World, Middle East

Yemenis will not give up island of Socotra: Official

Government minister makes assertion after UAE sends military force to strategic archipelago

Mahmoud Barakat   | 04.05.2018
Yemenis will not give up island of Socotra: Official

Yemen

By Shokri Hussein

ADEN, Yemen

The Yemeni people will not give up any of their sovereign territory, including the strategic island of Socotra, a Yemeni official asserted on Friday.

“Yemenis will safeguard their land -- islands and coastland; we will not surrender one grain of sand,” Youth and Sports Minister Nayef al-Bakri told Anadolu Agency.

Al-Bakri said that the people of Socotra -- an island in the Arabian Sea -- supported Yemen’s internationally-recognized government (currently based in the city of Aden) and were ready to defend their land.

Tension has mounted between Yemen and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since Wednesday, when the latter dispatched a military force to the island.

The deployment was reportedly carried out without prior coordination with the Yemeni government.

Notably, Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr has been in Socotra since Saturday with a view to reasserting Yemen’s sovereignty over the island.

In March, activists submitted a report to Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in which they accused the UAE of seeking to take control of Socotra and its resources.

Earlier Friday, a Saudi delegation arrived to the island in an apparent bid to mediate the dispute.

In 2014, President Hadi dismissed the governor of Aden, Aidarus al-Zoubaidi, over the latter’s alleged links with the UAE.

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