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The Arab Coalition, after the victory over Iran-backed Houthi militants in the city of Hodeidah, will hand the largest Yemeni port to the Yemeni government, Salem Ahmed Al-Kaabi, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Ukraine, stated.

Last Wednesday the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE launched a military operation to liberate Hodeidah from the Houthi in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions. The operation began after the Houthi denied the request of UN Secretary General special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffith, to hand over the port of Hodeidah under United Nations control.

“The port will be hand over to the control of the legitimate Yemeni government. And then the legitimate Yemeni government will decide what to do with it, possibly will hand over it to the UN protectorate.” the Ambassador Salem Ahmed Al-Kaabi said, answering questions regarding who the Coalition will hand over the port to.

“The balance of forces between the Coalition Houthi forces is unequal. The Coalition troops have very powerful military forces, including aviation. However, they [the Coalition] do not want to fully include all their capabilities, since first of all it is about saving lives and preserving the civilian population. That is why not seizing and recapturing the port will pass very quickly. Therefore, everything goes a long time, since it is a matter of protecting the civilians. The Coalition forces are not decisive; they only help the legitimate government of Yemen to return back its positions. Regarding the UN, it has been proposing to hand over the port for the UN protectorate for three years in a row, but at the moment the Houthi ​​rejected these proposals.” The Ambassador added.

On Monday morning, Arab coalition aircraft bombarded Houthi fighters holed up at the Hodeidah airport. The UN warned that a long-term operation to drive back Houthis from the territory of Hodeidah on the Red Sea to the outpost of militants in Sana’a may create a disastrous humanitarian crisis. Yemen has already suffered famine and a massive cholera outbreak in the long hybrid war between Saudi Arabia and Iran playing out in Yemen.

In Geneva, the UN Human Rights Chairman, Zaid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, expressed concern that the offensive could cause “huge casualties among the civilian population”. The Coalition official said that they would provide a corridor for the exit of Houthis from Hodeidah to Sana’a adding that the military was trying to minimize losses among the civilian population. The same thesis was confirmed by Ambassador Salem Ahmed Al-Kaabi during a press briefing in Kyiv. The Ambassador also added that the coalition forces excluded the possibility of fighting in the residential neighborhoods of the city.

Al-Kaabi added that 100 trucks of food aid to the civilians were sent to the liberated areas of the Hodeidah region. The same thesis was voiced by Emirate diplomacy chief Anwar Gargash during a press conference in Dubai.

“As part of the humanitarian assistance, the brotherly Yemeni people will be sent 10 Emirates ships with humanitarian cargo weighing 13,500 tons of various foods, in addition to three aircraft with 10,436 food packages on board,” Ambassador Al-Kaabisaid journalists in the building of the Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine.

The Coalition intervened in the war in Yemen in 2015 after the Houthis drove the internationally recognized Yemeni government into exile. UAE forces are spearheading the Hodeidah offensive. The Coalition intervened in the situation in Yemen to prevent what Riyadh and Abu Dhabi consider to be Iran’s attempts to dominate the region.

The Houthis who control the most populous areas of Yemen deny that they are Iranian puppets and claim that they rebelled against corruption and to protect Yemen from invaders.

Alexander Khrebet

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