President-in-exile Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi recorded his address to the 2020 U.N. General Assembly on Thursday in Saudi Arabia, where he has dwelled for over five years, ever since the Iran-backed Houthi insurgency overthrew the legitimate government of Yemen.
Hadi said the people of Yemen are suffering from “the war that has been imposed upon us with the regional support of Iran.” He accused the Houthi insurgents of ignoring or undermining international peace initiatives.
“They took our state institutions hostage. They undermined the legitimacy of the political climate. They smothered liberty, and they have also blown up schools and places of faith. They have persecuted citizens, and they have transformed [Yemen’s capital] Sanaa, a rich city of peaceful coexistence, into a prison,” he said.
Hadi said the Houthi civil war has “imposed a humanitarian crisis on us, destroyed society, and led to waves of displacement.”
“It has caused waves of repression and forced disappearances, as well as the worst case of poverty that we have ever seen,” he said.
Hadi said his government has done everything possible to facilitate U.N. peacemaking efforts, but the Houthis continue making war against those Yemenis who are “rejecting the Iranian model.”
He accused the “terrorist-sponsoring Iranian regime” of exploiting every peace initiative as an “opportunity to attack” cities they don’t already control, using “savage militias” who strike targets in Yemen and Saudi Arabia without concern for civilian casualties. He further accused them of interfering with humanitarian aid for the suffering Yemeni people.
“The international community should reject all attempts by the Houthis to manipulate humanitarian aid and blackmail the government using funds reserved for paying salaries,” he said.