AL-MUKALLA: The Yemeni government and its envoys abroad have cranked up a diplomatic campaign to convince the world to designate the Houthi militia movement a terrorist organization, stressing that doing so would put an end to Houthi attacks inside and outside Yemen, and smooth the way for peace.
The official news agency SABA reported on Monday that Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed said during a video conference with the EU ambassadors to Yemen that the EU should follow the example of the US by designating the Houthis terrorists, since it would end the Houthis’ objections to peace plans, and hinder Iran. He repeated his government’s pledges to work on mitigating the effects of the designation on humanitarian activities in Houthi-controlled areas.
Similarly, the country’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak urged Mauritania and other countries to label the Houthis a terrorist organization, noting that the US designation came in the context of increasing pressure by the international community on the rebels to accept peace initiatives, and to stop fueling violence in Yemen and the region, abandoning Iran’s “destructive” projects.
During a phone call with the Mauritanian foreign minister and the former UN Yemen envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Bin Mubarak called upon Mauritania and other “brotherly” countries to place sanctions on the Houthis to curb their abuses against Yemen.
Yemen’s Shoura Council urged the international community to follow the US move, saying that the designation would restrain the Houthis and lead to peace and stability in the country.
The Shoura Council Presidency stressed “the importance, fairness and accuracy of the US administration’s decision to classify the Houthi militia as a terrorist group.”
Yemen’s ambassadors have also sought to convince their host countries to declare the Houthis a terrorist organization.
On social media, dozens of Yemeni activists, politicians and military figures, journalists and former prisoners have moved ahead with a campaign of highlighting Houthi crimes. “(The) Houthis and Daesh are two sides of the same coin,” said Samera Al-Houri, a victim of abduction by the Houthis, sharing images of the captors who tortured her.
Yemen’s government forces on Monday took charge of a strategic location in the port city of Aden, the country’s interim capital, from the pro-independence Southern Transitional Council (STC), local media reports said.
For the first time in two years, Presidential Protection Forces (PPF) took control of a military location close to the historic Sira Fortress after the separatists’ withdrawal, under the terms of the Riyadh Agreement.
During the handover ceremony that was attended by local military commanders and Saudi military officers in Aden, Brig. Fadhel Al-Darae, chief of staff of 1st Presidential Protection Brigade, urged Yemenis to unify military efforts towards defeating the Iran-backed Houthis. “We are all brothers and colleagues. Our guns must be pointed at one target and one enemy, which is the Houthis,” Al-Darae said.