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.
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.