Aden- Former Yemeni Foreign Minister Riad Yassin, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, spoke of recent developments on the Yemeni arena. He confirmed that the U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is trying to reach a political settlement between conflicting parties, and is following the steps of his predecessor Jamal Benomar.
Yassin said that Iran saves no effort in making the Houthis a part of the future solution for Yemen. What they are bent on is to create a state within a state in Yemen, mimicking the situation in Lebanon. Iran has failed in having Yemen run by a sectarian strife between Shi’ites and Sunnis, despite all its attempts to convince national parties that the Houthis are the subjects of oppression. However, Iran continues to play a diplomatic international role in supporting Houthi insurgents.
On the subject of the UN Ould Cheikh looking for political resolution each time pro-legitimacy forces advance in battle fronts, Yassin commented that the U.N. Special Envoy wants to arrive to an agreement in any way possible.
Ould Cheikh does not seem to care for an executional realistic agreement that could be sustained. He considers it a success to merely reach an agreement, disregarding international law that incriminates the usage of armed violence to impose a political reform or new national situation, Yassin added.
All the efforts on just reaching a settlement serve as an acceptance to the insurgency, which translates to an opportunity for militias to enact whatever they wish and force any political reality they want.
When asked on the pro-legitimacy Yemeni government’s approval of the U.N. performance, especially when it is not exercising any type of pressure mechanisms to have the insurgents abide by U.N resolutions, Yassin answered that the U.N. efforts are not considered completely satisfactory by Yemen’s legitimate government.
Yassin stressed how necessary it is to force Houthi insurgents and pro-Saleh (ousted President of Yemen) militias to commit to the U.N. Security Council’s resolution 2216.
The militias must arrive at an understanding that international forces will not resume taking their violations into consideration. It is mandatory to apply the seventh item on the resolution, and not
come in the way of the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen and its military operations to save Yemen, especially that Houthis continue to barricade Taiz and occupy regions using violence and force, Yassin said.
Regarding whether Iran has ever, in any way, attempted to propose any solution to the current situation; Yassin believes that Iran is diligent when it comes to having the Houthis being a part of the solution. In his analysis, Yassin, considers that the Iranian approach in Yemen is aimed at establishing a state within a state. Moreover he explains how dangerous it is for militias, who represent less than 2 percent of Yemen, to be provided with authority or a significant position after the political settlement.
Resolving the southern-strained case should be a priority to any solution in Yemen, Yassin added.
Yassin also mentioned that the ousted former President Ali Abdullah Saleh sought out Iranian assistance in hopes of restoring himself into authority. Saleh failed to see that the people of Yemen have had enough, and all the destruction he caused across the country was unaccepted by everyone.
Former FM Yassin also stated that despite all difficulties and shortage in abilities, he had succeeded in preserving the institution of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Yemeni diplomacy. No ambassador or embassy has decamped on Yemeni legitimacy or government, unlike what had happened in Syria, Libya and many others in 2011. Yemen’s international diplomatic representation remained loyal, disregarding a few violations, the general status of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as described by Yassin, remains the only standing institution amid the insurgency Yemen is suffering.