Yemen president says military solution ‘most likely’

Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi speaks during the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York
AFP

Dubai (AFP) – Yemen’s civil war will “most likely” require a military solution because of Tehran’s influence, the country’s Saudi-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

“The military solution is the most likely because it is not their (the Huthis’) decision to make,” he said in an interview with Al-Arabiya television broadcast at the weekend, referring to the rebels and their backers, Iran. 

“Even if you come to an agreement with them, they call up Iran … back out, and then you don’t have a deal,” he said.

The interview came just days after the third anniversary of the Huthi takeover of Sanaa, which the rebels control in coordination with forces loyal to Yemen’s ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The rebels were in March 2015 on the verge of seizing total control of Yemen when Saudi Arabia formed an Arab military coalition and intervened in support of Hadi’s forces.

Hadi, who has taken refuge in the Saudi capital Riyadh, said that US policy in the region had improved under President Donald Trump. 

“The American position now is better than it was under (hir predecessor Barack) Obama, because Obama’s priority was getting the nuclear deal,” which had allowed Iran to “expand” its influence, he said.

Hadi said Obama’s secretary of state John Kerry had proposed he govern with a vice president chosen by the Huthis, a proposal he had refused. 

In contrast, Hadi said his government was on the same page as the Trump administration with a common goal “to increase pressure on the Huthis and on Iran”. 

Although he largely discounted the negotiations track, Hadi said his internationally-recognised government would “continue to extend its hand to peace”.

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