AL-MUKALLA: A group of EU envoys to Yemen have returned to the southern port city of Aden, the country’s temporary capital, in a show of support for the internationally recognized government and its efforts to unite the nation’s fighting forces, stabilize the economy, and facilitate a peace agreement to end the war, Yemeni officials said.
The delegation, led by Gabriel Munuera Vinals, held talks on Tuesday with Rashad Al-Alimi, head of the Presidential Leadership Council, during which they reportedly discussed ways to promote peace, the government’s economic policies to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, and the council’s efforts to unify the military and security forces and other armed groups under its command.
During a separate meeting with Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Mohsen Al-Daeri, the ambassadors praised the government’s commitment to the peace process and its efforts to unite the nation’s forces. They also discussed with Foreign Minister Ahmed Awadh bin Mubarak efforts to restore the UN-brokered truce.
A Yemeni government official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Arab News that the envoys visited Aden to show their support for the government but no new proposals for ending the conflict were discussed.
“They (the EU envoys) have nothing fresh to bring about peace, but rather (came) to reaffirm the international community’s support for the (Presidential Leadership) Council and the government after returning to Aden,” he said.
The UN’s special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, is expected to visit Aden next week, the official added.
The latest visit to Aden by EU ambassadors follows one in early December during which they similarly voiced support for the Yemeni government, while international mediators traveled between Sanaa, Aden and other cities in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the warring factions to revive the UN-brokered truce that expired in October.
Meanwhile, three Al-Qaeda operatives were killed on Monday in a suspected US drone strike on the car in which they were traveling in the central province of Marib, according to local media reports.
They were in the remote Al-Samada area of Wadi Abeda region of Marib when a missile from the drone hit their vehicle, Al-Masdar Online reported. “The strike was precise and the car’s occupants were killed instantly,” it said.
Other local media outlets said Abu Hassan Al-Hadrami, an Al-Qaeda bomb maker who escaped a previous drone attack in the same area near Marib in December, was among the dead.
Elisabeth Kendall, a terrorism expert and mistress of Girton College at the University of Cambridge, told Arab News that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has not confirmed the death of Al-Hadrami, or any other members recently killed.
“Neither AQAP’s official channels nor its main fan channels have confirmed the death of any operative by this name,” she said. “However, the group’s announcement of martyrs does tend to lag behind real-time events. AQAP has not announced any new martyrs since Jan. 7.”
The number of US drone strikes targeting Al-Qaeda militants across Yemen has fallen significantly over the past six years, as Yemeni military and security forces have steadily expelled extremists from their main urban strongholds in Abyan, Aden, Shabwa, Hadramout and Lahji. Most recently they were pushed out of longstanding hiding places in Abyan and Shabwa’s vast and rugged mountains and valleys.