Spokesperson of the coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen, Colonel Turki bin Saleh Al-Malki during the press conference
Yemen Coalition spokesman: Liberation of Hodeida in coming days
BRUSSELS-- Colonel Turki bin Saleh Al-Malki, spokesperson for the coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen, Friday said the vital port city of Hodeida will be liberated in the coming days from the Houthi rebels and thus open the way for humanitarian aid deliveries to the Yemeni people.
"Military operations are continuing in Hodeida. The airport has been liberated," he told a news conference at the Brussels Press Club today at the end of a two-day visit to the European Union.
He said that now the coalition forces with the support of the Yemeni National Army are clearing the mines planted by the Houthis at the airport.
Al Malki said that after the liberation of Hodeida port "in the coming days God willing," life will return to normalcy and also allow safe passage for ships.
The spokesman said he and his delegation met EU parliamentarians and officials during their visit to inform them about the current developments in Yemen.
"The positive engagement with partners is one of our objectives. Fighting the Houthis as an opponent on the ground in Yemen, we are fighting an ideology which is a threat to the whole world," he said.
"To exchange ideas and view with our partners about the threats posed by the Houthis and the efforts we are undertaking to counter this threat in the Arabian Peninsula is also one of our objective," he said.
"No doubt the political solution is the best solution to resolve the crisis in Yemen and in the interest of the Yemeni people," stressed the Coalition spokesman.
He said that Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have contributed recently USD 1.5 billion in humanitarian aid for Yemen.
On his part, Mohammad Issa Abushahab, UAE ambassador to the EU and Belgium, speaking at the joint news conference, said much of the humanitarian assistance coming to Yemen "has been abused by the Houthis who are distributing the aid to their own fighters and selling it on the black market." "Taking control of Hodeida will allow the assistance to reach the Yemeni people at large," he said.
The UAE ambassador said that there have been efforts in the past to hand over the Hodeida port to a neutral party or to the United Nations, but the Houthis have rejected this idea.
"The main objective of coalition operation is to improve the humanitarian situation and improve chances of a political solution and to protect the civilian population," he underlined and added that the operations are carefully planned so as not to harm the civilian population.
He also dismissed as fake news some reports alleging that the UAE is running prisons inside Yemen.
"The UAE does not run any facility or secret prison in Yemen," he stressed.
Meanwhile, Saudi Ambassador to the EU, Saad Al Arify, told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that the visit of the Saudi delegation was "very constructive." "The feedback that we got from the EU side was very positive," he said.
"The visit helped us as diplomats to get our point across and explain the real situation in Yemen. The coalition are very careful and take all precaution to avoid civilian casualties. We encourage the coalition to send more such missions abroad," he told KUNA.