AL-MUKALLA: The chairman of Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council on Thursday accused Iran of violating international treaties by delivering lethal weapons to Yemen’s Houthi militia.
Rashad Al-Alimi told military officials in the city of Aden that Iran has continued to deliver weapons to the Houthis in contravention of a UN Security Council resolution and other international conventions, the official Yemeni news agency SABA reported.
His criticism of Iran followed news that the French navy had seized a shipment of weaponry, including thousands of machine guns and anti-tank missiles, coming from Iran and destined for the Houthis.
Yemeni governments have accused Iran for years of stoking instability by providing the Houthis with weapons, military expertise, money and media coverage.
Also on Thursday, a delegation of EU diplomats announced the conclusion of their tour of Aden, reaffirmed their support for UN-led peace efforts to end the war, and asked for the UN-brokered truce to be transformed into a more durable peace accord.
They also urged the Yemeni government to implement institutional reforms, enhance public services and restore economic stability.
“The EU Heads of Mission reiterated the European Union’s unflinching support for the work of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, reiterating the call for constructive engagement with his efforts to extend and expand the truce and turn it into a just and inclusive political settlement,” the delegation said in a statement.
Separately, at least two Yemeni government soldiers and an undetermined number of Houthis were killed in fighting outside the city of Taiz over the previous three days, a Yemeni military official told Arab News on Thursday.
Abdul Basit Al-Baher said the Houthis had bombarded and targeted government-controlled locations on the ground on almost all of Taiz’s outskirts.
In the last 24 hours, the Houthis deployed military forces on the outskirts and launched explosive-equipped and reconnaissance drones at government soldiers, presumably in preparation for more attacks in the coming days.
“The enemy is desperately attempting to breach the national army’s defensive lines. The national army foiled their attacks and killed and wounded many of them,” Al-Baher said, adding that the most recent Houthi assaults happened in the Kelaba area, in the vicinity of an air-defense facility and close to an abandoned airport to the west and northwest of Taiz.
Yemen’s third-largest city has been besieged for the last eight years by the Houthis, who have blocked its major exits after failing to take control of Taiz due to stiff resistance from government forces and resistance fighters.
The siege has prevented life-sustaining products and humanitarian aid from reaching locals, and forced civilians to leave and enter the city via rough and perilous routes.
To the dismay of Taiz’s inhabitants, the UN-brokered truce has not resulted in an easing of the Houthi blockade or a cessation of the militia’s lethal drone, mortar and missile strikes on civilian areas.
The truce, which went into force last April, collapsed in October when the Houthis refused to renew it or open roads to Taiz, insisting that the Yemeni government first pay public employees in their regions and split oil earnings before extending the truce.