Yemeni information minister talks Arab Coalition, Houthis and peace prospects

Yemeni information minister Muammar al-Iryani spoke to Al Arabiya English in a wide ranging interview. (Al Arabiya)

Yemeni information minister Muammar al-Iryani has published via Twitter the flight permit showing the Houthi delegation’s plane had permission to take off from Sanaa airport bound for Geneva.

The permit, issued by the aviation authority as per a memorandum from the UN-backed government’s foreign ministry, dismisses Houthi claims of obstructing their travel procedures to participate in the talks.

Iryani’s post said the details in the permit are clear, showing the date, place, route and purpose of the trip, as well as the aircraft’s model and owner, adding that this information had been released in coordination with the United Nations and the Arab Coalition.

In an interview with Al Arabiya English, Iryani said he would like to ensure everyone that military operations on the ground, under President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, “have entered the decisive stage on more than one level.”

He said “great victories” have been achieved in the port city of Hodaidah, one of the strategic cities under Houthi control, given that the maritime port had been used in smuggling Iranian weapons and reaping billions in revenue for their supply.

Yemeni information minister Muammar al-Iryani

Yemeni information minister Muammar al-Iryani

In Saada, Iryani said the military has also achieved huge victories and “has become close to the rebel stronghold in the Maran Mountains.” As well as other military advances in areas on the two fronts of al-Nahda, Hifan and al-Qadha in the Taiz province.

This is in addition to the “huge collapses” of the Houthis on the fronts of Hiran, Mustaba, and Abs in the province of Hajjah and the cutting ties to the militia in the preface for the decisive battle in the capital Sanaa.

“What I would like to emphasize that Houthi militias have started using its reserve forces after people became reluctant and are refusing to fight along its lines, and this has military implications and indicates that an imminent end to the battle.”

He also thanked on the behalf of the Yemeni army the Arab Coalition for their “brotherly support” to achieve these military victories to restore legitimacy in Yemen, praising Saudi Arabia’s efforts under the leadership of King Salman bin Abdel Aziz and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Murder of innocent Yemeni boy

The Yemeni information minister also spoke about the murder of Abdul Rahman Akram Atran, a 10-year-old boy who was shot by a Houthi gunman while playing football.

He said the crime has shocked the Yemeni and Arab public opinion, and has revealed the criminality level the Houthi militias have reached, and the extent of their negligence Yemeni lives.”

Stance of Yemeni media

The minister said that journalism in Yemeni had been facing “acts of repression, terrorism and abuse” since the Houthi coup.

He mentioned that journalists and media personnel have been killed, kidnapped, tortured and forcibly hidden in their efforts to do their job.

“This [topic] is painful and shocking to us in the legitimate government, and to me personally, it is a priority to us and we spare no effort, using our limited possibilities, we have worked on more than one level, went to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, met with leaders of the International Federation of Journalists in Geneva, and participated in many lectures and conferences around the world, to reveal the crimes and violations practiced by the Houthis against journalists and media professionals.”

Houthis and peace

When asked why Houthis are leading peace talks to fail, despite their on-ground losses, Iryani said it is because the decision is not in their hands, and that “they are only a tool managed by remote control of regional parties, specifically Hezbollah and Iran.”

He added that these parties take use Houthis to threaten the security of regional countries and international shipping routes and threatening to close the Strait of Bab al-Mandab in order to blackmail the world.

“What the whole world should understand is that the Houthi coup leaders have looted the state treasury, its cash reserve and continued to plunder public revenues for nearly four years. They see the continuation of this conflict as a gateway to wealth, accumulating funds, building financial and commercial empires through manipulation of the prices of oil derivatives, currencies, and looting of humanitarian aid and relief. Therefore, they view the end of this war and the restoration of peace as a loss of their privileges and interests.”

In facing the Iranian and Qatari support for Houthis through media, Iryani said the state media is collaborating with it affiliates to face them by working on the detection of fallacies, and clarifying the facts to the public, by revealing the truth behind the Iranian support in feeding into the conflict.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57