Battle for Yemen's future has been intense: Bahah

Khalid Mahfouz Bahah, Vice-President and Prime Minister of Yemen.

Khaled Bahah, Yemen's Prime Minister and Vice- President, has commended the generous initiatives of GCC countries in Yemen, saying that Aden’s schools, which were shut down during the Houthi occupation, are now open, electricity has been restored and hospitals are starting to function again.

He said that the delivery and distribution of essential goods and humanitarian assistance have been accelerated to Yemenis, who had been on the verge of famine before the current conflict.

In remarks to the ‘Wall Street Journal’, Mr. Bahah said, "The battle for Yemen’s future has been intense, but progress is being made, with the port city of Aden wrested from Houthi control and now the temporary base of the legitimate government."

The following is the text in full:

"In a region racked by strife, Yemen stands out. It is the poorest country in the Middle East and since March, the plight of my people has been worsened by an inhumane war.

The people of Yemen elected President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in February 2012 to preserve the country’s unity, independence and territorial integrity, while leading all Yemenis toward a brighter future. But that future has been stolen by Iranian-backed Houthi militia, who drove our legitimate government from office and have committed countless human-rights abuses, documented by the UN In response, a broad, international coalition led by Saudi Arabia, and with Yemen’s national army, is working to liberate our country from illegal, foreign-sponsored control.

Although the battle for Yemen’s future has been intense, we have recently made significant progress.

In July, the port city of Aden was wrested from Houthi control and is now the temporary base of the legitimate government.

With Aden now secured, we have accelerated the delivery and distribution of essential goods and humanitarian assistance to Yemenis, who had been on the verge of famine before the current conflict.
Thanks in large part to the exceptional generosity of our Gulf brothers, Aden’s schools, which were shut down during the Houthi occupation, are open. Electricity has been restored and hospitals are starting to function again.

While much more needs to be done, the arduous road to recovery begins with the restoration of territorial control. Yemen’s national army and coalition forces have advanced to the northern province of Marib on the doorstep of the capital, Sana'a.

We will take our capital back, and restore legitimacy to our country and hope to all Yemenis.

The Houthis can avoid further bloodshed if they comply with the UN Security Council resolution adopted on April 14th and recognise the legitimate, freely elected government and return all territories that they have illegally seized.

The world is rightly concerned about the toll, especially to civilians, from this war.

Any civilian death is a tragedy for which my heart bleeds, and the forces allied with us are taking extraordinary care to avoid civilian casualties and target only military objectives.

Yet we have seen terrible evidence, documented by internationally respected NGOs, of Houthis locating their hide-outs and weapons caches in civilian areas and making human shields out of political detainees.

In its practices, the Houthi group enjoys the support of a regional power.

My country is keen to have good relations with all countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, provided that principles enshrined in the UN charter particularly non-interference in internal affairs are respected and observed.

But Tehran must choose, either it continues to sow discord and maintain relations with a seditious movement, the Houthis, or it deals with Yemen’s legitimate authority.

The end of this conflict cannot come soon enough. In their callous disregard for the rule of law, the Houthis have opened up a dangerous power vacuum in parts of the country, which Al Qaeda and ISIS [Daesh] the sworn enemies of humanity are exploiting. As a result, much more than the future of my country is at stake.

Failure in Yemen will reverberate regionally and globally, emboldening and empowering extremists. Victory will send a powerful message beyond our shores that Yemenis are committed to defend their inalienable right to self-determination, to prosper in peace and to project those values throughout the Middle East."

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