Yemen Mulls Turning to UN to Drive UAE Out of Socotra Island
The last several days have seen increasing tensions between the Yemeni government and the United Arab Emirates over Abu Dhabi’s unilateral decision to deploy about 300 soldiers, along with tanks and artillery, to the Yemeni island of Socotra.
The newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi has cited a Yemeni source as saying on conditions of anonymity that officials in Yemen’s exiled government plan to turn to the UN Security Council in order to put an end to the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s military presence on Socotra Island.
According to the source, more Yemeni government officials are “thinking of addressing the United Nations to get the UAE out of the Arab alliance.”
The source described the UAE’s actions as a “flagrant violation of Yemeni sovereignty,” adding that Riyadh’s pressure hinders the Yemeni government’s drive to turn to the UN Security Council.
The remarks came after Abu Dhabi deployed some 300 soldiers, along with tanks and artillery, to Socotra Island on April 30 without informing the Yemeni government-in-exile of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Bin called the UAE’s takeover of Socotra an “unjustified” assault on Yemen’s sovereignty, which he said “reflects the disagreement between the legitimate government and our brothers in the UAE, and at its core is a dispute over national sovereignty and who has the right to practice it.”
The UAE’s Foreign Ministry rejected the accusations, saying that Abu Dhabi “plays a parallel role in the Yemeni island of Socotra to maintain security and stability, support development projects, and help the people of the island.”
Referring to the troops’ deployment to Socotra, the ministry said that it “comes within the efforts of the Arab Coalition to support the legitimacy at this critical stage in the history of Yemen.”
Since 2015, the UAE has been a key partner in the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthis in northern Yemen under the auspices of restoring Hadi’s authority.
However, analysts pointed to the UAE starting to distance itself from Hadi, who is reportedly under house arrest in Riyadh, and carving out an area of influence in southern Yemen.
Socotra Island, located in the Arabian Sea and sometimes referred to as the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean” and the “most alien-looking place on Earth” is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site.