Yemeni minister criticizes UN over Taiz, hails Gulf contribution
A minister from Yemen’s internationally recognized government criticized the UN for not doing enough to help break the siege on the southwestern province of Taiz, hailing the Gulf states as the main contributors of relief to his war-wracked country.
Abdul Raqeeb Saif Fateh, who is the minister of local administration and also chairman of the Higher Committee for Relief in Yemen, told the London-based Al Arab newspaper this week that the UN and its humanitarian agencies had not been able to lift the ongoing sanctions against Taiz for the past nine months.
He criticized the UN for accusing “all sides” in the conflict of wrongdoing after sending one of its teams to Taiz, saying the international organization should know who is responsible.
The Iran-backed Houthi militia group is currently laying siege to Taiz, the country’s third largest city, and surrounding areas. Some 200,000 civilians in Taiz are caught up in the fighting.
Last week, the Yemeni army and popular resistance forces made considerable progress on several fronts in Taiz, while Houthi militias have continued a bombing campaign of civilians in the city, the Arabic website of Al Arabiya News Channel reported.
Fateh, who was speaking on the sideline of a charity conference held in Qatar, described the Gulf states as taking a “brotherly stance” towards Yemen, adding the main issue in Yemen is “political” and “not sectarian.”
Without naming sides, Fateh said political factions backed from powers abroad are the ones “complicating” the situation in Yemen. He also made the claim that “82 percent of the Yemeni population [are] in an urgent need of humanitarian relief.”
“The Yemeni president Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi and his deputy Khaled Bahah have explained that the war imposed was for peace, and that dialogue is the only solution,” he said.
“But we do not want the devil’s dialogue which brings us back before 2011 just as toppled Ali Abdullah Saleh [the deposed former longtime president] and his allies want.”
Since March last year, the Saudi-led coalition has bombed Iranian-backed Houthi militias and forces allied to deposed leader Saleh, in a bid to put the government of internationally recognized President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi back in power.