Embassy of the Republic of Yemen Condemns Iran-Backed Houthis for Endangering Yemenis to the Coronavirus and Urges International Pressure
Tomorrow, Thursday, March 26, 2020, marks five years since Yemen’s legitimate government with the crucial help of the Arab Coalition acted to thwart the Iran-backed Houthis from taking over all of Yemen. It is not a day for celebration, despite the important security gains from territory retaken by the government.
The international community recognizes that peace is long overdue in Yemen. The legitimate government and its coalition members have made overtures, and we have been working closely with all United Nations Special Envoys and international partners to find some way to convince the Houthis to agree to a comprehensive cease-fire and to join in a unity government that would give all Yemenis – including the Houthis – a voice in the future of the country. Unfortunately, the actions of the Iran-backed Houthis over the past year have proven to the world that they are determined to continue and even intensify this conflict, no matter what the cost.
Most recently, they have cynically blocked food aid to millions of suffering Yemenis living under Houthi oppression; and the Houthis have refused to cooperate on basic health strategies to prevent numerous communities from the threat posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Just this January, the Houthis launched three missiles during Maghreb prayers at a mosque in the province of Marib, killing 111 worshippers and injuring more than 100 others. It was the latest manifestation of the Houthis’ callous disregard for the sanctity of civilian life. The Houthis also have indiscriminately planted more than 1 million land mines under Yemeni soil, forcibly conscripted thousands of child soldiers and indoctrinated many more young children in schools that include a mandatory daily recital of their slogan that horribly incites anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. The contrast between the behavior and visions of Yemen’s legitimate government and the Iran-backed Houthis has never been clearer than now.
In the current global context, while Yemen has no confirmed cases yet of Coronavirus, the legitimate government has taken steps to ensure proper testing is available and promoted awareness of the virus in its controlled areas. It has worked with the World Health Organization to secure medical equipment, including test kits, hazmat suits, masks and gloves for local medical colleges and institutions. From other partners such as Saudi Arabia, the legitimate government has secured pledges of funding, technical expertise, and additional health resources to help with our pandemic preparedness efforts.
The Houthis, meanwhile, continue to import advanced weaponry and trainers from Iran, the country with the most severe Coronavirus outbreak in our region. They continue to block aid to Yemenis in Houthi-controlled areas and refuse to provide any kind of personal protective equipment, hoarding them along with the food and water intended for vulnerable and malnourished civilians.
The international community should not be surprised, given the Houthis’ past deplorable conduct and continued egregious actions to arrest, torture and execute innocent Yemenis on false charges; the politicization of courts; and the steady theft of humanitarian assistance that has been so grievous, it has forced the United Nations to suspend food deliveries to Houthi-controlled regions for months at a time.
“The Houthis have made it clear that they do not want peace, not on any terms, and are actively pushing a strategy to relentlessly increase the misery of the Yemeni people,” said Dr. Ahmed BinMubarak, Yemen’s Ambassador to the United States.” “The Houthis continue to blatantly violate international law, with few repercussions from the international community. Given the threat to all Yemenis posed by the COVID-19, we need a united front on the Houthis so that they come to the negotiation table once and for all – and in accordance with the established Three References (i.e., Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative & Implementation Mechanism, the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference and United Nations Security Council Resolutions, especially 2216).”
Indeed, on this fifth anniversary of the international effort to stop the Houthis, Yemen’s legitimate government is yet again reaffirming its desire for a comprehensive peace that can finally end this conflict. It is prepared to dialogue with anyone and work constructively with everyone to give the Yemeni people the security, stability, and prosperity they always have deserved.