experts. Health officials and international non-government organizations working in Aden say that malaria, dengue and chikungunya, coronavirus and other diseases have killed hundreds of people in the city since early last month.


‘Provocative’ Erdogan to drill for oil off Libya

Updated 31 May 2020

‘Provocative’ Erdogan to drill for oil off Libya

  • Turkey claims an agreement gives it the right to explore for oil and gas in an exclusive economic zone

JEDDAH: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to create a “fait accompli” over rights to natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean by drilling off the coast of Libya, analysts told Arab News on Saturday.

Ankara’s announcement that it intends to activate last year’s maritime borders agreement with the Libyan government in Tripoli has brought simmering tensions to the boil.   

Turkey claims the agreement gives it the right to explore for oil and gas in an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between its southern coast and Libya’s northeastern coast. However, Greece, Cyprus and the EU say the deal is illegal. Turkey may also face EU sanctions over drilling in Cypriot territorial waters.

Ankara has not said exactly where it will drill, but experts told Arab News they expect exploration activities to begin off Tripoli in the short term, and then near to the coastal city of Sirte.

“From a tactical point of view, Turkey may test the scenario of a crisis with Athens where escalation takes place and then, in the context of de-escalation, the two countries would have to discuss and negotiate their positions,” said Zenonas Tziarras, a researcher at PRIO Cyprus Centre.

Mona Sukkarieh, a political risk consultant and co-founder of Middle East Strategic Perspectives, said: “If we take Turkish operations off the Cypriot coast as an indicator, operations off the Libyan coast might start off on the less provocative part of the spectrum and grow bolder with time toward the more provocative part of the spectrum.

“The objective is to demonstrate a resolute determination in order to extract concessions or, at the very least, to impose itself as a player to reckon with.”