UNITED NATIONS – Yemen’s president hit out at Iran during his address to the United Nations on Friday, accusing Tehran of blocking peace moves through its support for Houthi rebels who continue to hold the capital.
“We shall extract Yemen from the claws of Iran.
We shall raise the Yemeni flag over every foot of our precious soil,” President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi told the UN General Assembly.
Hadi also urged foreign governments and financial institutions to back his government’s decision to move the central bank from Sanaa to the southern city Aden.
The latest round of UN-led talks ended last month between the government and the Houthis without a breakthrough and a ceasefire that had been in place since April was broken.
“Iran impedes all measures that we are taking by a multitude of actions and interventions” Hadi said.
The president accused Iran of fueling extremism in the region as his country is home to Al-Qaeda’s deadliest franchise and to an increasingly active branch of the Islamic State group.
“We tell the whole world in very clear terms that extremism and sectarian terrorism sponsored by Iran in the region has created and will create a terrorism that will be counter to that,” Hadi said.
“Terrorism feeds on the other terrorism.
Among the Arab world’s poorest countries, Yemen slid deeper into chaos when a Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign in March 2015 to push back the Huthi rebels and restore Hadi to power.
After the Houthis began diverting funds from Yemen’s foreign reserves, Hadi sacked the central bank governor and announced at the weekend that the bank would relocate to Aden.
“We decided to move the central bank to the interim capital of Aden in order to save what we can save from the reserves,” he said.
“We call for the support of the free world and its monetary institutions in order to stand by us .
and save the Yemeni economy,” said the president.
A recent UN panel of experts’ report said the Huthis were diverting about $100 million from the central bank per month, and that the foreign reserves had dwindled from about $4 billion in November 2014 to $1.
Yemen’s prime minister and seven ministers returned to Aden on Thursday, setting up the government which had been in exile since October.
More than 6,000 people have been killed since the coalition began its military campaign, and there has been growing international alarm over the heavy toll on civilians.
Peace talks have been hampered by disagreements over plans to create a national unity government and withdraw the Huthis – and their heavy weapons – from the capital.