His Excellency President Rashad Al-Alimi and the Signing of a Historic Custody Agreement with the Metropolitan Museum of Art

His Excellency President Rashad Al-Alimi and the

Signing of a Historic Custody Agreement with the Metropolitan Museum of Art

September 23, 2023

Joined by His Excellency Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi, President of the Republic of Yemen and his delegation, the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington, DC, was hosted on Friday September 22, 2023, in Manhattan, New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York (Met) in a formal ceremony for the transference of ownership back to the Government of Yemen of two ancient sculptures of Yemeni cultural property and provenance, and the signing of a temporary custody agreement between the Met and the Embassy of Yemen.

In attendance at this historic signing ceremony was the US Special Envoy for Yemen, the Honorable Mr. Timothy Lenderking, representatives from the U.S. Department of State, along with special guests from the Antiquities Coalition, and the Press – and who were also joined by a diverse & distinguished group of members from the Yemeni-American community of New York and other states.

The two priceless Yemeni artifacts that were returned today are embodied in the following:

  • A Standing Female Figure wearing a strap & necklace formed of sandstone; and
  • A Rectangular Mortar composed of marble. Both objects date back to the third millennium

The provision of these items of Yemeni cultural heritage marks the first time that any objects of Yemeni cultural patrimony in the collections at a museum or cultural institution in the USA have been voluntarily returned to Yemen.

H.E. President Al-Alimi affirmed in his remarks at the ceremony: “I am very pleased to speak to you today from inside one of the most prestigious and prodigious museums for international culture and arts, from the Metropolitan Museum in the beautiful city of New York, and to witness the recovery of two Yemeni artifacts from our beloved country. Just as we witnessed earlier this year the repatriation of 79 artifacts, including ancient Qur’anic manuscripts that were seized by the American authorities and handed over to the Yemeni government and then temporarily loaned to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC, here today we are recuperating two new artifacts to be loaned temporarily to the Metropolitan Museum until we end the brutal Houthi coup against the state.”

H.E. President Al-Alimi furthermore stressed in his speech: “We deem it an opportunity here to urge the rest of the international museum community and artistic institutions, whether in the United States of America or abroad, to follow the example of this cultural institution, to take the same initiative and communicate with our embassies abroad to return what was pillaged from our ancient heritage. We are hopeful that the partnership emerging from the agreement signed today between our government and the Metropolitan Museum will be a new road map for establishing a new future and an effective partnership between the Yemeni people and international cultural institutions so as to protect & preserve Yemeni heritage, and for raising awareness to combat the pillage of these treasures from our beloved country.”

And H.E. Mohammed Al-Hadhrami, the Ambassador of the Republic of Yemen to the United States, who signed on behalf of the Government of Yemen this custodial agreement, also noted his deep gratitude to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for this historic partnership, for which the Met will temporarily safeguard and showcase these artifacts until the Government of Yemen requests their repatriation.

Indeed, our heritage and history have been under attack. In addition to the Houthi militias, other terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have taken advantage of the current situation in Yemen by looting, smuggling, and trading in Yemeni antiquities.

The Embassy of Yemen to the USA will continue its engagement with the museum community in the United States and with the US Government in pursuit of the restitution of Yemen’s cultural property that have been improperly purchased or possessed. We look forward to closely collaborating with all parties to achieve a favorable outcome for their retrieval and undertaking forms of cooperation with the Embassy.

The Embassy of Yemen reaffirms its appreciation to the Met for this collaboration, and to the Government of the United States of America at the Federal and State Levels for efforts in implementing the import restrictions of Yemeni antiquities into the USA, and for all measures undertaken to protect and preserve Yemen’s cultural property.

The Signing of the Yemen-United States Cultural Property Agreement

The Signing of the Yemen-United States Cultural Property Agreemen

August 30, 2023

Today, the Governments of Yemen and the United States signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during an official ceremony at the United States Department of State to extend protections and expand practices for the preservation of Yemen’s cultural property. The agreement will be for a duration of five years and supersedes the last emergency import restrictions on Yemeni antiquities that were issued in February 2020.

This historic agreement was signed between His Excellency Mohammed Al-Hadhrami, Ambassador of Yemen to the US, and the Honorable Ms. Lee Satterfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. The official signing ceremony was held at the National Museum of American Diplomacy at the State Department. And present with this signing ceremony was an ancient artifact from Yemen that has been repatriated to the Government of Yemen and loaned for temporary exhibit at the State Department which constitutes a fitting backdrop to this historic bilateral agreement that underscores the depth of Yemen-US relations.

In attendance at signing ceremony were senior officials from the US Government: the US Department of State (including with US Special Envoy to Yemen Mr. Timothy Lenderking), representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, along with an array of distinguished guests from the foreign diplomatic corps., the Smithsonian Institution, the Antiquities Coalition, the National Council of US-Arab Relations, the National US-Arab Chambers of Commerce, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, and from American academia.

The MoU effectuated today is the culmination of bilateral coordination efforts undertaken between the two governments. It builds upon Yemen’s accession achieved in September 2019 to the 1970 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. Moreover, it is another successful milestone accomplished this year after the repatriation of 79 ancient Yemeni artifacts by the US Government.

Ambassador Al-Hadhrami expressed his deep gratitude to the US Government, particularly to the US Department of State as well as U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for their significant efforts exerted to reach this historic agreement. He furthermore said, “We will continue our close engagement with the U.S. Government in pursuit of the restitution of Yemen’s stolen cultural heritage and property that have been illegally possessed in the United States. And we look forward to sustaining our collaboration with federal and state authorities for all considerations towards the recovery and care of our precious cultural heritage.”

Ever since the Houthis’ coup in Yemen in 2014, our heritage and history have been under attack. In addition to the Houthi militias, other terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have taken advantage of the current situation in Yemen by perpetrating pillage by looting, smuggling, and trading in Yemeni antiquities to finance their war effort and other appalling activities.

With the signing of this MoU, the black market is on notice that Yemen’s stolen cultural objects involve major legal restrictions and ramifications in the USA. Museums, art galleries, auction houses, private dealers, collectors, and all interested parties are advised to work closely with the Embassy of Yemen and US authorities to help protect Yemeni antiquities.

Today’s MoU will also help ensure the means and enhance the measures for the preservation of Yemen’s cultural property. The Yemeni Government appreciates the realization of this cultural property memorandum of understanding and looks forward to continuing our cooperation with our friends, partners, and collaborators in the United States, including academia, the museum community and recognized cultural institutions, like the Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to further promote and protect Yemen’s antiquities.

The Repatriation of Yemeni Antiquities from the State of New York 

Press Release

The Repatriation of Yemeni Antiquities from the State of New York 

April 28, 2023

The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington, DC, was hosted today in Manhattan, New York at the Office of the District Attorney of New York County (DANY) in a ceremony for the repatriation of three precious pieces of stolen Yemeni artifacts which have been retrieved by U.S. law enforcement agencies and authorities in concert with the Antiquities Trafficking Unit of DANY.

In attendance at this historic repatriation ceremony were senior officials from DANY, representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Homeland Security Investigations), along with distinguished guests of the Antiquities Coalition, and members of the Yemeni-American community of New York from various boroughs.

The three priceless Yemeni artifacts that were returned today are embodied in the following forms:

  • A silver vessel with inscription from the 2nd to 3rd century A.C.E.
  • An alabaster female figurine from the 2nd to 1st century B.C.E.; and
  • An alabaster ram figure with an inscribed base from the 5th century B.C.E.

 

The repatriation of these items is the culmination of extensive work by the US authorities in seeking, searching, and seizing these cultural heritage properties, and marks the second time that Yemeni artifacts have been returned to Yemen from US Government authorities based in New York City. The previous repatriation that took place in New York in 2004, which involved the return of a single funerary stele.

H.E. Mohammed Al-Hadhrami, the Ambassador of the Republic of Yemen to the United States expressed his deep gratitude to the NY State Government, in particular to DANY and the Antiquities Trafficking Unit, as well as U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for their significant efforts exerted in retrieving these Yemeni artifacts. He furthermore said, “We will continue our close engagement with the State of New York and U.S. Government in pursuit of the restitution of Yemen’s stolen cultural heritage and property that have been illegally and illegitimately possessed in the United States And we look forward to collaborating again with the Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art with an additional temporary loan of these objects, and I thank the Smithsonian for their continued care of our precious cultural heritage.”

Indeed, ever since the Houthis’ coup in Yemen in 2014, our heritage and history have been under attack. In addition to the Houthi militias, other terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have taken advantage of the current situation in Yemen by looting, smuggling, and trading in Yemeni antiquities.

The Embassy highly appreciates the efforts of the Government of the United States of America at both the Federal and State Levels in implementing the import restrictions of Yemeni antiquities into the United States, and in the retrieval of any Yemeni artifacts. These are essential measures undertaken to protect and preserve Yemen’s cultural property, and they underscore the depth of Yemen-US relations.

The Repatriation of Yemeni Antiquities from the United States

The Repatriation of Yemeni Antiquities from the United States

February 21, 2023

The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington, DC, hosted today at the Yemen residence a ceremony for the repatriation of 77 pieces of stolen Yemeni artifacts which have been retrieved by U.S. law enforcement agencies and authorities.

Senior United States Government officials from the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Homeland Security Investigations and Customs & Border Patrol), the U.S. Department of Justice through the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, and representatives of the Smithsonian Institution attended this special and historic occasion.

The artifacts include 65 relief carved stone heads characteristic of the funerary stelae of ancient Yemen in the second half of the 1st  millennium BCE;11 folios of an ancient Quran manuscript dating between 750 to 800 ACE (8th century), which were initially discovered during the 1972 renovations of the Grand Mosque in Sanaa; and a bronze inscribed bowl believed to have been excavated at Wadi Dura in Yemen (Shabwah) from the 3rd century ACE.

The repatriation of these items is the culmination of extensive work by the US Government in seeking, searching, and seizing these cultural heritage properties, and marks the first time in almost twenty years that Yemeni artifacts have been returned by the U.S. government to Yemen.

H.E. Mohammed Al-Hadhrami, the Ambassador of the Republic of Yemen to the United States expressed his deep gratitude to the US Government, in particular to the Department of State, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York for all efforts exerted in the retrieval and return of these Yemeni artifacts. He further said “Ever since the Houthis’ coup in Yemen, our heritage and history have been under attack. We will continue our close engagement with the U.S. Government in pursuit of the restitution of Yemen’s stolen cultural heritage and property. I also affirm my substantial appreciation to the Smithsonian Institution for agreeing to temporarily hold these antiquities until they are fully repatriated back to Yemen in the future.”

Moreover, the Embassy of Yemen has signed an agreement with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art to safeguard and protect these artifacts which will enter the custody and care of the museum on February 21, 2023. This is a two-year custodial agreement with the option to renew at the request of the Government of Yemen.

This repatriation is the first time in almost 20 years that the United States government has returned cultural property to Yemen. The previous repatriation was in 2004 and involved the return of a single funerary stele (carved stone) that took place in New York.

In addition to the Houthi militias, other terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have taken advantage of the current situation in Yemen by looting, smuggling, and trading in Yemeni antiquities.

The Embassy highly appreciates the efforts of the Government of the United States of America toward the restriction of the import of Yemeni antiquities into the United States and for their retrieval. This is an essential measure undertaken that will protect Yemen’s cultural property.

Click below for the Ceremony’s photo gallery :

Gallery

Statement on the Truce Updated Proposal received from the Special Envoy of the United Nations to Yemen

Statement on the Truce Updated Proposal received from the Special Envoy of the United Nations to Yemen

1 October 2022

An official source in the Government of Yemen confirmed that it had received today, October 1, 2022, an updated proposal from the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Yemen to extend and expand the truce starting from October 2, 2022.

The source indicated that the Yemeni government is studying the updated proposal and will deal with it positively stemming from its keenness and commitment to exert all efforts to alleviate the humanitarian suffering of all Yemenis in all governorates without discrimination, as the main objectives of the truce are to stop the bloodshed caused by the Houthi militias’ war, ensure the freedom of movement of civilians and unhindered flow of commercial goods and humanitarian aid. By extending the truce, the Government of Yemen seeks to expand the benefits to all Yemenis, facilitate their movement, and ensure the payment of salaries to alleviate their humanitarian suffering.

The source further pointed out that despite the Houthi militias’ failure to fulfill their obligations pertaining to lifting the siege on Taiz and stopping the looting of the revenues from Hodeidah ports, which must be allocated to pay the salaries of civil servants in areas under their control according to the 2014 payroll lists, the Yemeni government will spare no effort to demonstrate all forms of flexibility and cooperation with the Special Envoy to overcome the obstacles created by the Houthi militias.

The source underscored the Government of Yemen’s calls in this regard to the Security Council and the international community to mount pressure on the Houthi militias to stop their daily violations of the truce and to engage positively with the efforts of the Special Envoy of the United Nations to implement all its provisions, foremost of which is to stop using the Yemeni people as a hostage and exploit their suffering as a negotiating tool; and to stop using state resources and revenues of Hodeidah ports for the personal enrichment of the militias’ leaders and for prolonging the war, and the need to immediately lift the siege on Taiz.

 

He also affirmed the Government of Yemen’s support for the efforts of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Yemen to achieve a comprehensive, just, and sustainable peace based on the agreed terms of reference, namely the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative and its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference and the relevant Security Council resolutions, particularly Resolution 2216.

Ambassador Mohammed Al-Hadhrami’s Remarks at the Washington Center for Yemeni Studies (WCYS) event DC

Ambassador Mohammed Al-Hadhrami’s Remarks at the Washington Center for Yemeni Studies (WCYS) event DC

September 29, 2022

Distinguished Guests, Ladies, and Gentlemen,

Good morning, to you all. It gives me great pleasure to be with you here today in the 1st annual conference about Yemen organized by the Washington Center for Yemeni Studies in collaboration with the Middle East Institute, the National Council on US-Arab Relations and the Gulf International Forum.

I thank all the organizers for having us all here today and I am glad to see so many familiar faces here in Washington. And I am delighted to meet new ones as well…

After eight years of war due to the Houthis’ coup, Yemen needs all the help it can get. And I hope that our discussions and deliberations here today will shed light on how we can collectively assist in finding a path to end this protracted war once and for all.

Yemen is a beautiful country, and I am sure those of you who had a chance to visit, it would attest to this fact. It has rich history, diverse and beautiful scenery, and hospitable and welcoming people. And not to mention the great food… Indeed, Yemenis deserve much better than what they are facing today.

For more than eight years, Yemen has been engulfed in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and is facing one of the toughest challenges in its contemporary history. Its economy is on the brink of collapse, and more and more Yemenis face not only economic hardships and food shortages everyday but also a brutal campaign threatening our social cohesion as one nation. I know all of us here agree that this war must end…and that a just and a sustainable peace in Yemen should be a priority for the international community as well as for US policy makers. And I am happy that we have a chance for all of us to demonstrate that today.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If we look at the current situation in Yemen, we realize that things need to change if we are to achieve peace. And if we look and examine closely the facts on the ground throughout the years of the conflict, we also realize that if we keep doing what we are doing since the beginning of the war… this war will never end! It will drag on and on and many millions of Yemenis will suffer the consequences.

One may ask (and I was even asked this question when I was a deputy chief of mission here in the US back in 2018): “with all the help of the Saudi led coalition and the support of the international community including the most powerful nations, why have we – the Yemeni government – NOT been able to end this war? Why haven’t we been able to force a group (as radical and as hated as the Houthis are), accept any peace?  And the answer is two folds:

1) We in the legitimate government and the coalition have not been able to unite as one in the face of this menace before April 2022. And 2), the Houthis, with Iran’s influence, were and still are not ready for peace – at least not yet.

Since the coup in Sep 2014 onwards, the infightings within the factions of the government on the one hand, and the continuous support of Iran to the Houthis on the other, have both made it possible for the Houthis not only to consolidate their grip over the capital of Yemen but also to expand to other areas.

So, how can we then end the war? And what needs to change to achieve that objective?

I wish I have simple answers for you; but exploring the following main factors will help light the way:

First: The Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) needs to be supported so that it can work as one. For the first time since the coup in 2014, all the factions within the government are under one leadership. And maintaining this unity, in my opinion, is the best chance we got to end the war.

The PLC has a tremendous responsibility, and no one expected its task to be an easy one to begin with.

His Excellency President Rashad Al-Alimi has affirmed that the Council is committed to working as one. Yes, there are challenges, but they all agree in the need to have a unity of purpose and that ending the coup and reinstating state institutions are its main objectives.

However, the PLC needs more support militarily, politically, and economically.

I say militarily because even though we believe there is no viable military solution to end the war, we know for a fact that peace won’t happen without military pressure. Peace will not happen without having a plan B, especially when the Houthis keep thwarting all peace efforts as they are still doing right now.

Political support for the PLC, at this juncture, would mean returning to Aden the temporary capital, and opening new embassies in Aden, especially by the coalition and our friends and allies. The Houthis need to realize that Aden will get stronger and stronger before they would vouch for peace.

And economically, is by fulfilling the pledge of 3+ billion USD promised in April 2022 by our brothers in the coalition. We thank the coalition for all the support thus far, we would not have made it so far without their help, but we need to show the Houthis that what’s to come is different than what had been in the past. This is the way. This is the only way if we are to see an end to this war.

Second: The truce alone won’t end the war. Even though de-escalation is a good thing, unfortunately, a truce respected and observed by only the government won’t produce a viable peace. The government accepted the truce 6 months ago to alleviate the suffering of Yemenis and to try to force the Houthis to talk peace. However, after two extensions, we realized that only the government of Yemen is fulfilling its obligations and not the Houthis… only the government is making more concessions, not the Houthis.

The goal should not only be to extend a truce; it should rather be to use it as means to achieve a just and a sustainable peace. It is for a peace in which a viable democratic platform can be created and upon which all Yemenis can freely choose their rulers and engage in genuine civic discourse to form a new social contract where all Yemenis have equal rights and responsibilities.

We support the extension of the truce but not just any truce. And not with new conditions set by the Houthis. We support a truce that delivers to all Yemenis and that requires the Houthis to totally fulfil their obligations. Unfortunately, they are not.

We have opened Sanaa Airport for commercial flights. This has been the government’s view for years; the Houthis now insist on using their illegitimate passports (which will compromise the integrity of all Yemeni passports). We have presented so many options to make it easier for our people in Sanaa to leave with travel documents until they reach their destinations, and then to get free new passports from there – such as from our embassy in Jordan or at other locations travelled. The Houthis refused.

In Hodeida, we have allowed oil and gas ships to enter unchecked and the Houthis never paid a penny for salaries despite all the revenues they collected. Furthermore, they insist on not allowing the government to check the ships documentations and threaten merchants if they decide to comply…

With the truce now, we have no ability to check whether these ships contain Iranian oil. The Houthis have received free Iranian oil shipments in the past as documented by the UN. And all we are asking is to check the documentations. Is this too much to ask?

In Taiz: This poor governorate has been under siege since the beginning of the war and the Houthis have repeatedly refused to set it free. The UN envoy in a few months have presented more than three proposals to open Taiz roads and the Houthis rejected them all… The Taiz roads issue must be dealt with like the FSO Safer oil tanker issue was addressed!

For years, the Houthis have hijacked the FSO Safer issue and used it as a bargaining chip in the peace process negotiations. Thankfully, this issue was detached from the other issues after we formally asked for that in the Security Council Safer session in July 2020. And now with funding from the Netherlands, USA, KSA, Germany, the UK and others, $75 million USD was pledged for the emergency phase. We now hope that the UN would start its plan as soon as possible to avert a catastrophe.

Third: The Houthis war in Yemen should be viewed as part of the Iranian expansionist project in the region. The Houthis and their backers in Iran need to see strong messages from the international community and from the US government and Congress – especially about their destabilizing behaviour in the region and in Yemen in particular. Make no mistake, without the help and support of the Iranian regime and Hezbollah with weapons and expertise, the Houthis wouldn’t have been able to do what they are doing right now.

Finally, we appreciate the level of support we are getting from the US administration and the support to the PLC expressed by both President Biden and Secretary Blinken. And we value the great work and efforts made by the US envoy and our friend Mr. Tim Lenderking. And I hope that a stronger stance from Congress could be shown to expose Iran’s malign activities in Yemen and that it be linked to any possible deal with Iran in the future.

The Yemeni conflict can be solved. Yes, it is complex and is getting more so as time passes by. But the more that we wait the more costly the solution gets. And without a holistic approach to deal with this conflict from all the main factors as I mentioned before, the Yemeni conflict will prolong, and Yemenis won’t be able to find a solution.

I wish our deliberations here today success. And I hope this conference will enable us to find ways for pursuing a just and sustainable solution to the conflict in Yemen so that Yemenis can once again be free and live to prosper as one nation.

THANK YOU

A Statement by His Excellency Ambassador Mohammed Al-Hadhrami on the Introduced House Joint Resolution 87 of the US Congress

June 2, 2022

A Statement by His Excellency Ambassador Mohammed Al-Hadhrami

On the Introduced House Joint Resolution 87 of the US Congress

The newly proposed Joint Resolution No.87 of the US House of Representatives, introduced on May 31, 2022, and announced yesterday June 1, 2022, invoking the 1973 War Powers Resolution and aiming at ending US support for the Saudi-led coalition, will not end the suffering of Yemenis, but rather will boost the Houthis’ intransigence and prolong the war.

Ending the war in Yemen is and has always been the main objective of the Yemeni Government. Ending the war will end the suffering of the Yemeni people. However, ending the Saudi-led Coalition and the US support for it in Yemen will most certainly not. In fact, ending the US support for the Coalition in Yemen will indeed exacerbate the situation and make the suffering of Yemenis endure as well as expand.

We appreciate the genuine concerns about Yemen expressed by Members of Congress. And Yemen needs all the help that it can get, especially now, but also going forward. However, the war will not end except when only the Houthi militia realizes that they will not control Yemen alone and that Iran’s support will not enable them to reach their sinister objectives.

To end the war in Yemen, we ask the US Congress to:

  • Support the Central Bank of Yemen, so we can curb inflation and facilitate the provision of salaries to the Yemeni people.
  • Help fund the UN Plan to resolve the FSO Safer oil tanker issue, so we can save the lives and livelihoods of millions of Yemenis, and avert a costly environmental disaster on the Red Sea that could occur.
  • Demand that all roads in Yemen be opened according to the truce so that millions of Yemenis trapped by the Houthis in Taiz can finally have freedom of movement.
  • Condemn Iran’s malign ongoing activities in the region, particularly in Yemen, so that the Houthis can finally realize peace is their only viable option.

Without question, this is what Yemen and Yemenis need. And this is what will end the war in Yemen, which will be conducive to reaching a secure and sustainable peace. And we sincerely hope that the United States Congress will help us to achieve this imperative.

Importance of Facts Over Falsehoods to the Narrative in the Yemeni Conflict

Importance of Facts Over Falsehoods to the Narrative in the Yemeni Conflict

When it pertains to truth and the veracity of the narrative to the conflict in Yemen, it should only be objectively established and embraced as it is. Periodically over the years, but in a more intensified manner recently, there have been propagations of falsehoods in parallel with proclamations of facts with regard to the narrative. Certainly, for those who assert their divergent outlook about the conflict and the parties thereto, we fully recognize and respect their right to freely express their particular view. However, if and when there are situations of disinformation or distractions from what constitutes facts, actualities, and certainties about circumstances concerning the conflict in Yemen, one is accordingly compelled to respond.

Moreover, if one is sincerely interested in reaching the overarching objective of peace, stability, and recovery in Yemen, it is our judgment that one should be careful about what is conveyed in his/her writings or public communications regarding the narrative – so that conditions are not made less conducive to ending the war and thereby fostering it (even unwittingly) to be perpetuated.

Like the Administration of the Honorable President Joseph Biden, the Government of His Excellency President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi deems it imperative to support all efforts for DIPLOMACY. Indeed, as a contextual acronym it can be aptly described as the following:

Dedicated Interactions for Pursuing Leverages and Opportunities in Means to Abort the Conflict in Yemen.

Thus, it is only with diplomatic actions that will lead to an end to this tragic war. There is no military solution albeit its pressures can help to expedite and expand its outcome when necessary. And by making light of false narratives and notions, it is incumbent for countering those myths or mendacities that are inaccurate in its account of history and injudicious in the articulation of opinion.

Some examples of recent statements that are false in the narrative to the Yemen conflict and which also negatively impact efforts at diplomacy are:

  • “Houthis, believe correctly that they are winning the war.”

If it were the case, they would not have been pushed out of Aden in 2015 and other parts of Yemen until now. Furthermore, this erroneous perception contributes to the Houthis having the incentive to sustain their violence and vehemence rather than de-escalating hostilities.

  • “Provinces of Mahra and Hadhramaut are occupied by the Saudis”

This is a canard. The presence of Arab Coalition forces should never be construed as an occupation. They are there to reinforce security in remote areas of southern Yemen, and which is exercised in coordination with the total consent of the Government of Yemen.

  • “The Houthis will not succumb to ”

Quite the contrary, and especially when it has related to pushing the Houthis to peace talks, and whose past rounds of negotiations (including in Stockholm) were a result of intense pressures. The Houthis have always succumbed to pressures, in particular to very strong diplomatic pressure and backed by ample military power.

 

  • “The Houthis control most of the north and 80% of the ”

Based on real statistics, Houthis occupy 47% of the population. 47% of Yemenis are in the liberated areas of the Yemeni Government. And 6% of Yemenis are “externally displaced” or living as refugees outside of Yemen.

  • “The Saudi blockade is the cause of the humanitarian catastrophe. And the blockade is an offensive military operation that kills civilians.”

This statement (besides being scornful and replete with bias) is also totally oblivious to all the criminal actions of the Houthis that have both precipitated and protracted the humanitarian crisis. Moreover, there is no blockade of any kind to food and commercial goods as is indisputably corroborated by the records of the United Nations Verification & Inspection Mechanism. The Government of Yemen and the Arab Coalition have never obstructed access for and delivery of humanitarian aid, unlike the Houthis who have cruelly and chronically perpetrated these terrible actions and in multidimensional ways.

  • “It is highly unlikely that any diplomatic effort will produce a political settlement in Yemen in the immediate future. The country is simply too fractured to be reunited. The more likely outcome is multiple Yemens, like in the past. Before 1990, there were two Yemens, north, and south. We should be prepared to deal with a Houthi-dominated North Yemen.”

We respectfully disagree. And in fact, so does President Biden who appointed a US special envoy for Yemen, Mr. Timothy Lenderking, and who has the solid support of President Hadi to help get a “political settlement.” And while we note our divided history, the majority of Yemeni people still favor a united country.

  • “The sad reality of Yemen today is that it is broken beyond retrieval by six years of war that two American administrations The territorial integrity and unity of Yemen is probably irretrievable.”

The United Nations Security Council has firmly stated its position in multiple UNSC resolutions for maintaining the unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Yemen. The UNSC also recognized the outcomes of Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference, which provides the blueprint for a federal Yemeni state under a newly drafted constitution to be ratified. Hence, the fate of Yemen still remains for a collective destiny.

The renowned Czech writer Franz Kafka expressed: “Deceptions are more frequent than changes”. Indeed, as history has shown, the latter dynamic is highly applicable to expectations in terms of the Houthis behavior. However, if the international community would like to truly witness a “metamorphosis” concerning Houthi conduct to achieve a demonstrable and durable peace, it needs to be also buttressed by the think tank community worldwide fully comprehending that the Houthis are cognizant of the perspectives emanating from them. The Houthis exploit every chance to bolster their agenda when they know particular experts on Yemen are expanding false narratives rather than expounding on the facts that are quite stacked against them.

Therefore, if peace is what we want in Yemen and for a united and prosperous future encompassing all its geographic regions, the narrative to the conflict must maintain the presentation and proliferation of facts – and never falsehoods that will be injurious to realizing the widely shared goal of peace. By adhering to truthful narratives, it will be ancillary to both ending the conflict and maintaining a united Yemen. The Houthis are ascribing to the belief that “a lie told often enough becomes the truth” (as several notable historical figures have also averred). However, we note here what the first American President George Washington affirmed: “the truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.” Furthermore, the eminent former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”

Statement Regarding Today’s Pledging Conference for Yemen organized by Switzerland, Sweden, and the United Nations

Statement Regarding Today’s Pledging Conference for Yemen organized by Switzerland, Sweden, and the United Nations

March 01, 2021

The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Washington, DC expresses its sincere gratitude to its allies and other close international partners today for their generous contributions at the United Nations’ virtual high-level pledging conference on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Led by the efforts of Sweden and Switzerland, the pledging conference garnered $1.7 billion in total donations that will help alleviate the suffering of millions of innocent Yemeni men, women, and children.

However, little to none of those suffering will receive this aid if the international community does not exert maximum pressure on the Houthis to end their campaign against the Yemeni people by stealing precious resources and blocking aid delivery. As the conflict turns towards its seventh year, the Yemeni people need this aid desperately.

80 percent of the Yemeni population relies on aid assistance and protection. Each month, the UN’s humanitarian operations help provide essential relief to more than 10 million Yemenis in need. The funds pledged today by our partners will be used to support the people most in need through a variety of programs and initiatives operating around the country.

The Embassy also thanks newly appointed Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Biden administration for further highlighting the importance of addressing and ending the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The United States continues to be an important partner in humanitarian aid, pledging $191 million for this year, and more than $3 billion over the past five years. The United Stats’s continued contributions only further strengthens the longstanding ties between the two countries.

“Today, famine is bearing down on Yemen,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated at the conference. “The race is on, if we want to prevent hunger and starvation from taking millions of lives. It is impossible to overstate the severity of the suffering in Yemen.”

Today’s pledging conference comes at a time when the Houthis have made clear that they have no plan to help end the humanitarian crisis. Instead, they would rather continue their assault on Marib, attack innocent civilians in neighboring countries, and obstruct humanitarian aid workers and projects from fulfilling their duties. This obstruction in the aid process has caused the UN to cut back or even end relief programs. The funds raised today will help address these cutbacks as well as persistent challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the Houthis’ antagonistic behavior.

“Right now, millions of Yemenis are looking to the world for help,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Lowcock said. “The good news is the world knows exactly what is needed to prevent catastrophe: pay for the aid operation, ensure access for aid workers, support the economy, and – most of all – end the war. The only question is: what will the world choose to do?”

Therefore, member countries must recognize that humanitarian aid and programs, while helpful, mean nothing if they continue to be blocked by the Houthis from reaching the people who need it most. As Prime Minister Dr. Maeen Saeed noted at the conference, the Houthis actively threaten the lives of two million Yemenis with their terror in Marib. “Aid alone won’t end the conflict.” Secretary Blinken’s words will ring hollow if there is no active effort from member countries to pressure and stop the Houthis and their malfeasance.

Despite the Houthis’ transgressions, the legitimate internationally recognized government continues to work closely with its international partners to help innocent Yemenis in the face of these various threats. The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen will continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure that essential humanitarian aid is effectively and efficiently delivered to the people of Yemen and reaffirms its commitment to reaching a peaceful, political resolution to the conflict.

Statement on US Government Designation of Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization

GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF YEMEN

Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Expatriates

January 11, 2021

 

Statement on US Government Designation of Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization

The Government of the Republic of Yemen takes this opportunity to comment on the latest decision by the United States Government to officially designate Ansar Allah (partisans of God), i.e., the Houthis, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). “After six years of conflict, and attempting other types of sanctions, we believe that all political and legal pressures must continue being mounted, maximized and maintained on the Houthis in order to make conditions conducive and conclusive to a peaceful solution to the conflict. The Government of Yemen welcomes this US announcement, and which is intended to engender an ultimate final resolution to this long and tragic conflict in Yemen,” states H.E. Dr. Ahmed Awad BinMubarak, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Expatriates (and former Ambassador of the Republic of Yemen to the United States of America).

Moreover, the Houthis merit an FTO designation not only for their concerted efforts in prolonging the conflict and producing the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe, but also for their actual concealed terrorist actions. The Houthis are an emerging menace to both regional allies and international security; and their presence also poses a threat to US interests and national security.

Furthermore, the Houthis have perpetrated crimes against humanity, including by terrorist activities in secret collusion and collaboration with other foreign terrorist groups who have managed to operate from Yemeni territories. Truly, and even beyond Hezbollah and IRGC, there is also a hidden nexus and network of cooperation between the Houthis and other foreign terrorist groups who have global aims and ambitions to attack the US military, American nationals and involvements in the region. Consequently, this FTO designation will alter the dynamics to make it even more untenable for the Houthis to endeavor any violent actions, just as the US military did in retaliating after Houthi missile attacks against the USS Mason in October 2016 on the Red Sea near Yemen.

Indeed, it is with Iran’s ideological, financial, military, and technical support to the Houthis that have allowed the Houthis to engage in reckless and reprehensible terrorist acts (including the December 30, 2020 attacks at Aden Airport that killed and injured many people); and in causing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world that has affected millions of innocent Yemenis, with dire health deficits and other related challenges made pervasive stemming from, among other things, the Houthis appalling misdeeds with aid delivery and relief efforts.

There are those who contend that any FTO designation on the Houthis will have “unintended consequences,” both for the peace process and humanitarian concerns. We totally understand these apprehensions as articulated by well-meaning parties, especially those involved with aid operations in Yemen. However, it is the continuous and callous interference of the Houthis that has obstructed such crucial efforts, not from any other parties to the conflict. Thus, the FTO designation should be viewed as an effective tool to stop their deplorable behavior, and whose application is not designed to negatively impact the conduct of relief and humanitarian operations. Indeed, it is intended to push the Houthis to end their machinations and compel them to genuinely pursue realizing a secure and sustainable peace. It is to extricate the country from its seemingly interminable awful situation. And it is to make the Houthis give up their illusions of entitlement or divine right to rule Yemen.

Therefore, in order to realize a decisive end to this long and tragic conflict, the Government of Yemen unwaveringly supports a FTO designation for the Houthis by the US Government as a just recourse and remedy in the interest of achieving peace through practical pressures, while it contemporaneously continues to fully back all United Nations-led efforts to reach a comprehensive peace. The Houthis must respond and reciprocate. And the Houthis must stop hampering UN-led peace efforts and to cease escalating hostilities once and for all.