Middle East

Yemen’s Hadi visits Marib, vows to defeat Houthis

Hadi threatened to boycott UN-sponsored talks in Kuwait with the Houthis if the UN envoy insists on his roadmap

10.07.2016
Yemen’s Hadi visits Marib, vows to defeat Houthis Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi

By Ali Owaida

MARIB, Yemen 

Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi made a surprise visit to the eastern Marib province on Sunday, vowing to defeat the Shia Houthi group, which controls capital Sanaa.

“We will soon celebrate the liberation of capital Sanaa and other provinces,” Hadi said upon his arrival in Marib from Saudi capital Riyadh.

He vowed to defeat the Houthis, who overran Sanaa and other provinces in 2014 and forced Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to flee to Riyadh.

“The Persians (Iranians) will not rule Yemen even if Yemenis fight them alone,” he said in reference to Shia Iran, which the Yemeni government accuses Iran of supporting the Houthi group.

Without elaborating, Hadi said his government was facing pressures to accept a roadmap set by UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed that stipulates the formation of a unity government in Yemen, including the Houthis.

The embattled president went on to threaten to boycott UN-sponsored talks in Kuwait with the Houthis if the UN envoy insists on his roadmap.

“We will not return to the talks in Kuwait if the UN tries to impose the latest proposal” by the UN envoy, he said.

Hadi was accompanied during his visit to Marib by a host of government officials, including his vice-president Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar.

Last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

Backed by Saudi-led airstrikes, pro-Hadi forces have since managed to reclaim large swathes of the country’s south -- including provisional capital Aden -- but have failed to retake Sanaa and other strategic areas.

In April of this year, the Yemeni government and the Houthis entered into UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait aimed at resolving the conflict, in which more than 6,400 people have been killed and another 2.5 million forced to flee their homes.

Up until this point, however, the negotiations have largely failed to produce any serious breakthroughs.

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