Yemen’s President called on Iran to stop meddling in the country’s internal politics, according to comments published in the pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper on Monday.
President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi (photo) accused Iran of supporting separatists in the south and religious groups in the north of the country, which is trying to stabilize after more than two years of political upheaval.
“Unfortunately, Iranian interference still exists, whether through its support for the Hirak separatists or some religious groups in northern Yemen,” Hadi told al-Hayat, apparently referring to the Shiite Muslim Houthi rebels who are trying to capture more territory in the northern part of the country.
“We asked our Iranian brothers to revise their wrong policies towards Yemen, but our demands have not borne fruit. We have no desire to escalate [the situation] with Tehran but at the same time we hope it will lift its hand off Yemen,” he added.
Iran has repeatedly denied interfering in the country, Reuters reported.
Last year, Yemen said that a ship intercepted off its coast was an Iranian vessel trying to smuggle explosives and surface-to-air missiles into the country. Iran, however, denied any connection to the weapons aboard the ship.
Iran has come under attack in Yemen with an Iranian official being kidnapped in Sanaa earlier this year. Previously, an Iranian diplomat was fatally wounded when he resisted gunmen who tried to kidnap him.
Yemen’s government is grappling with a separatist movement in the south and an Islamist insurgency, as it tries to restore authority lost during mass protests in 2011 that overthrew the veteran president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In February, the government announced Yemen will be transformed into a six-region federation as part of its political transition. The six designated regions include four in the north, comprising Azal, Saba, Janad and Tahama, and two in the south, Aden and Hadramawt.
Meanwhile, Yemeni Chief of General Staff Major General Ahmed Ali Al-Ashwal met in Sana’a Monday with Commander of Combined Task Force - 151 (CTF-151) stationed in Bahrain Commodore Ali Abbas of the Pakistan Navy.
During the meeting, they discussed aspects of military cooperation in the field of Naval Forces and combating smuggling, piracy and terrorism.
Al-Ashwal underlined the importance of strengthening military cooperation with the CTF-151 in the fight against piracy and smuggling.
In the same context, commander of the Naval Forces and Coastal Defense Maj. Gen. Abdullah Salem al-Nakhei met with Commander of the CTF-151.
The meeting touched on the cooperation mechanism related to the exchange of information, coordination and implementation of joint exercises to raise the capacities and skills of the employees of the naval forces to counter piracy, terrorism and smuggling.
Source: Reuters; al-Hayat; YNA