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UAE Withdrawal From Yemeni Conflict Comes as a Big Surprise for Houthis

© AP Photo / Hani MohammedShiite Houthi tribesmen hold their weapons as they chant slogans during a tribal gathering showing support for the Houthi movement, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, May 19, 2016
Shiite Houthi tribesmen hold their weapons as they chant slogans during a tribal gathering showing support for the Houthi movement, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, May 19, 2016 - Sputnik International
The recent announcement of the United Arab Emirates to withdraw from the anti-Houthi military operations in Yemen came as a big surprise to the Ansar Allah movement, also known as the Houthis, one of the conflicting sides in the conflict, a member of Ansar Allah’s delegation to peace talks in Kuwait told Sputnik Arabic.

“First of all, we were very surprised by the news, especially that the United Arab Emirates declared it unanimously,” Nasser Mahfouz, a representative of the Shiite Houthis movement Ansar Allah told Sputnik during the peace talks on the situation in Yemen which are currently taking place in Kuwait.

UAE Flag - Sputnik International
UAE to Withdraw From Anti-Houthi Military Operations in Yemen
“The conflicts between the UAE and the coalition which have begun to surface, and the country’s Mirage fighter jets which crashed in the city of Aden might have contributed to the decision,” Mahfouz added.

He also said that UAE have made the decision to pull out after they completely destroyed the Yemeni port city. However they have not left the country so far, he added, and have even captured a station in the region of Hadhramaut.

The negotiator also complained that the UAE has not made any positive proposals while in Kuwait, and has only complicated the negotiation process by giving orders to their mercenaries to throw the Aden residents out of the city.

However, Mahfouz noted that after the announced decision the sides to the peace negotiations started touching upon very important issues and he hopes that a decision may be reached in the coming days.

With regards to Saudi Arabia, which leads the anti-Houthi operation in Yemen, Mahfouz noted that Riyadh has “only the money they can afford to bribe everyone with, including the international community. They even bought the 2216 resolution (Resolution of the UN Security Council on Yemen) for money. Riyadh is spreading terrorism throughout the world. Those who are fighting in Syria are mercenaries of Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Since 2014, Yemen has been engulfed in a military conflict between the government headed by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and Shiite Houthi rebels, supported by army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Supporters of the Shiite movement of Houthi protest in Sana - Sputnik International
Delegation of Yemeni Houthis to Arrive in Kuwait for Talks on Wednesday
The civil war escalated when a Houthi revolt sparked in the capital Sanaa in September 2015 and President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia, where he formed a government and requested Saudi-Arab support to regain power as an elected president.

On March 26, 2015, within the scope of the Saudi-led coalition, Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against the Houthis and the Yemeni army. The United Arab Emirates, as part of the Saudi-led coalition, has been carrying out airstrikes against Houthi positions in Yemen at President Hadi's request.

The United Nations-brokered peace talks in Kuwait between the Houthis and their allies and Hadi's government have remained at a standstill for nearly a month now, due to the intransigence of both sides and their unwillingness to make substantial compromises to reach a political settlement to end the brutal war.

On Wednesday, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that the United Arab Emirates is withdrawing from the anti-Houthi military operation in Yemen.

“Our standpoint today is clear: war is over for our troops; we’re monitoring political arrangements, empowering Yemenis in liberated areas,” the crown prince said on Twitter.

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