Houthis refuse to cede Yemen power in face of ‘threats’

GCC countries on Saturday urged the international community to act forcefully over the deteriorating security situation in Yemen.AdTech Ad

Police troopers stand on a police truck positioned at a checkpoint in Sanaa. -Reuters

Sanaa – The Houthi militia that seized power in Sanaa said on Sunday it will not cave in to “threats” after Yemen’s Gulf neighbours urged the UN to act forcefully against its takeover.

“The Yemeni people won’t cede power in the face of threats,” spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said, quoted by the official Saba news agency, which the Houthi militia now controls.

Abdulsalam insisted that Yemenis were “engaged in a process of self-determination free of any (foreign) tutelage”.

Yemen’s Gulf neighbours on Saturday urged the international community to act forcefully over the deteriorating security situation in the Arabian Peninsula country, including possible military intervention.

The United Nations Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution on Sunday urging the Houthis to step aside, release government officials and begin UN-brokered negotiations, diplomats said.

Calling for the Houthis to act “immediately and unconditionally,” the draft resolution demands they “withdraw their forces from government institutions… and relinquish government and security institutions”.

The Houthis seized Sanaa in September before tightening their grip and prompting Western-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to tender his resignation.

They dissolved parliament and installed a “presidential council” to run Yemen on February 6, sparking security concerns that saw several Arab and Western countries close their embassies and evacuate diplomats.

On Sunday the militia spokesman denounced as “provocative blackmail” demands for the Houthis to relinquish power.

The withdrawal of ambassadors “reflects the panic that has hit some political forces which aren’t betting on the people… and their dignity, but on foreign” countries, said Abdulsalam.

“These embassies are here to oversee the interests of their own countries and not those of the (Yemeni) people,” he added.

Among the countries that have closed their embassies and pulled out their staff are Britain, France, Germany and the United States. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have taken similar action.