New York, Aden and Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat—Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi will address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, according to Yemeni government sources.
The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that Hadi will speak regarding the crisis in Yemen that began over a year ago when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels overran the capital Sana’a and then began occupying other parts of the country.
This follows Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin’s address at the General Assembly on Sunday, during which he called on the international community to put pressure on the Houthis to withdraw from areas they have occupied in Yemen.
Yassin has been critical of the way the UN and the international community have handled the crisis, in particular the UN’s calls for the Yemeni government to hold direct talks with the Houthis’ despite the rebels refusing to abide by a UN Security Council resolution stipulating the rebels’ withdrawal from areas under their control and ceasing attacks against civilians.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other international organizations have collected evidence confirming the Yemeni government’s assertions that the Houthis have committed human rights violations in the country. HRW has said Houthi commanders and leaders could face trial over crimes against humanity.
A Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries is currently aiding Yemeni government loyalists on the ground to push back the Houthis and restore the internationally recognized government’s authority throughout the country.
Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies responded to calls made by Hadi in March to intervene in Yemen with military force, after the Houthis launched a coup deposing Hadi and his internationally recognized government from power a month earlier.
Coalition and loyalist forces have made significant progress against the Houthis in recent months, retaking southern areas of the country including the strategic port city of Aden. Hadi returned to Aden—the first time he has been back in the country since being forced into exile in March—last Wednesday.
Since September 13, fierce battles have been ongoing between coalition and government loyalist forces on the one side, and the Houthi rebels and their allies on the other, in the central oil-rich province of Ma’rib.
Ma’rib is seen as a crucial staging post on the road to retaking the capital Sana’a from the Houthis, now under their control for over a year.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday, Ma’rib Governor Sultan Al-Arada said government loyalists and coalition forces have made significant inroads into Houthi-controlled territory in the province.
He said pro-government forces have “seized a large amount of weapons and equipment from the Houthis and killed and injured scores of their fighters” during recent days, though he declined to give a specific date for when he thought the operation to retake the province would be complete.
There have been reports that volunteer tribal fighters from the province and members of the Yemeni army have joined Houthi ranks in recent days. However, Arada denied there was any truth to these claims.
“These are just rumors being spread by [the Houthis] in order to achieve fake victories in front of others and the media,” he said.
“Everything is going as planned and victory is upon us.” he added.
Mohamed Ali Hassan and Arafat Madabish contributed additional reporting from Aden.