LONDON: Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak on Monday urged the international community to put more financial pressure on the Iran-backed Houthi militia, in an address at the UN General Assembly in New York.
He thanked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on behalf of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi for his efforts to bring peace to Yemen, and congratulated its people on the anniversary of the 1962 revolution.
Bin Mubarak reminded the assembly that Yemen has been at war for seven years, with the Houthis supported logistically and militarily by Iran which, he added, aims to destabilize both Yemen and the wider region by backing armed sectarian proxy groups.
“This proves,” he said, “that Iran has been, and continues to be, part of the problem in Yemen, rather than the solution.”
He added that the Houthis have presided over a humanitarian crisis in their bid to enrich themselves, calling their coup an “autumn of suffering, injustice, oppression, destruction of political participation, suffocation of public freedom, raids on houses, explosion of schools and places of worship, chasing of opponents, torture of citizens and transforming of Sanaa — a city of history and coexistence — into a large prison for the Yemeni people.”
Bin Mubarak said Yemen’s economy has declined by over 50 percent since the start of the conflict.
He thanked Yemen’s neighbors and friends for trying to mitigate the effects of the Houthi military campaign.
“Houthi militias continue to impose more taxes and customs fees even between Yemeni cities, and they harness this to feed the war machinery and to pay salaries of their own people,” he said.
“Meanwhile, militias try to circumvent all rules to have access to goods and basic needs, even from humanitarian aid,” he added.
“All this money, estimated at $3.8 billion per year, in addition to the amounts garnered by warlords, is invested in recruiting children and involving them in the war.”
Bin Mubarak also accused the Houthis of attacking civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen as well as in neighboring Saudi Arabia.
He urged the international community to “shoulder its responsibility” to help “end the suffering” of ordinary Yemenis at the hands of the Houthis by “exerting pressure on the coup leaders and their sponsors … to put an end to the bloodshed and destruction.”
He said the Houthis have executed innocent Yemenis, including minors, in a manner he compared to Daesh and Al-Qaeda, adding that many, including journalists, languish in Houthi jails.
Bin Mubarak called for “more pressure” to be exerted on the Houthis to put money gained from tax and “pillage” into the country’s central bank, and asked the international community to stop the devaluation of Yemen’s currency.
He also asked for the UN to “mainstream” international aid and other humanitarian efforts to kickstart the country’s recovery, and for a package of financial support to assist the government.
Bin Mubarak urged countries to donate more vaccines to help Yemen, thanking the international community for their help so far but saying more needs to be done to safeguard the future of the globe against COVID-19.
He thanked Saudi Arabia for its assistance in setting up an interim Yemeni government in the port city of Aden.