Houthis ‘use others to promote violence’ in Yemen: UK minister

Marwan Sultan in London , Wednesday 21 Jan 2015

UK Middle East minister accuses Houthis rebels of using violence to dictate the future of Yemen

Yemen Crisis
Members of the Yemeni presidential guards wear civilian clothes as they leave the presidential palace with their belongings after Houthi fighters took control over the palace, in Sanaa January 21, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

The UK has accused Shia Houthis rebels of “using others to promote violence” in Yemen.

It expressed its strong support for the Yemeni presidency in its conflict with Houthis.

On Tuesday, Houthi militants shelled President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s home, despite a ceasefire.

President Hadi was reported to be inside the house but an official has confirmed he was safe.

Three days earlier, armed Houthis abducted Hadi’s chief of staff, Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, at a checkpoint south the capital Sanaa.

The UN Security Council condemned the attack on the Yemeni President’s residence and urged the Houthis to respect the country's legitimate leaders.

In a clear indication to Houthis rebels, the UK Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood said:  “Those who use violence and the threat of violence and use others to promote violence to dictate Yemen’s future are undermining the security of all Yemen’s citizens and eroding the progress made since 2011 to set Yemen on a new course.”

Yemen, a key US and Western ally in the fight against Al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula, has seen unrest for months.

Houthi militias overran Sanaa in September after moving out of their northern Yemen stronghold.

Their opponents say Houthis are in alliance with former president Ali Abduallah Saleh and his supporters who are accused of destabilising Hadi”s authority hoping to regain power.

The Houthis say they are fighting pro-Al-Qaida militants in Yemen and ask for a bigger share of power.

While the UK government urged all Yemeni parties to step back from conflict and ensure a ceasefire hold, Tobias said in a statement that his country “remains committed to supporting President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, his government and the integrity of the Yemeni state.”

In a statement adopted by all 15 members, the UN Security Council said President Hadi was "the legitimate authority."

It urged "all parties and political actors in Yemen" to stand with him and the government to "keep the country on track to stability and security."

The Security Council met at the request of the UK because of its “deep concerns at the deteriorating situation in Yemen.”

The UK is understood to have security teams in Yemen, even before the popular uprising which forced president Saleh to step down, helping rebuild the military and security institutions in the poorest Arab country.

In January 2010, the UK has led efforts to establish the Friends of Yemen “to help bolster international political support for Yemen and to assist Yemeni-led efforts to tackle the underlying causes of instability.”

The UK has also supported the Gulf Cooperation Council’s initiative and National Dialogue accords on the political transition in Yemen.

“I encourage all parties to peacefully work together to implement and enforce a ceasefire and return to dialogue within the framework of the GCC Initiative, National Dialogue Outcomes and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement,” Tobias’s statement said.

UK is running humanitarian and development programmes in Yemen.




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