UAE considers the Houthis a role in Yemen’s future

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Sunday that the Houthi rebels have a role in Yemen’s future, expressing optimism that the peace agreement between the government and the southern separatists will become a starting point for a comprehensive solution.

Gargash’s comments came in an atmosphere of calm in the war-torn country since the rebels announced a halt to their attacks on Saudi Arabia last September following their strikes against Aramco facilities.

A Saudi official on Wednesday announced an “open channel” between the kingdom and Yemen’s rebels since 2016 to support peace in Yemen.

In a speech at a political conference in Abu Dhabi, the UAE minister called for building on the current “momentum” to reach a political solution.

“This agreement should take into account the legitimate aspirations of all segments of Yemeni society, including the Houthis,” he told the audience at the sixth edition of the Abu Dhabi Strategic Forum.

“The Houthi militias have wreaked havoc in the country, but they are part of Yemeni society and will have a role in their future.”

The Houthi rebels have been fighting the internationally recognized government and its allies for more than five years in a dispute that pushed the country to the brink of starvation and worsened in 2015 when Saudi Arabia stepped in at the head of a military alliance to stem the expansion of Iranian-backed rebels.

But the UAE official, whose country co-leads the military alliance, said an agreement reached last week between the government and an influential group of southern separatists could push the country towards a comprehensive solution.

Gargash’s comments came a day after a rally organized by Houthi rebels to mark the birth of the Prophet Mohammad, which attracted hundreds of thousands of people in the capital Sanaa. The crowd this year was larger than the previous year, according to an AFP photographer.

Rebel leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addressed the crowds in a video message that was shown on a large screen, while many chanted slogans in support of him.

The war in Yemen has left about 10,000 people dead and more than 56,000 wounded since 2015, according to the World Health Organization. Humanitarian officials say the toll is much higher.


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