Al Mukalla: Yemen’s internationally–recognised government is mulling asking the UN Security Council to lift sanctions on Ahmad Ali Abdullah Saleh, the son of the slain ousted president Ali Abdullah, and the country’s ambassador to the UAE, Yemen’s prime minister said.
In an interview with the Saudi-owned Asharq Al Awsat, Ahmad Obeid Bin Dagher said he would “insistently” demand the UNSC to end sanctions on Ahmad Saleh as he is no longer accused of being an ally of Al Houthi militia, which seized power and triggered a nation-wide bloody conflict. “We will turn the page of differences between us and we will build a spirit of tolerance among the members,” Bin Dagher said.
The UNSC imposed an assets-free and travel ban on Ahmad Saleh and several Al Houthis leaders in 2015, accusing them of obstructing the peace process in Yemen. The young Saleh and his father were blamed for using their influence on some military units to smooth the way for Al Houthis’ takeover of the capital Sana’a and overthrow Saleh’s successor Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi in early 2015. Shortly after Al Houthis killed his father, who had led a brief military uprising in Sana’a in December, Ahmad Saleh vowed revenge against Al Houthis by backing their foes on the ground.
For Saleh’s supporters who switched sides and backed Hadi’s government, Ahmad Saleh is officially in the government camp and the UNSC should lift the sanctions so that he is able to travel freely and return to Yemen. The UNSC has not commented on repeated appeals from Bin Dagher and other government officials.
Bin Dagher, who is currently based in Riyadh, has strongly refuted allegations that Yemen’s president is currently under house arrest in Saudi Arabia and cannot return to Yemen after the Southern Transitional Council seized control of Aden in January. “President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi can return to the capital whenever he wants.”
Commenting on fresh peace efforts by the new UN envoy to Yemen, Bin Dagher said his government is willing to end the war and the UN envoy would succeed in his mission if he stressed on the three references of peace talks. “The international community should put direct pressure on Al Houthis to implement the Security Council’s resolution and engage in talks with the legitimate government based on the three references,” he said, referring to the outcomes of National Dialogue Conference, GCC initiative and UNSC resolution 2216 that asks Al Houthis to exit cities and hand over arms.
On the third anniversary of Saudi-led military operations in Yemen, Bin Dagher said March 26 was a watershed movement that changed the course of Yemen’s history and thwarted Iran’s designs in Yemen. “The Decisive Storm decision was historic by any national and international standards,” he said.