Tuesday 9, February 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: Shedding light on the current situation in Yemen, His Excellency Khaled Bahah, Vice President and Prime Minister of Yemen, spoke at the fourth World Government Summit, providing clarity on the military intervention in place to combat Houthis rebels, the strategies put forth to take back occupied lands, and plans put together to encourage development.
H.E. Bahah started by showing appreciation for the long-term support received from GCC and surrounding regions. In 2011, following pro-democracy protests and demands for change, Yemen sought international assistance to resolve rising internal conflict.
“Our GCC brothers, particularly the Saudi Arabian kingdom, stood by us in 2011, helping us draft a new constitution. This unconditional support continues today. Now with the Houthis refusing to commit to national reconciliation efforts, we have asked for the support of our neighbors to proceed with military intervention. Such support and efforts will not only help Yemen, but also the entire Arab region.”
H.E. Bahah said that hesitation on implementing military intervention would have led to dire consequences and negatively affected the country. Assisting international militaries, he said that Yemen had put high ranking personalities and officials in place to help military intervention efforts.
With regards to the blockade on the Yemeni city of Taiz, H.E. Bahah reassured the audience that authorities were taking necessary measures to lift the blockade and ensure access to supplies. Coupled with the help of neighbors and the support of the Yemeni citizens, the Prime Minister was confident that military efforts would succeed in liberating the city in the near future.
“Taiz is a small city with a relatively large population and difficult geographic terrain, thereby making it more difficult to liberate. Even though we have turned to the UN more than once, the rebel group militias are uncooperative and have an unethical code of conduct, further impeding our efforts to lift the blockade. That said, we are confident that we will liberate the city soon.”
The Prime Minister said that the government is fully operational and in control of capital; however, conditions in Yemen remain extremely difficult. With continued terrorist attacks on civilians and growing tensions in rebel-occupied cities, he acknowledged the challenges but reassured the audience that the Yemeni government is in the process of implementing post-liberation strategies that will enhance government presence and instill government control.
“Despite the unstable situation, government ministers continue to hold sessions that deliberate the future and development of the nation. We have put in place a strategy that will defend and liberate each city under siege and eradicate all radical elements in Yemen, thereby putting an end to all terrorist attacks.”
When asked if the national military remained loyal to the Mohammed Basindawa, the former Prime Minister of Yemen said that despite large numbers of military men stationed in this cities such as Aden, attacks continue and persist thereby indicating some kind of support for Basindawa.
H.E. Bahah talked about the importance of moving toward peace and ensuring cooperation among all factions in Yemen before liberating cities. Yemen has attended two rounds of United-Nations-brokered peace talks in Geneva with warring parties. According to the Prime Minister, both rounds proved unsuccessful due to the unwillingness of various parties to unite.
War will continue, he claimed, if militias continue to be supported by and take orders from Iran.
“The Iran intervention in our internal conflict is a polarizing force in our country. Iran is playing a game that is detrimental to our society.
He added: “We hope that militias will take responsibility for their actions and engage in peace talks, but the current circumstances show no progress in the political environment in Yemen.”
The Security Council of 2016 is proof of the uncooperative nature of rebel groups. H.E. Bahah said Article 1 was the only one to be considered and implemented, even though six or seven resolutions were suggested.
The problems inherited from the previous regime has further hindered Yemeni’s ability to fight off rebel groups. H.E. Bahah stated that the national army has failed to provide a united front and are weak when facing militias.
“Yemeni’s are natural fighters, however due to the extraordinary circumstance, we only have 45 days to train soldiers, which is obviously not enough time. Once the wars stop, we will build robust training academies.”
With Sanaa close to liberation, the Yemeni government and legitimate authorities control more than 80% of the country.
In terms of growing Yemeni poverty, H.E. Baha said that the nation requires regional and international cooperation to begin the process of development.
“We are hopeful that the GCC will develop a Gulf Plan, much like the Marital Plan, to help the Yemen move toward their next phase marked by development. We can only embrace development once we have a clear and united vision and a will to give people back their humanitarian rights.
He added: “The priorities of the government going forward are to rehabilitate the economy and develop a variety of sectors including education and healthcare. With support from neighbors, we can organize ourselves and engage in strategic efforts to quickly move from one phase to the next.”
The World Government Summit has convened over 3,000 personalities from 125 countries. The summit aims to explore more than 70 topics through keynote speakers and major interactive sessions, drawing the participation of world leaders, ministers, decision makers, CEOs, innovators, officials, experts, entrepreneurs, academics, and university students. A number of initiatives, reports and studies are set to be launched during the summit and throughout the year. WGS 2016 runs until February 10 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.