Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 November 2020

Yemen government prepares case to Interpol for arrest of Houthi ‘diplomats’

Abdullah Sabri, who is wanted by the government, was named as the Houthi envoy to Damascus on Sunday

Yemen has been in the grip of an armed conflict since late 2014 between the Houthis and the government. EPA
Yemen has been in the grip of an armed conflict since late 2014 between the Houthis and the government. EPA

Yemen’s government condemned the appointment of a new Houthi ambassador to Syria on Monday and urged the International Criminal Police Organisation to issue an arrest warrant.

Abdullah Sabri, who is wanted by the Yemeni government, was named as a Houthi envoy to Damascus on Sunday. He succeeded Naif Al Qanas, who took the position in 2016.

"Various governments were informed not to deal with Abdullah Ali Sabri, Naif Al Qanas, and Ibrahim Muhammad Al Dailami, or to facilitate their movement and to hand them over to the government of the Republic of Yemen if found on their territory," the foreign ministry said.

"The judicial authorities in our country have initiated the necessary legal procedures to issue compulsory arrest warrants against the individuals via Interpol," the ministry said.

The Yemeni government is seeking a Red Notice on the individuals, administered by Interpol.

The procedure is not an international arrest warrant but rather an appeal from one state to another to assist in locating and arresting an accused person for the purpose of extradition, according to Interpol.

In August, the rebels appointed Mohammed Al Dailami as an ambassador in Tehran. The move was condemned by the government as a breach of international laws.

Iran made no announcement about accepting the appointment of an ambassador for the Houthis, who have controlled the Yemeni capital Sanaa and much of the north since 2014.

Yemen's president severed diplomatic relations with Iran in October 2015, accusing Tehran of providing military aid and finance to the rebels.

"The exchange of diplomatic relations between Tehran and the Houthi militias breaches the international laws and norms and contravenes United Nations Security Council resolutions related to the Yemen crisis," the government said on Twitter.

It said the step exposed the hidden relationship between the Houthis and Iran.

In October Tehran appointed Hassan Irloo as its ambassador to Sanaa.

Mr Irloo’s predecessor left Sanaa in September 2015 and in October last year Iran’s foreign ministry said the process of sending a new ambassador was hindered by “attacks on the embassy”.

The development comes as a new round of UN-led prisoner exchange talks is expected to take place next Thursday in Amman.

Hundreds of prisoners were freed last month in the biggest exchange operation between the government and Houthi rebels since the war started in 2015.

Nearly 680 Houthi rebels and 400 pro-government fighters were flown between the capital Sanaa and the government-controlled city of Aden.

The UN is trying to revive peace talks to end a war that has killed more than 100,000 people and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

Updated: November 16, 2020 08:18 PM

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