Socotra island dispute resolved

With the arrival of Saudi troops, joint training exercises including both Yemeni and UAE military personnel are scheduled to take place on Socotra.
Sunday 20/05/2018
UAE navy soldier on patrol at a port in Yemen. (Reuters)
UAE navy soldier on patrol at a port in Yemen. (Reuters)

LONDON- A dispute between the United Arab Emirates and Yemen’s internationally recognised government over Emirati troops deployed to the island of Socotra has been resolved, according to Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher.

“The crisis over the island is over,” bin Dagher wrote in a May 14 Facebook post, adding that the dispute had “almost divided” the Arab coalition fighting the Iran-allied Houthi rebels.

Following the deployment of hundreds of UAE troops to the Yemeni island of Socotra, tensions between the UAE and elements of the Yemeni government flared. The UAE, which is part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting in support of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, was accused of issuing the deployment without prior consent. The Yemeni government called it a breach of their sovereignty and threatened to take up the issue at the United Nations, though no such complaint was made, according to the UN.

The situation was diffused after Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the main pillars of the coalition backing the Yemeni government, reached an agreement that was satisfactory to all parties involved.

The Saudi-brokered deal, which came into effect on May 14, stipulated that the UAE would hand over control of Socotra’s airport and naval port to Saudi troops, which would then transfer control of the facilities to Yemeni authorities.

An unnamed security official told Yemen’s Aden al-Ghad news website that Yemeni forces had taken control of the strategic locations after UAE forces had left and that all airport and port staff had returned to work.

With the arrival of Saudi troops, joint training exercises including both Yemeni and UAE military personnel are scheduled to take place on Socotra, according to coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki.

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