Regional and world leaders have firmly condemned the blasts at Yemen’s Aden Airport on Wednesday that killed at least 26 people after a plane carrying members of the country’s newly-formed unity government landed.
At least two explosions were heard as cabinet members were leaving the aircraft. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the explosions.
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Following the interception of a bomb-laden drone heading towards Maasheeq Palace where the cabinet members had been taken, Saudi Arabia’s Spokesman of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, Brigadier General Turki al-Malki, called the airport blasts a “terrorist act”.
In a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, he said, “These terrorist acts not only target the Yemeni government, but the hopes and aspirations of the brotherly Yemeni people.
“The attempt to assassinate the Yemeni Cabinet is an attempt to thwart the Riyadh Agreement, which Yemeni people have adopted as a path toward unification of ranks, restoration of normal life, security and stability and a roadmap to reaching a comprehensive political solution in Yemen,” al-Malki added.
Yemen’s Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalek, who was present at the blast, tweeted, “The cowardly terrorist act that targeted Aden airport is part of the war being waged against the Yemeni state and our great people. It will only increase our insistence on fulfilling our duties until the coup is ended and the state is restored with stability, mercy for the martyrs and healing for the wounded.”
Regional condemnation of the attack has spread.
The United Arab Emirates “strongly condemned the cowardly terrorist attack,” according to a statement released by state news agency WAM.
On Twitter, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the airport strike was an attack on the Riyadh Agreement, a power-sharing agreement between the Southern Transitional Council and the Yemeni government. Saudi Arabia introduced the Riyadh Agreement in November 2019 to try to end the dispute in the country’s south that emerged in 2017.
“The incitement, sabotage, violence and terrorism will fail in the face of the peace project led by Saudi Arabia for the good of Yemen and the region,” Gargash said.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also condemned the attacks, according to a statement carried by WAM.
“We believe this attack was not just condemnable as an act of senseless violence and terrorism, it was also reprehensible as an attempt to undermine the recent efforts by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and its positive results, that aimed at fostering enhanced peace and security in Yemen,” the statement read.
Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, in a statement from the official Saudi Press Agency, “affirmed Jordan’s strong condemnation and denouncement of this cowardly terror attack, its rejection of all forms of violence and terrorism, aimed at destabilizing Yemen’s security and stability.”
In Bahrain, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed Bahrain’s solidarity with Yemen and stressed “that this terrorist act reflects the clear determination of the terrorist Houthi militia to continue its attacks on civilian institutions and installations and destabilize security and stability in Yemen,” Bahrain News Agency reported.
Meanwhile, condemnation of the blast has extended further abroad, prompting a statement from UN Secretary General António Guterres.
“The Secretary-General condemns the deplorable attack on Aden airport shortly after the arrival of the newly formed Yemeni cabinet, which killed and wounded dozens of people. He extends his profound condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the people and Government of Yemen. He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured,” the statement read.
A statement by the US State Department strongly condemned the attacks and expressed sympathy for the families of those killed.
“Such attacks will not stop or undermine efforts to bring a lasting peace that the Yemeni people deserve. These violent acts must end, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice,” the statement read.
The United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office issued a statement strongly condemning the attack and showing support for the unity government.
“This government leads a country facing horrendous humanitarian crisis, economic turmoil and ongoing conflict alongside the coronavirus pandemic,” said James Cleverly, Minister for the Middle East and North Africa.
“It has the UK’s full support and I strongly condemn today’s heinous acts, which have left innocent people dead and many more injured,” he added.
The UN’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, wished the cabinet strength for its “difficult tasks” ahead.
“This unacceptable act of violence is a tragic reminder of the importance of bringing Yemen urgently back on the path towards peace,” Griffiths said.
As well as the widespread condemnation from governments around the world, the attack also prompted a statement signed by eight international non-governmental organizations.
Mohamed Abdi, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Yemen, condemned the killings.
“An investigation must take place, and warring parties responsible for their deaths must be held accountable if it is confirmed that this strike violated international humanitarian law,” he said.
The statement was signed by CARE, the Danish Refugee Council, Handicap International/Humanity & Inclusion, Mercy Corps, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, Saferworld, and Save the Children.