UAE Minister: Hodeidah liberation will force Houthis back to the table

A picture taken on December 4, 2017 shows UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash attending the meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of foreign ministers at the Bayan palace in Kuwait City. (AFP)

The United Arab Emirates’ Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has said that the efforts to liberate the coastal city of Hodeidah is aimed at forcing the Houthi militias back to the negotiating table.

Gargash’s statement comes on Sunday when he tweeted after finishing his briefing of members of the international diplomatic corps based in Abu Dhabi on the Arab Coalition operations to liberate the Yemen port city of Hodeida from Houthi control.

“This operation is intentionally calibrated to help UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in his difficult task to persuade the Houthis to unconditionally withdraw from Hodeida,” Gargash said.

“We are at a turning point, because as long as the Houthis hold Hodeida, they will continue to impede the political process. We firmly believe that the liberation of Hodeida will pull the Houthis back to the negotiating table,” he added.

The people of Hodeida, Gargash said, do not want to be governed by the Iranian-backed “religious extremists” adding that “they want to be free. The people of Hodeida and the coalition are intent on liberating the city because it will shorten the war”.

“The Coalition has demonstrated an extraordinary amount of restraint in conducting its operations. We will continue to focus on our two main goals: to protect the flow of humanitarian aid and to protect civilians,” he concluded.

Last Update: Monday, 18 June 2018 KSA 23:12 - GMT 20:12