Houthis must withdraw from Hodeida unconditionally: UAE

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) The UAE's operation in Yemen is working to give Houthi militias an opportunity to "withdraw unconditionally" from Hodeida without disruptions to humanitarian aid, UAE Minister said on Monday.

Speaking during a media briefing in Dubai, Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said that the situation in Hodeida poses certain challenges, given its fragile humanitarian situation.

Hodeida has been a major port for humanitarian operations to Yemen. Gargash said that trying to reach a middle ground solution without targeting civilians has posed a major humanitarian challenge.

"'That's why our solution should be calibrated and gradual to squeeze the Houthis outside and allow them to make the right decision which is to withdraw and pull their militias out," said Gargash.

The UAE has provided huge humanitarian effort of food and support for 1.7 million people in Yemen through some 10 ships and over 100 trucks of food.

"Our strategic goal is to end this war, and we cannot accept that this war will continue for another 2-3 years just because Houthi militias are having control over Hodeida," added Gargash.

"The truth is that over a year ago, there was an idea of making Hodeida neutral and that it should be used for humanitarian relief access to civilians."

"We spent more than a year through the UN and other bodies to negotiate that arrangement to save the port, but it was clear that the Houthis were just buying time and had no intentions to withdraw their control over the port," Gargash added.

He said that the solution to the Yemeni crisis requires a shift in landscape and political process.

"Hodeida has been a major money maker for Houthi militias. If they have control over $3 billion most of which comes from their control over the port. over the capital . the logic would be why give it up," said Gargash.

The UAE government has estimated between 2,000-3,000 militia fighters who work in small groups of snipers.

"They throw mines in areas with no maps. This will pose a major issue in demining villages later on and it will scar Yemen for years to come"

Gargash confirmed that it is time to force a political process to change the calculus of the coalition operations.

"The campaign we are leading isn't an easy task, not only for military but for the the existing humanitarian situation too. I want to stress on the fact that the solution to Yemen is political. Our strategy as coalition is to deny Iran client militia and ensure that the ballistic missiles are controlled," said Gargash.


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