New Yemeni government starts its work from Aden

“There will no longer be a minister who practises his work from outside the country and the capital [Aden]. Everyone should return and put in an additional effort to rebuild state institutions,” Hadi said.
Monday 04/01/2021
A file picture shows Yemen’s Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed in Aden. (AFP)
A file picture shows Yemen’s Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed in Aden. (AFP)

ADEN--Yemeni state institutions in the interim capital Aden were functioning again on Sunday after a year-long paralysis, following the inauguration of the new power sharing government, headed by Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed.

A number of ministers of the new government, who arrived on Wednesday following a massive explosion that resulted in the killing of 26 people, began work from their offices while deputies and undersecretaries, who still reside in Arab capitals, were invited to quickly return home so they can perform their duties in Yemen.

Among the minister who have officially began their work are the ministers of foreign affairs, finance, electricity and energy, justice, social and labour affairs, planning and international cooperation, legal affairs, information and culture.

The new government ministers went to their offices days after they were subjected to intense security measures at the Mashiq Palace in Aden.

The Yemeni News Agency Saba reported a series of official activities of the new ministers while they were at their offices in Aden, in conjunction with the return of air traffic at the Aden International Airport, 4 days after the bloody attack.

The Yemeni state institutions’ return to normal activity coincided with the achievement of relative progress when it comes to the security aspect of the Riyadh Agreement, after the Southern Transitional Council (STC) handed over the Aden Police headquarters to the new director, Mutahar al-Shuaibi.

 Ministerial meetings  

According to a news report by Saba, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak stressed in his first meeting with the ministry’s staff the importance of keeping pace with the government’s general policies, which aim at reviving state institutions, restoring order and facilitating the work of the various ministries.

Finance Minister Salem bin Brik stressed, in a meeting with agents and directors of general departments in his ministry, the importance of rebuilding the country’s financial institutions in line with a strategy that is based on clear objectives.

Among these objectives, the minister said, is the ministry’s contribution to the recovery and development of national economy, in accordance with the government’s economic plan to increase resources.

In a separate meeting at the ministry’s headquarters, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Muammar al-Eryani called on all visual, audio and printed media to open a new page and unify and strengthen the national front in the face of the Houthi militias.

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Najeeb Al-Awj stressed that the government attaches great importance to the telecommunications and Internet sector, which he said will witness a qualitative leap during the next stage.

The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Salem al-Socotri called for unity to promote the role of state institutions and fix imbalances, in a way that would contribute to making significant leaps in various sectors and upgrading the quality of services provided to citizens.

The Minister of Social Affairs and Labour Muhammad al-Za’uri held a meeting with the ministry’s senior officials and staff to discuss the action plan for the current year.

The action plan includes a ministerial decision to deposit one dollar, for each oil barrel, into  the Welfare, Anti-Poverty and Youth Employment Fund.

The ministers of planning, international cooperation, legal affairs, human rights and electricity held similar meetings at their offices, in an unprecedented activity that was met with wide popular praise.

The new government had confirmed, hours after it was targeted by a terrorist attack, that it would remain in Aden and would not leave under any circumstances, pointing out that the scheme of the attackers had failed.

Presidential directives 

A number of ministers, including Eryani, instructed all deputies, undersecretaries, heads of institutions and departments as well as agents, assistants, advisers and general managers to return immediately to the interim capital Aden, based on presidential directives.

After the swearing-in ceremony, Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi held a meeting with the new ministers, during which he urged them to devise urgent solutions to the economic crisis so as to alleviate the suffering of citizens in areas under the control of the legitimate government.

“There will no longer be a minister who practises his work from outside the country and the capital [Aden]. Everyone should return and put in an additional effort to rebuild state institutions,” Hadi said, addressing the government ministers.

He stressed the need to “remove all military units from the interim capital Aden and enable the security services to play their role.”

Local residents expressed their satisfaction with the ministers’ activities, considering that meetings with ministries’ staff represent a move towards addressing pressing issues related to security, economy and services.

Based on the Riyadh Agreement, the new government took the constitutional oath on December 26. It consists of 24 ministerial portfolios.

The newly formed Cabinet returned to Yemen a week after the ministers were sworn in before president Hadi in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, where the Yemeni leader resides.

The Cabinet reshuffle was part of a power-sharing deal between Hadi and the Southern Transitional Council (STC), with the aim of ending differences and devoting all efforts to fighting the Iran-backed Houthi militias, who are close to controlling Marib, the last government stronghold in northern Yemen.

On Sunday, the Southern Transitional Council called on the Arab coalition to help secure the interim capital after the recent bloody attack on Aden airport.

After a regular meeting in Aden, the STC said in a statement, “The sinful attack on Aden airport will not deter the Council from continuing to implement the Riyadh agreement and support the power sharing government.”

The Council renewed its call for an international investigation into the incident, according to the statement.

Last week, Yemen’s prime minister said that a missile attack on the airport in Aden was meant “to eliminate” the country’s new government as it arrived in the key southern city — a daring assault which he blamed on Iran-backed militias.

The attack had killed at least 25 people and wounded 110 others.

“It’s a major terrorist attack that was meant to eliminate the government,” the premier said. “It was a message against peace and stability in Yemen.”

Saeed repeated his government’s accusations that Yemen’s Houthi militias were responsible for the missile attack on the airport and a drone assault on the Mashiq Palace in Aden, shortly after the premier and his Cabinet were transferred there.

The Houthis have carried out similar attacks in the past. In 2015, former Yemeni Prime Minister Khaled Bahah and members of his Cabinet survived a missile attack, blamed on the Houthis, that struck an Aden hotel used by the government.

Last year, the Houthis fired a missile at a military parade of a militia loyal to the UAE at a base in Aden, killing dozens.

Saeed, the prime minister, said his government would prioritise “security and stability” in government-held areas after months of infighting between Hadi’s government and the STC.

“Whatever the challenges in Aden, the government remains,” he said.