Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Yemen: Houthis hit back over Aden embassy move
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People watch a screen displaying a live speech by the leader of the Houthi group Abdul Malik Al-Houthi in Sana'a on February 26, 2015. (Reuters/Mohamed Al-Sayaghi)

People watch a screen displaying a live speech by the leader of the Houthi group Abdul Malik Al-Houthi in Sana’a on February 26, 2015. (Reuters/Mohamed Al-Sayaghi)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—In a televised speech on Thursday, Yemeni Houthi leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi issued a strongly-worded message backing his group’s coup in the capital Sana’a.

Houthi criticized Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi’s exit from Sana’a, and his establishment of a rival government in the southern port city of Aden. While Hadi had initially resigned in January 2015 after being placed under house arrest by the Shi’ite militia, he managed to escape the Yemeni capital this week and flee to Aden, renouncing his resignation and beginning work to establish a new government.

Houthi criticized the US and Saudi Arabia for backing Hadi and opposing his group, calling on his supporters to be on a high state of alert to any foreign interference.

“The protests and demonstrations must continue and intensify . . . to ensure that all plots [against Yemen] fail,” he said.

The Houthi leader’s speech came just one day after Saudi Arabia moved its embassy to Aden. Riyadh had earlier shut down its embassy in Sana’a and evacuated its staff from the country in mid-February, citing concerns over the deteriorating security situation in the country following the Houthi coup.

Saudi ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Said Al-Jaber confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat on Thursday that the embassy has officially opened in Aden.

The UN Security Council has also backed Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi as “the legitimate president of Yemen.”

In a statement issued on Thursday the UN called on the Houthis to engage in national dialogue with the different political factions in Yemen to reach a solution to the crisis.

Also on Thursday, UN special envoy to Yemen, Jamar Benomar, called on Yemen’s various political parties to demonstrate “goodwill” in order to ensure the success of the dialogue.

Speaking from Aden, Benomar confirmed that the national dialogue is based on the Gulf Initiative and the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference, as well as the Peace and National Partnership Agreement that had been agreed between Hadi and the Houthis.