Aden-After judicial investigations conducted in Brazil lately uncovered that a well-known arms trafficker imported weapons to Yemeni rebels in 2015, Asharq Al-Awsat spoke with the accused, Fares Mana’a, the famous Yemeni arms trafficker from the Saada province in the north of the country, who is expected to stand in Brazilian courts over the accusations against him.
Mana’a told Asharq Al-Awsat that he had not visited Brazil with a fake passport. However, he did not deny his visit to the country as a tourist, adding that he has the right to travel to any country he wanted.
Mana’a said that he travels using a diplomatic passport. He spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat over the phone from Saada province.
Mana’a did not refute that he imported weapons from Brazil to Yemen; however, he denied a report published by Reuters earlier quoting Brazilian judicial sources as saying Mana’a had visited Brazil in 2015.
Mana’a, who has a close relationship with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, said reports about his visit to Brazil using a fake passport were “lies.”
Early this week, Reuters reported it received court documents saying that Brazil’s Forjas Taurus SA, the largest weapons manufacturer in Latin America, sold guns to Fares Mohammed Hassan Mana’a, an arms smuggler active around the Horn of Africa, who funneled them into his nation’s civil war in violation of international sanctions.
Separately, Yemeni rebels appointed on Thursday Major General Khalid Barras as a presidential advisor.
Barras had established a fake group of the Southern Movement in Sana’a.
Observers told Asharq Al-Awsat that the decision of the so-called “Supreme Political Council” to appoint a presidential advisor was a new escalatory step against the international community and the U.N. resolutions, which ban Yemen’s rebels from taking unilateral actions.
Meanwhile, U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and other international parties continue their efforts to revive peace talks between the Yemeni warring parties, expected to take place at a European capital.
In Berlin, Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdelmalak Al-Mekhlafi said that his government was ready to participate in the next Yemeni peace talks.
However, he stressed that such participation should be based on previously reached agreements.