March 28, 2019
The Saudi Ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed bin Jaber, said that the “Decisive Storm” – led by Saudi Arabia against the coup in Yemen – was necessary to prevent the country from sliding into civil war.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, the ambassador noted that the Houthis have committed themselves to “implement the Iranian project and shed the blood of Yemenis.” He explained that his country supported peaceful political solutions – the latest of which was the Stockholm Agreement – but the Houthi rebels have failed to implement any of them.
“The Decisive Storm prevented Yemen from sliding into civil war between various parties, including Iran-backed militias. It was a war of necessity, not a choice,” he stated.
“We knew that the Iranian-backed militias were acting in accordance with one policy and approach and were implementing the directives and instructions of the Tehran regime,” he added.
The Saudi ambassador stressed that the Houthis have hindered all attempts to find political solutions within the Gulf initiative, the outputs of the national dialogue and UN Security Council Resolution 2216.
“The Houthis destroyed Yemen, smashed the hopes of the Yemenis, looted the government’s money in the Central Bank… and put the country in a severe state of poverty and hunger, in addition to recruiting children and tampering with their lives,” he remarked.
Asked about the role of Saudi Arabia in the Stockholm Agreement, the Saudi ambassador asserted that the Kingdom played a major role in the success of the accord reached in the Swedish capital. Yet, he remarked that the Houthis have signed more than 70 agreements since the beginning of the coup, attended many dialogue sessions, made many pledges without fulfilling any of them.
“The failure to implement the Hodeidah agreement confirms the lack of seriousness of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias to achieve peace in Yemen, so the international community must shoulder its responsibility towards Yemen, and deal with the Houthis on the basis that they are a gang that seized power by force of arms,” he emphasized.
Jaber went on to say that the Houthi militias were a very small minority. “They have managed to capture the country, through Iranian money and training by Hezbollah, with the aim to implement an Iranian agenda; this will not happen,” he said.
Commenting on efforts deployed by Yemeni tribal groups to fight the rebels, the ambassador said: “The honest people in Yemen reject the presence of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias and the Iranian tutelage. I can say that all Yemeni tribes are involved in confronting these militias, which are using money to recruit children.”
Jaber also said that the Saudi-led Coalition for the Support of Legitimacy also contributed to curbing the presence of terrorist groups in Yemen, which tried to exploit the weakness of security and chaos.
“Therefore, the alliance is working with several countries to eradicate those terrorist groups,” he explained.
Back to Saudi Arabia’s role, Jaber stressed that the Kingdom was the largest provider of humanitarian aid to Yemen. He noted that in addition to the various humanitarian response plans it has launched over the past years, the Kingdom hosts about two million Yemenis working in various professions.
“This is great support for Yemen, not provided by any other country,” he affirmed.