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Yemeni Government: Unilateral Measures Taken by Rebels Hamper Political Process | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Houthi rebels chant slogans after taking over a government military compound in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, in September 2015. Hani Mohammed/AP

Jeddah, Riyadh, Aden – The Yemeni government said on Monday that unilateral measures taken by the Houthi rebels would escalate the situation and hamper the political process in the war-torn country.

During a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Mathew Tueller, Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Malak Al-Mekhlafi described Houthis’ decision to form a government as a “unilateral escalatory measure.”

Houthi rebels and military and political forces loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh formed a “supreme political council” in July that was described as unconstitutional by the United Nations. The decision to set up the council in part led to the collapse of peace talks in August.

On Sunday, the council announced the appointment of Abdel Aziz bin Habtoor, the former Aden governor, to form a government of “national salvation” aimed at rivaling the internationally-recognized administration of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, based in Aden.

Meanwhile, a French-Tunisian woman working for the Red Cross has been released after nearly a year in captivity in Yemen, the International Committee of the Red Cross said late Monday.

An ICRC statement said that Nourane Houas had arrived in Oman’s capital, Muscat, after being freed by her Yemeni captors.

On a different note, Houthi rebels’ attack against an Emirati aid ship at the port city of Aden stirred a wave of angry reactions among local and international figures.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Monday condemned the terrorist act against a civilian ship while carrying humanitarian assistance and evacuating wounded Yemeni civilians to the UAE for treatment.

“This attack is a terrorist act that could obstruct freedom of movement in international waterways that is guaranteed by international law and treaties. It can lead to a halt in dispatching humanitarian and relief assistance to the Yemeni people,” OIC said in a statement.

The U.S. ambassador to Yemen also condemned the attack following his meeting with Mekhlafi.

“We take these threats seriously,” Tueller said, stressing that his country was committed to maintaining freedom of navigation through the Bab El-Mandeb.