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Britain, France Reject Cabinet Formed by Rebels in Sana’a | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A view of a municipal board building after it was destroyed in Saada, Yemen. Reuters/Naif Rahma

Riyadh, Aden-France and Britain denounced on Tuesday the unilateral decision taken by rebels, who appointed Abdel Aziz bin Habtoor to form what they said was a “national salvation” cabinet, stressing the move would further complicate Yemen’s peace process.

The UK Minister for Africa and Middle East, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Tobias Ellwood, said the decision taken by Houthis and their ally, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, to form a so-called national salvation cabinet is considered a unilateral decision and constitutes a direct threat to the U.N.-sponsored peace operation.

Ellwood expressed concern over the ongoing steps taken by Houthis and Saleh.

In France, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Houthis’ decision to form a new government contradicts the path of Yemeni peace talks, adding it was essential to reach a political solution in the country.

Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognized government, which is supported by an alliance of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, is fighting the Houthis and Saleh militias who took over the capital Sana’a in 2014.

A Yemeni diplomat told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday that the international community and the U.N. Security Council would never recognize the one-sided decisions made by the Houthis and Saleh militias, such as the establishment of a Supreme Political Council and a cabinet.

The diplomat, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, said that the Yemeni legitimate government does not support any efforts made outside the framework of the U.N., led by Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and based on the Gulf initiative and Security Council Resolution 2216.

Yemen’s representative to the U.N. Ambassador Khalid Al-Yamani told Asharq Al-Awsat that Houthis and their followers do not want peace in Yemen.

He said rebels are desperately trying to reach a solution that would enforce the rule of the Iran-backed militias in the country.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s National Army and Popular Resistance forces liberated on Tuesday the strategic Jabal Bahra, considered the highest summit in the Harib Nihm area, east of Sana’a.

Sources from the Popular Resistance told Asharq Al-Awsat that their forces were able to control the hill after fierce battles with rebel militias, and thanks to the support of Arab coalition warplanes, which launched around 15 raids in the area.

Other Yemeni informed sources said army forces began a military mobilization to prepare for a wide operation to liberate Saada province, which is the main stronghold of Houthis in Yemen.