Al Mukalla: Iraq’s government does not recognise the recently formed political council made up of Al Houthis and supporters of ousted Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemeni foreign minister Abdul Malik Al Mekhlafi has said.
Speaking after a meeting in New York on Saturday, Al Mekhlafi said that Iraqi foreign minister Ebrahim Al Jaafari denied Al Houthi claims that Baghdad backed the controversial council.
Al Jaafari also affirmed his country’s stance refusing to meddle in other states’ internal affairs and its support for UN-brokered peace talks between Yemeni factions, the state run Saba news agency quoted Al Mekhlafi as saying.
Last month, Al Houthi officials visited Iraq and claimed that Haidar Al Abadi’s government backed the formation of the political council, a move that prompted the internationally-recognised government into asking Baghdad for a formal clarification.
On Saturday, the agency said that the Iraqi foreign minister welcomed the Yemeni government intention to send a new ambassador to Baghdad and invited Al Mekhlafi to visit Iraq.
After years of covertly colluding with the rebel forces to undermine the government of Yemeni president Abd Rabbo Mansour, Saleh in July officially declared his alliance with the Al Houthi movement by forming the political council.
The move torpedoed peace talks with the government in Kuwait.
Meanwhile on the ground, military commanders loyal to the government in the province of Lahej said on Sunday that their forces took control of strategic mountains overlooking the region of Sharejah in the Taiz province.
Major General Fadhel Hassan, commander of the Karash front, told Gulf News that his forces secured their grip on all mountainous sites in Karash and are now fighting Al Houthis in Taiz’s Sharejah.
“With the help of our military brothers from the UAE, we have pushed Al Houthis out of Karash and we are advancing into Taiz province,”
Hassan said that warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition have killed dozens of fleeing Al Houthi militants.
“The coalition’s warplanes hit a gathering of 100 Al Houthis who fled their positions killing at least 50 and injuring many others.”
With Karash under the government forces control, Al Houthis were completely kicked out of Lahej province and the government forces secured Al Anad military base from Al Houthis rockets.