Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Meeting between Heads of MSF, So-Called Political Council Raises Question Marks in Yemen | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Yemenis gather near the rubble of houses near Sana’a Airport on March 31, 2015. (Photo credit: MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Aden-The presence of the director of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Sana’a and his meeting with head of the so-called Supreme Political Council Saleh al-Sammad drove question marks over the role of the organization and its neutrality after dealing with anti-government rebel forces.

Informed sources in Sana’a told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the meeting of MSF head of mission in Yemen Hassan Boucenine and the organization’s new representative in the country, Eric Juno, with one of the leading Yemeni rebel officials is considered “a political rather than a humanitarian position.”

The source said the behavior of the MSF could be part of the agency’s incautious and swift accusations to the Arab Coalition of allegedly attacking medical facilities where MSF crew operates in Yemen, without conducting any investigation to prove the claims.

In a sign of the presence of a political coordination between the aid agency and the rebel authorities, the Yemeni news agency quoted al-Sammad as saying: “We hope the Doctors Without Borders agency be the ambassador representing the oppressed Yemeni people in the world and international organizations.”

A leading official at the Yemeni government said the “meeting explains the state of terror under which international volunteers operate in Sana’a.”

The source said aid workers are either asked often to issue statements speaking about exaggerated violations or are taken by force to meetings where they appear as insurgency supporters, similar to what has previously happened with representatives from the U.N., UNICEF and the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The source said international organizations representatives lose much of their credibility when they take a political position vis-à-vis the events in Yemen.

Lately, Doctors Without Borders alleged that the Arab Coalition forces had attacked some hospitals supported by its medical members.