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Russian ambassador comments on Yemen crisis

The situation in Yemen is extremely dangerous, the ambassador says
Houthi Shiite fighters in Sanaa AP Photo/Hani Mohammed
Houthi Shiite fighters in Sanaa
© AP Photo/Hani Mohammed

MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. The situation in Yemen is extremely dangerous and the conflict is unlikely to be resolved in the near future, Russia’s Ambassador in Sana’a Vladimir Dedushkin told TASS on Thursday.

"Honestly speaking, the situation is really very dangerous," the diplomat said. "We must not rule out that the sides might come from positional clashes to full-scale hostilities. Naturally, it is difficult to talk about prompt solutions in current circumstances," Dedushkin said.

Russia’s Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed focused on the issue at their recent talks in Riyadh, he said.

The UN envoy for Yemen is determined to launch dialogue between the warring sides in the near future, Dedushkin said.

"It is satisfactory that in spite of the hopeless situation, Ahmed is set to try again to relaunch dialogue between the sides," the diplomat noted commenting on the Riyadh talks. "He will attempt to get the sides to be involved in direct negotiations, and what is more in the very near future."

Moscow "welcomes these efforts brokered by the UN," he said.

"We are ready to fully assist in the search for compromises," the ambassador said. "It would be perfect to actively engage the current institution of ambassadors from the countries sponsoring the political process, first of all, five permanent members of the UN Security Council," Dedushkin said. "Unfortunately, during the conflict these agencies actually remained idle, despite Russian representatives’ numerous attempts to give them an impetus, and it is not our fault."

"It is crucial that Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s plans and proposals would be of comprehensive nature and will not fixate just on humanitarian aspects, but should simultaneously include political and security issues," the Russian ambassador said. "In particular, within the framework of UN Security Council’s existing resolutions, we should look for areas of common interest that could allow to stop fighting, step up confidence measures, disengage the warring sides and begin making up unified authority bodies."

Amid conditions of mutual trust and international guarantees, "all armed units should hand in heavy weapons," Dedushkin is convinced.

"Afterwards, nationwide elections could be held in the light of a famous initiative of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf and results of the conference on national dialogue," the diplomat underlined. "And long hoped-for peace will eventually come to the long-suffering land of Yemen."

Yemen conflict

The war between the country’s world-recognized authorities and the Houthi rebel units has been raging in Yemen since August 2014. However, the conflict entered an active phase when the Saudi-led coalition invaded the country at the request of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in March 2015.

In January 2015, the Houthis seized capital Sana’a and forced President Hadi to move to Aden. He left the country after the Houthis entered the city on March 25. The next day, Saudi Arabia, supported by the air forces of Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, launched a military operation against the rebels. Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan also joined the coalition.

Since 29 November 2017, the Yemeni capital of Sana’a has been gripped by a wave of violence. Clashes began when the Houthi rebels attempted to seize some state buildings and facilities controlled by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s supporters. On December 2, Saleh broke partnership with the Houthis, and was killed by the rebels on December 4, while trying to leave the capital and move to his native settlement.