The UK forces in Yemen are occupying forces and we have the right to target them: Head of National Delegation
The head of the national negotiating delegation stressed that the British forces in Al-Mahra and Socotra are occupying forces and the Yemeni army has the right to target them.
In an exclusive interview with the ALKHANADEQ website, Mohamed Abdulsalam said that the operations in Marib will keep continuing on a large scale. He pointed out that “the Saudi side, in fact, does not want a political or a humanitarian solution, it wants something similar to disengagement and the perpetuation of the crisis.” The Omani mediation is “ongoing… We do not believe that the Saudi-Omani rapprochement can affect Oman’s historical and strategic role in the wars and its clear and explicit stance on the Yemen war and the aggression against it.”
He added that the Marib initiative is a humanitarian initiative that is still on the table, saying that it would have represented a path to peace if the other side, whether the Saudis or the Americans, were serious about a solution.
Below is the text of the interview:-
What is going on in the negotiations through the Omani mediator?
The political negotiations through the Omani mediator have been going on for a long time, but their pace increased during the last visit to the capital, Sana’a. These discussions with the Omani mediator resulted in us presenting an initiative on the basis that it would present to the other party what is related to Marib, as well as what is related to the humanitarian situation and we see it as a forward step toward ending the widespread humanitarian crisis that the Yemeni people are suffering from, which we consider a crime against the Yemeni citizens, and the use of the blockade as a weapon is considered a crime punishable by law and shunned by international law and human norms. Discussions are still going on with the Omani mediator in conveying ideas and messages, whether with the American or Saudi side or with any other parties.
Saudi Arabia wants to end the war, as has been said. Does it have a proposal to stop it? Why did you reject the Marib initiative?
The Saudi side, in fact, does not want a political or a humanitarian solution, it wants something similar to disengagement and the continuation of the crisis, and for this we believe that the humanitarian side basically does not need negotiations, opening airports and humanitarian treatments are supposed to keep going, and that Airports and seaports shall be open, given that closing airports, punishing the Yemeni people for their livelihood, preventing medicine from reaching the sick and the deserving, and preventing students, travelers and merchants from leaving to and from Yemen is a crime. That is why we believe that the initiative that was presented in Marib would have represented a key if the other side, whether Saudis or Americans, were serious about a solution, and this initiative is still on the table so far.
There is an Omani rapprochement with Saudi Arabia. Does this not affect the role of the Sultanate of Oman as a mediator?
We do not believe that the Saudi-Omani rapprochement can affect Oman’s historical and strategic role in the wars and its clear and explicit stance on the war on Yemen and the aggression against it.
The Sultanate of Oman has an independent policy not only in Yemen but also in other countries in the world, as happened in Syria, Iraq and the first and second Gulf Wars. Oman had positions sometimes that were consistent with one party and sometimes they differed, but Oman is characterized by good relations with a neighboring country such as Yemen and positive historical relations. Likewise, the Sultanate of Oman has positive relations with the West and with Iran, which is characterized by an independent, calm and consistent policy that is not passive and does not represent a reaction.
That is why every time there were good relations between Oman and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we encourage such rapprochement because it is in harmony with the Omani vision, which cannot be at the expense of Yemen or at the expense of the people, or at the expense that it will change its position and become on the side of a country that supports wars. It is not possible to support sedition, siege and secession, because this is inconsistent with Oman’s historical policy and its well-known civilization in this direction.
Also, just as we encouraged the Saudi-Iranian negotiations and considered it to ease tension in the region, we also do in the Omani-Saudi rapprochement, whether in the economic, political, social or other aspects…The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman also remain neighboring countries with many priorities and common interests. We believe that this may contribute in one way or another to help provide assistance to Saudi Arabia to get out of this war because it does not represent any benefits for the Sultanate, nor for its economic stability or the development that is announcing about.
The war on Yemen cannot lead to any progress, and the Sultanate of Oman is worthy and able to play a positive and calm role, and it also has an interest in stopping the war in Yemen and not disintegrating or fragmenting this country, given that these positions are taking place with the principles of the Sultanate of Oman. So far, we have found nothing but the position of the Sultanate of Oman, which is to stop the war in Yemen and support peace in Yemen, in humanitarian and political terms, which is still ongoing and has not changed. On the contrary, the Sultanate benefits from its relations in supporting this trend.
What is the Saudi perception of the solution?
Unfortunately, the Saudi vision so far to stop the war does not represent a real cessation of the war. But a disengagement and a truce, a fragile truce that could explode again. Also, there is no real end to the siege or the shooting in the Saudi proposal, but it stopped fragmentary. Also, the lifting of a partial siege does not represent the reality of the solution and orientation. That is why we dealt with the Saudi proposal with a level of suspicion and insecurity about such a proposal, because in the details we found that what was called the Saudi initiative, even the Saudi proposal in closed rooms or what is presented through the United Nations is still an incomplete proposal. Opening the airport does not mean a complete opening, but rather with conditions, restrictions and destinations Specific ports. In addition to the ports, in which we accepted some of the restrictions to give reassurance for the other party, given that the humanitarian aspect is separate and remains open and continuous, whether the aggression continues or not.
That is why we believe that the Saudi proposal is illogical and impractical, lacks reality, and they do not dare to present their vision, but rather put it on the basis of points because it will be unacceptable and illogical and even not based on a realistic vision, but rather a disengagement and a fragile truce, with the siege and air raids remaining, and the war going on without any real humanitarian treatments, not in the prisoners’ files, or the reconstruction, nor the complete end of the war, nor the preparation for political negotiations.
Have the battles stopped in Marib? Why don’t the army and committees decide the battle in this city?
There is almost a truce in Marib and most of the fronts, what is the reason?
Actually, the battles did not stop, neither in Marib nor on other fronts, and the aerial bombardment continues on a daily basis, and the mobilization and the entry of weapons into Yemen and the operations of war, siege and almost daily killing. Unfortunately, perhaps some of the media may have become accustomed to the 7 years of war in Yemen to become forgotten, or to have major and strategic military actions in order for the media to bring their attention. That is why we say the war in Marib is still going on and the aerial bombardment is still going on. From our side, we are in a defensive position, and as long as there is aggression and siege, it is our right to defend and attack with all we can. As for saying that the war stopped, no, it did not. There may be military actions with a greater escalation or a specific attack as a result of military planning and vision that take into account the situation and challenges on ground, especially since the Marib region is a large area. Perhaps some of the people do not realize that many of the districts of Marib, with Allah’s help, have fallen, and they are large areas similar to some of the districts in Marib, which are almost larger than some of the Gulf states or two of the Gulf states. This war continues, and the work of military operations continues, as well as on the rest of the fronts to confront the aggression.
There is no cessation of military operations, whether missile or drone strikes, and there may be some situations, circumstances, and military backgrounds only for the subject. As for whether there is a pause or there is a truce or a political decision to stop any military operations or missile bombing, there is neither in Saudi Arabia nor the UAE, but there are priorities that coincide with some events, as well as what the military planner and implementer see in this aspect and what he also takes according to the circumstances and available capabilities.
How will you deal with the presence of British forces in Al-Mahra? Will you deal with it militarily?
The presence of British forces in Al-Mahra is not new in fact, it is more than two years old, and the foreign military presence in Yemen is rejected, whether it is American, British, Saudi, Emirati, Sudanese, or any country… We reject any military presence of any country in the territory of the Republic of Yemen. We consider these forces in our country to be occupying forces and they must be dealt with in this regard. As long as it is in this way, it is illegal and unacceptable and is not based on any facts or laws, neither international nor local.
The British presence in Mahra is linked to Britain’s interests and the interests of America and “Israel.” And not only in Al-Mahra and also in Socotra. Socotra is a remote island in the heart of the ocean where there are no events and does not represent any partial, organic, direct, or indirect connection with the military events in Yemen. Nevertheless, there were occupying Emirati military forces on it and tried to change many of the Yemeni national constants on this island and even tried to obtain many landmarks, whether natural or historical or attempting demographic and geopolitical change also take all of these attempts to exploit the events in Yemen as well as on Mayon Island.
That is why we believe that military forces are occupying forces, and as long as they are occupying forces, it is the right of the Republic of Yemen and its army to confront any military forces in the land of Yemen and to target them as invading forces under international law and Yemeni law and in accordance with international and humanitarian norms.