UAE not leaving war-torn Yemen despite drawdown: minister
DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates, part of a Saudi-led military coalition, is not leaving war-torn Yemen despite an ongoing drawdown and redeployment of Emirati forces, a UAE minister has said.
‘Just to be clear, the UAE and the rest of the coalition are not leaving Yemen,’ minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said in an opinion piece published Monday in The Washington Post.
‘While we will operate differently, our military presence will remain. In accordance with international law, we will continue to advise and assist local Yemen forces.’
The UAE announced earlier this month it was drawing down and redeploying troops in Yemen, where a years-long conflict between government forces — backed by the Saudi-led coalition — and Iran-aligned Huthi rebels has pushed the country to the brink of famine.
The UAE is a key partner in the military coalition which intervened in Yemen in 2015 to back the internationally-recognised government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against the rebels.
Gargash said Huthis should see the UAE move as a ‘confidence-building measure to create new momentum to end the conflict’.
‘As the United Arab Emirates draws down and redeploys its forces in Yemen, we do so in the same way we began — with eyes wide open,’ he said.
‘There was no easy victory and there will be no easy peace.
‘But now is the time to double down on the political process.’
The warring sides have fought to a stalemate, and several rounds of UN-sponsored talks, the last held in Sweden in December, have failed to implement any deal to end the war.
Since 2015, tens of thousands of people — mostly civilians — have been killed in the conflict described by the United Nations as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.