Sheikh Abdullah calls for halt to clashes in Aden

Foreign Minister calls on Yemeni forces to focus on countering Houthi rebels

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, June 9, 2019.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC)  press conference between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation - United Arab Emirates and the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs - Federal Republic of Germany. --  
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, United Arab Emirates. Victor Besa/The National
Section:   NA
Reporter:  Mina Aldroubi
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The UAE on Saturday called for an end to fighting between Yemeni forces in the southern city of Aden, saying the focus should remain on fighting the Houthi rebels.

All parties need to hold "responsible and serious dialogue to end the differences and work on unity", Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, said in comments reported by the state news agency, Wam.

The UAE, "as an active partner in the Saudi-led Arab coalition, is exerting all efforts to calm and de-escalate the situation in Aden", Sheikh Abdullah said.

The clashes between government loyalists and forces aligned with the Southern Transitional Council, a coalition of southern leaders, began on Wednesday at the funeral of security forces killed in a Houthi missile attack the previous week. The council has accused elements within the government of being complicit in the attack.

Witnesses said members of the presidential guard shot at mourners who were shouting anti-government slogans at the funeral. The guards opened fire again when the mourners then tried to storm the gates of the nearby presidential palace. At least five mourners were killed and 13 injured in the firing, which triggered four days of fighting in the port city and surrounding areas.

The Yemeni foreign ministry said on Saturday that STC-affiliated forces had taken control of all the military camps in Aden.

"What is happening in the temporary capital of Aden by the Southern Transitional Council is a coup against institutions of the internationally recognised government," the ministry said on Twitter.

Sheikh Abdullah urged the UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, to intervene.

He said it was important for Mr Griffiths to "make all possible efforts to end the escalation in Aden because of its repercussions on the UN efforts" to achieve peace in Yemen through negotiations.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also issued an appeal on Saturday, calling for all parties to cease hostilities and engage in "inclusive dialogue".

The United Nations is trying to de-escalate tensions countrywide as it tries to implement a peace deal in the main port city of Hodeidah further to the north, to pave the way for wider political talks to end the four-year war.

The UAE supports the Yemeni government as part of the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in the country's civil war in March 2015. The coalition helped to restore government control over much of the southern Yemen, where the UAE has trained and equipped local forces to counter the Iran-backed rebels as well as extremist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS.