BRUSSELS, September 30 (RIA Novosti) – The spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has lashed out at warring parties in Yemen over the breached ceasefire deal and demanded that they respect the authority of the government in Sanaa after the conflict showed no signs of abating on Tuesday.
"We strongly condemn recent violence that has taken place in Saada, al-Jawf, Amran, Mareb and Sanaa and insist that all involved must respect the authority of the State," EU spokesman Michael Mann told RIA Novosti.
"We urge all groups to uphold a permanent ceasefire, for the legitimate government authorities to have sole and full control over security and public institutions. Those engaged in armed confrontation must lay down their heavy weapons and surrender weapons seized from the regular forces and act in keeping with the law," he stressed.
Michael Mann said the European Union was "constantly monitoring" the situation in this country in southwestern Asia and kept in touch with EU Member States embassies in the Yemeni capital.
Ashton's spokesman said the 28-member bloc had welcomed the agreement signed earlier by the government and rebels, and called all parties for "full implementation of all its elements."
He also urged Yemeni security forces to "uphold the highest standards of conduct and to demonstrate maximum restraint in their response to protests."
Since mid-August, Shiite Houthi insurgents across Yemen have been up in arms against the country's incumbent government, calling for economic and political reforms. They have also accused the authorities of discrimination against Zaidis, which is a sect of Shiite Islam.
The uprising led to Houthi militants overrunning the Yemeni capital in September, seizing control of key administrative and military infrastructure, and raiding homes of government officials, including party leaders.
Reports transpired earlier that Sunni fighters from the Ansar al-Sharia group, a branch of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, have been targeting Houthis for armed attacks and suicide bombings.
Addressing the issue of increased al-Qaeda involvement in the standoff, Michael Mann said the European Union said it remained concerned about the terrorist activities of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and other extremist militant groups, warning terrorists were "working against the will of the Yemeni people and remain a threat to the international community."
"As security is an essential prerequisite for the success of the transition period, we recall the urgency for the government to move forward with resolve to reforming the security sector both on the military and on the civilian side. The EU stands ready to assist in this critical endeavor," Ashton's spokesman concluded.
Many Sanaa residents have been forced to flee Sanaa fearing an escalation in violence when the riots intensified last week. The Yemeni government has responded by boosting its military presence in the nation's capital after Houthi rebels refused to leave the city.
Houthis' refusal sent tensions soaring in the city, swelling the ranks of al-Qaeda fighters and supporters of the conservative Islamic al-Islah Party in the Marib province east of Sanaa and in the central al-Bayda province.