Yemeni Prime Minister denounces 'subversive activities' of Houthis in Red Sea

Ahmad bin Mubarak, at Arab Media Forum in Dubai, said nation need to be empowered to counter Iran-backed rebels

Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak, Prime Minister of Yemen, speaking at the Arab Media Summit held at Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
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Yemen's government should be empowered to counter the Houthi's influence on the country and the group's attacks against shipping in the Red Sea, Prime Minister Ahmad bin Mubarak said on Tuesday.

The Iran-backed Houthis, which control much of central and northern Yemen, have been attacking international shipping in the Red Sea since November.

Mr bin Mubarak denounced the group's “subversive activities” and said they had “hindered” global maritime trade passing through the strategically important Red Sea.

“The Houthi rebels have disrupted oil exports from Yemen since 2022, dealing a big blow to the economy,” Mr bin Mubarak said at the Arab Media Forum in Dubai.

He pointed to recent incidents in the Red Sea, during which Houthi rebels have attacked maritime shipping in what they say is a campaign in support of the Palestinians against Israel.

“Empowering a strong government would help change the situation on the ground,” he said.

At the Arab Media Forum, Mr bin Mubarak said that regional media could play an important role in finding solutions for Yemen's crisis and “unmasking the Houthis' real intentions and exposing their wrong narratives”.

During a discussion titled the "Future of Yemen", Mr bin Mubarak thanked the UAE and Saudi Arabia for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to Yemen's problems.

He said that the “root causes” of the issues facing Yemenis must be addressed, so as not to impact the country's future.

“Different approaches had tried to arrive at solutions, including some that only sought to respond to the humanitarian situation but the fact remained that the root causes had been left unattended.”

Mr bin Mubarak criticised the influence of the Houthis in Yemen and their campaign in the Red Sea.

On Tuesday, a Greek-owned bulk tanker ship took on water after being hit by three missiles in the Red Sea, off the coast of Yemen.

The Laax, sailing under a Marshall Islands flag, was attacked 85km south-west of the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah – and is continuing to the UAE despite sustaining some damage. The Houthis have yet to claim responsibility for the attack but have conducted similar operations since November.

Since the war in Gaza began on October 7, the Houthis have reiterated that their attacks will not stop until Israel halts its aggression on the Palestinians, and a ceasefire is reached.

The Houthis had also dismissed a proposal by the US, incentivising the rebels to stop their attacks in the Red Sea, The National reported this month.

The “incentives” included lifting the blockade on the capital Sanaa and the crucial port of Hodeidah, and speeding up UN-led peace talks, in exchange for the group's stopping its attacks.

“The Houthis have received many incentives since the start of operations in the Red Sea. But they are concluding that what’s being offered isn’t enough to stop,” a political Yemeni source told The National this month.

Updated: May 28, 2024, 6:14 PM