UAE backs UN peace plan for Yemen
Sana’a - The United Arab Emirates, a leading member of the Arab coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, has endorsed a UN peace plan designed to end the war but which appears to sideline President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash described the plan put forward to the rebels as a political solution to the Yemeni crisis.
Gargash, posting on Twitter, said: “The aim of a political settlement is to give priority to the interest of Yemen and regional stability. UN efforts represent a chance to bring Yemenis back to the political track. Other alternatives are gloomy.”
Details of the UN peace plan have not been released but Reuters reported that it all but relegates Hadi to being a symbolic figure.
The UN plan states: “As part of the signing of a complete and comprehensive agreement, the current vice-president (Ali Munsen al-Ahmar) will resign and President Hadi will appoint a new vice-president.”
“After the completion of the withdrawal from Sana’a and the handing over of heavy and medium weapons (including ballistic missiles), Hadi will transfer all his powers to a vice-president, and the vice-president will appoint a new prime minister… (who will form) a national unity government,” it added.
The Hadi government is yet to officially comment but in previous statements its members insisted that Hadi’s legitimacy was a red line.
Former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Houthi ally and head of the General People’s Congress, is apparently gearing up for a power grab. Sources told The Arab Weekly that Saleh has been overstating his role and involvement in the Supreme Political Council, which was set up by the rebels to run the country’s affairs but is viewed as illegitimate by the international community.
The aim by Saleh is to strengthen his hand during negotiations, which has irked the Houthi leadership and was conveyed during a meeting with UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
The Houthis continued to fire ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia, with the latest such attack aimed at the holy city of Mecca, the Saudi press agency said.
Coalition forces intercepted a missile launched by Houthi militias October 27th from Sa’dah province towards Mecca, the agency said. The missile was destroyed about 65km from Mecca without causing any damage. It added that the coalition subsequently targeted the missile launch site.
Houthi media confirmed the missile attack but said the intended target was King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, which is part of the Mecca region. The Iran-allied militia said a Volcano-1 variant missile was used in the attack.
Shia Houthis and their allies overran Sana’a in September 2014, seizing most of the country and Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia.
A Saudi-led Arab coalition, supported by the United States and Britain, began an air campaign against the rebels in March 2015. Arab coalition ground troops later entered the fight. The United Nations estimates that more than 7,000 people have been killed in the fighting and 2.8 million people displaced.