In an Interview with Al-Hadath Channel: President Al-Alimi renews commitment to peace option and confirms readiness for any other options
In an Interview with Al-Hadath Channel: President Al-Alimi renews commitment to peace option and confirms readiness for any other options
Sun ، 07 Apr 2024 23:04

His Excellency, President Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi, President of the Presidential Leadership Council, renewed the commitment of the Council and the government to peace option as it is a Yemeni and regional interest. However, at the same time, he stressed the government’s readiness for any other options that bring the Houthi militias to the negotiating table.

The President of the Presidential Leadership Council said in an interview with Al-Hadath TV channel: “We still believe in the peace process and we value the efforts of our brothers, first and foremost the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the international efforts. Because we absolutely believe that peace is in the interest of all Yemenis, and if the Houthis want to proceed on the path of war, then the armed forces, military formations, and the Yemeni people are ready for this battle."

His Excellency the President expressed his appreciation for all regional and international efforts and initiatives aimed at bringing peace. Which were dealt with positively by the government and the Presidential Leadership Council.

He pointed out that the last of these initiatives was the Saudi road map, which he, his fellow members in the Leadership Council and the government have approved, despite their conviction that all the agreements that were signed with Al-Houthi during his long history were not adhered to at all. The last of which was the Stockholm Agreement, the Truce Agreement, and other agreements.

He added, "But we raised the slogan of a hand builds, provides development, services to people, builds peace and deals with peace initiatives, and a hand carries weapons."

He explained that with regard to the truce, there were a number of elements on which the first truce was based, which was opening Sana’a airport to two destinations as a first stage. He pointed out that the government commended this step because it serves the Yemenis in areas controlled by the militias. As well as opening the port of Hodeidah, which was only closed for some materials such as oil derivatives, in addition to the ceasefire, and before that the opening of the besieged roads of Taiz.

He stressed that the Presidential Leadership Council, the government, and the Coalition to Support Legitimacy have implemented their commitments in this regard. But the Houthi militias have not committed to the fourth element related to opening Taiz’s roads until this moment.

He added, "Despite that, we continued with this truce, while the militias attacked the oil installations in Al-Dhaba in October of 2022, six months after the formation of the Council. The goal was to disrupt the leadership council and the government and to get us lose resources. Because the Houthis felt that we were rebuilding state institutions in Aden, and this is what they fear.”

His Excellency the President stressed that the coming back of stability to Aden disturbed the militias and their supporters. Thus they attacked oil derivatives and "we lost 70% of the resources."

His Excellency praised the support of the brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the budget, which enabled the government to fulfill its imperative obligations, including paying the salaries of employees, retirees, the wounded, and martyrs.

Below is the interview:

Al-Hadath Channel: Hello and welcome, our viewers, to the special meeting from the heart of the interim Yemeni capital, which coincides with the second anniversary of the founding of the Presidential Leadership Council in Yemen, and also in light of circumstances and changes in Yemen that have perhaps changed a lot in the Yemeni scene and increased the complexity. We are today with the President of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council, Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi.

- His Excellency the President: Welcome, Ms. Rasha, to Aden. It is an occasion for two dimensions. The first dimension is the two-year anniversary of the formation of the Leadership Council. The second is the occasion of the liberation anniversary of interim capital Aden, from the terrorist Houthi militia supported by the Iranian regime, welcome to Aden.

- Al-Hadath Channel: Today, two years after you assumed this position, everyone may ask, and allow me to be the mouthpiece of the Yemeni people, what has been achieved as a result of this position entrusted to you? Have you fulfilled all the tasks entrusted to you as a council? What has been accomplished and what has been unaccomplished so far? And why?

- His Excellency the President: Thank you very much for this question. It is a question that comes to the minds of many, whether at the internal or external level. When the Presidential Leadership Council was formed, the political, administrative and economic conditions of the liberated areas were witnessing a lot of division, conflict and confrontation, that reached the point of armed confrontations, whether in the interim capital Aden or the other governorates. This disrupted the tasks that the legitimate government should carry out and led to the formation of an opinion at the internal and external levels that the legitimate government was suffering from a state of weakness and disintegration, which was reflected in its relationship with the Yemeni people and even in the areas under the control of the militias, and at the regional and international level. This leads to further weakness for it and leads to greater strength for the militias that control areas until now.

Consultations took place and a meeting was held, called the Riyadh Consultations, in which all political forces, social figures, and components from all parties attended. We continued dialogue and discussion for a week, this resulted in a reconsideration of the form of authority within Yemeni society. So that we could overcome the conflicts, tension, and fighting that existed within these liberated areas.

- Al-Hadath Channel: Did the Council meet these aspirations? Have you actually overcome these differences?

- His Excellency the President: First, when we began to carry out our work inside the interim capital, Aden, everyone realized that the state was unable to carry out its work in all governorates. The political and military components fighting the Houthis were fighting among themselves, whether in Aden, Abyan, Shabwa, or many other cities. The regions and the first action or achievement of the Presidential Leadership Council is that these conflicts and confrontations have been stopped. The forces that were in military confrontations have been withdrawn, and we worked to reposition them. Security and stability were normalized in these governorates, first and foremost in the interim capital, Aden.

Everyone realizes at home and abroad that the state was unable to perform its authority, especially the institutions of law enforcement, the judiciary, the prosecution, and the security forces. The judiciary was on a comprehensive strike for a period of one year and seven months. The prosecution was unable to work, and this led to the disintegration of state institutions because a state without a judiciary, prosecution, or security enforces the law; there is no sense for the existence of this state. So our first task in the beginning was how to reconstitute these institutions. In fact, we reconstituted the Supreme Judicial Council, formed the Supreme Court, appointed a public prosecutor, formed courts in the governorates, prosecution offices, and completely restructured the judicial institution in all the liberated governorates, with the capital Aden at the forefront. The Supreme Judiciary is now practicing its duties in an excellent manner. Regarding the security institution, we have begun to reconstitute this security institution. There are problems.

Al-Hadath Channel: What are the problems and what are the obstacles, Mr. President? There are those who say that the nature of the composition of the Council is that there are discrepancies between the agendas of the Council members. How do you respond to this aspect and is it really the reason for making the state of stability or going towards it falter in Yemen?

- His Excellency the President: I agree with you. First, who says that there is absolute consensus within the Council.

- Al-Hadath Channel: there is a difference between absolute compatibility and discrepancies?

- His Excellency the President: I say that these Council members had come from different areas, and some of them were in conflict with other, in armed confrontations, and there were also martyrs and wounded from these parties. Today we have moved from the battle with weapons and confrontations to dialogue, and I consider this a positive step that we have moved to the stage of dialogue. Of course, we still have major issues that are subject to disagreement within the Council, but whenever we agree on something, we move forward with it, and if we disagree on something, we postpone discussion on it until it matures, I mean the solutions related to it. Then we move on with it, but if we evaluate what we have done during the two years so far, I believe that we have accomplished many tasks related to what was stipulated in the Declaration of the Transfer of Authority. There are complications and problems related, for example, to the submission of all military formations to….

Al-Hadath Channel: And this is the point adopted by the military committee that you have established. What has it done so far and why have we not actually seen this single military body that follows one decision and a unified vision? What is the obstacle?

- His Excellency the President: First, I want to confirm to everyone at home and abroad that the military components of the National Army and all other military formations represented in the Presidential Leadership Council, today have one common goal, which is to confront the terrorist Houthi militias and restore the state. This has been agreed upon, and there is no discrepancy at all, this has become the main essence. The second point is the issue of how these military formations are subject to the command of the Ministry of Defense and how they are integrated into the framework of one army. We have begun with the first steps. The first step is that we have formed a joint operations room under the command of the Ministry of Defense and its headquarters are in the interim capital, Aden. This joint operations room represented all military formations. Therefore, we have one operations room and one operations theater controlled by this room, and we have a person in charge of that, who is the Minister of Defense. Today, all units are fighting on the fronts. We, for example, two days ago had 12 martyrs on the Karish front, who is fighting on the Karish front? The National Army, along with the Transitional Council army. They are all fighting on this front, and this is the main strategic goal.

The issue of integrating all of these people into one army and one formation, the men of the armed forces and the military know this. This issue requires time, even within the framework of one army.

- Al-Hadath Channel: It really needs time...but is the intention there? Is there anyone who might stand as a block in the way of this approach, or is everyone unanimously agreed that it is a necessity and is going towards it?

- His Excellency the President: There are some reservations about the issue of integration from some brothers, leaders of military formations, and there are internal factors that may complicate this matter until we proceed with it. Because the integration process, which some believe that it is just sweep the ground from under these leaders,so that these forces become outside the framework of the control of this entity or that. The truth is that the internal conviction among the leaders of these components and within the framework of the Presidential Council, there is complete conviction that the process of unifying joint operations, the theater of operations and unifying the confrontation against the Houthis in terms of armament and rebuilding capabilities. Today, for example, we have rebuilt capabilities with regard to military institutes, colleges and training institutes in which training is being conducted from all parts of Yemen and from all military formations together and in one place. The security and military committee that was formed for this purpose played a positive role in this aspect, and I will not hide from you the secret that when I started this committee and we chose it from all the military formations in the first meeting, they disagreed about clothing and slogans. However they went beyond the conflict, held successive meetings and took some decisions today. This security and military committee from all the military formations became one team, while when they started the first meeting they were not one team. They were different and struggling during the meeting.

- Al-Hadath Channel: This is considered a development and perhaps one of the most important tasks assigned to this committee?

His Excellency, the President: The Ministry of Defense is participating in the process of rebuilding and reforming the armed forces and military formations. It is coordinating with the Chief of Staff regarding reform within the military institution. We are continuing with all of these issues.

- Al-Hadath Channel: There is some objection from diplomats, some of whom are also friends of the government and UN envoys, who say that the legitimacy, whether the government or the leadership council, do not have the initiative or the ability to initiate, and there are also those who say that there is corruption in some ministries, according to them, and therefore there is a lack of trust to an extent. What can you respond to that and what is the way to restore the international community’s confidence in Yemeni legitimacy and thus obtain and return donors to the path of Yemeni aid and helping the Yemeni people?

- His Excellency the President: The truth is that the legitimacy and the legitimate government have been stigmatized with corruption, unfortunately, during all the past stages. This does not mean that there is no corruption, but it has been stigmatized with corruption, and this, I believe, was one of the first priorities undertaken by the Presidential Leadership Council, and we proceeded with a group of reforms, for example the Central Bank. It was unreliable at the internal and external levels. Today, the Central Bank is supported by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank more than any Yemeni institution. The donors tell us literally that the Central Bank today is taking measures and reforms to the banking situation and monetary policy in a very excellent manner, and therefore we support this bank.

The second point: for example, as evidence of the international community’s confidence in legitimacy after the formation of the Council, we had $600 million from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund allocated during the Corona days to help the Yemenis. It was not handed over to the legitimate government before the formation of the Presidential Leadership Council, and the donors always said, “We do not trust that.” they will not go to the right place. In fact, these amounts were granted after the formation of the Council, and we faced many obligations in 2023. The brotherly Saudi Arabia and the Emirates provided us with aid to support the budget, for example, and they provided us with grants to support the Central Bank and the Yemeni currency. The Emirates provided us with oil derivatives. These all came within the framework of restoring confidence to the government and Yemeni institutions in this field. We are therefore continuing with these reforms. The evidence of this is that today we pay salaries to army institutions through banks.

Al-Hadath Channel: I will come to this aspect in the context of this meeting. Let us, Mr. President, let us go to peace. Peace may need to be paused and allocated time. Talking about peace, which perhaps if we go back to two years ago from now, the truce began with the beginning of the formation of the Council. This truce, how do you evaluate it and assess it? The Houthi commitment to it, and what does this commitment mean, even if it is somewhat compromised? Are these actually Houthi intentions that can be worked on, or are they tactical steps followed by the Houthis? Perhaps he has some cards to strengthen some cards during this time, whether militarily or to put pressure on them?

- His Excellency the President: First, we believe in the Presidential Leadership Council and our allies in supporting legitimacy that peace is a Yemeni interest and also an interest for the entire region, because wars always only produce more suffering for people, and our main goal in the Council is to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, improve their living conditions, and enhance Security and stability. Because this is the only way we should work for it. Therefore, our concern for peace is what could have been a major axis in our relationship with this issue. We agreed to all the initiatives that were presented, the last of which was the truce and then the road map.

Regarding the truce, there were a number of elements on which the first truce was based, which was the opening of Sanaa airport to two destinations as a first stage. We commended this step and thanked the brothers in Saudi Arabia for this work because it serves the Yemenis in the areas controlled by the militias. We are keen for our people in the militia areas to be in a better situation, because they live under the violence and terrorism of the militias. Opening the port of Hodeidah, unfortunately, the port of Hodeidah was not closed, but it was closed for some materials such as oil derivatives, and of course the ceasefire before that and the opening of the besieged roads of Taiz. We committed to these elements, in fact, in the Presidential Leadership Council and the coalition supported us led by Saudi Arabia, but unfortunately the fourth element related to the Houthi commitment to opening the roads of Taiz has not been adhered to until this moment. Despite this, we continued with this truce.

The Houthis attacked the oil installations in Al-Dhaba in October 2022, six months after the formation of the Council. The goal was to disrupt the leadership council and the government and to get us lose resources because the Houthis felt that we were starting to rebuild state institutions in Aden and this is what they fear. Stability has begun in Aden in the liberated provinces. This matter disturbed him and his Iranian supporters. Thus they attacked the derivatives, and we lost 70 % of the resources. Had it not been for the support of our brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, mainly in supporting the budget, we would have been unable to pay the salaries of employees, retirees, the wounded, martyrs, and others. Therefore we consider it a fragile truce that the Houthis violate every day, and the evidence is that today, they are attacking fronts everywhere.

- Al-Hadath Channel: You previously said that your Council is a peace council and not a war. Is this actually possible with the presence of the Houthis who are targeting your forces on several fronts, the last of which was in Lahj in the north? Is this possible for it to only be a peace council? Will peace be fruitful with a party like the Houthi militia if it does not adhere to any truce or agreement and the attacks continue?

- His Excellency, the President: We are starting from the main principle that peace is a Yemeni interest, and peace is not an interest for the militias or the supporting Iranian regime, because there are two projects in the region. The first project is a security, stability and development project in the region led by the Kingdom, the Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf states and Morocco. The other is a project of destruction and chaos issued and supported by Iran. The evidence is clear in the region from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon to Yemen. Therefore we believe that the Houthi militias are not a permanent peace project. Peace will be achieved only by restoring the state, and restoring the state will not come unless we are able to restore this state with a strong army and strong capabilities that can actually bring the Houthi militias to the negotiating table.

- Al-Hadath Channel: Does this strong army today have the capabilities in light of what was recently talked about and what was revealed about the Houthi’s military arsenal and missile weapons? Is today this growth and greatness for the Houthis in terms of military capability in a state of parallel with the Yemeni army? Actually, is there any ability if we talk and go to this suggestion in a military confrontation? Is this possible?

- His Excellency, the President: Today, the Houthis are attacking all fronts, but they have not been victorious and have not achieved any victory on any fronts. They are sacrificing many of our sons who were deceived in the areas under its control. They are killed and wounded in the hundreds, tens, and thousands. Therefore, the National Army and all the military components are capable of confronting these militias and achieving victory. As for the drones and missiles that the Houthis possess because of the Iranian support they received, we are able, God willing, to confront him. The army and military components are able to achieve victory and bring the Houthis to the peace table.

- Al-Hadath Channel: Returning to talking about peace in the endeavors corner, how do you actually evaluate the efforts made by Saudi Arabia on the peace path?

- His Excellency, the President: We appreciate these efforts and dealt with them positively. My brothers in the Leadership Council, the government and I agreed to the road map despite our conviction that all the agreements we signed with the Houthis during their long history were not adhered to at all. The most recent of which was the Stockholm Agreement, the Truce Agreement and other agreements. We have raised the slogan of “a hand builds, provides development and services to people, builds peace, and deals with peace initiatives, and a hand carries weapons”. If the Houthis do not come to the negotiating table and we were unable to achieve peace for the Yemeni people and restore the state in accordance with the terms of reference agreed upon nationally, regionally and internationally; we are ready for any options that bring the Houthis to the negotiating table.

- Al-Hadath Channel: Regarding the repercussions of the Houthi attacks today, do you feel that there are any signs of the Houthi desire to go to peace by reducing this escalation, especially in light of the statements we were briefed by Lenderking on the fact that peace today is far away in light of these strikes and attacks carried out by the Houthis in the Red Sea?

- His Excellency the President: I believe that Al-Houthi implemented Iran’s instructions first. In short, he implemented the instructions of the Iranian regime regarding the Gaza play. They are the same roles from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon to Yemen to the demonstrations that are taking place on the Jordanian border by the Popular Mobilization Forces and the daily attacks that are carried out against the brotherly Jordanian people by the militias in Syria. I believe that this play is being managed from one operations room, which is a room affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the Quds Force. You realize and know, and the whole world knows that the Revolutionary Guard announced that October 7 was a response to the killing of Soleimani. This is how they declared, and Khamenei refused and said that he is against stopping fire in Gaza, which means he wants to destroy the Palestinian people and occupy Gaza by Israel.

Therefore, I believe that the Houthis played this role within the framework of the play drawn by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard that has nothing to do with Gaza, but they took advantage of the suffering of our brothers in Gaza and the barbaric Israeli attacks carried out against the Palestinian people.

Our position in support of the Palestinian cause is clear, and demonstrations take place every day in the liberated governorates in solidarity with Gaza.

But I want to add a point that it also achieves two goals for the Houthis. The first goal is to implement Iran’s agenda in the region, the second goal is to escape from the peace process, and the third goal for the militias is also the slogan that is the “Khomeini cry”. He wants to tell those who are deceived, whether at home or abroad, that today he is fighting America and Israel. Israel was not harmed by this, what was harmed is the Yemeni people whose food prices have risen five and six times.

- Al-Hadath Channel: The Egyptian people have been harmed and international maritime trade has been harmed.

- His Excellency, the President: But the Yemeni people are the first and most affected because today the insurance on Yemeni ports has risen five and six times and shipping has risen eight times. Therefore, the Yemeni people are paying today the price of this conspiracy that Iran is planning and implemented by the Houthi militias.

Al-Hadath Channel: You mentioned that the Houthis have no desire for peace and this is what Iran wants. If we go with this hypothesis and a simple approach, Iran gives them weapons and Iran wants them to continue these escalatory operations and also does not want stability in Yemen. If Iran is really the decision-maker, does the Hourhi actually, possess decision? I mean, if you want to go for peace, are we supposed to negotiate with the Houthis or with Iran? which is the decision maker? Is there a horizon for a meeting with the Iranian side to perhaps obtain this desired peace for the Yemeni people? Also, what peace does Iran want in Yemen? How? What does it look like?

- His Excellency the President: I believe the negotiating is with Iran. We are counting on the Saudi-Iranian agreement sponsored by China, and we believe that if this agreement does not produce results for the benefit of the region, should we engage in negotiations with Iran? If the Kingdom had signed an agreement with Iran under Chinese sponsorship and this agreement was not reflected on the situation in Yemen and has not been reflected in peace in Yemen. What is the benefit if we open a negotiation with Iran?

Al-Hadath Channel: But some may say that the initiative is necessary, why not? I mean if Al-Houthi has no decision, you may delve into your experience away from the Saudi experience, why not?

- His Excellency, the President: We have no objection to opening a dialogue with all parties if it will actually serve the peace process, but today we want Iran to implement its words to actions. We want only one action. I believe that for us in Yemen, it is very important to wait for the results of the Saudi agreement with Iran and what are its repercussions on Yemen. This could push us to open any dialogue with Iran to achieve peace and restore stability in Yemen.

- Al-Hadath Channel: Is it possible that there is a path that is not directly to Iran, but to other international parties that can exert pressure on Iran?

- His Excellency the President: We did that, when I met the Chinese President in Riyadh at the Arab-Chinese Summit. I requested a meeting with the Chinese President. This was the first request before the Saudi-Iranian agreement. I asked the Chinese President and told him, “Your Excellency, you have a distinguished relationship with Iran and you have a history of support for the Yemeni people over the past sixty years. Therefore we look forward to your role in pressuring Iran to stop interfering in our internal affairs”. This is only an example of the messages that we sent through our friends, as well as friends who have a strong relationship with Iran.

- Al-Hadath Channel: The Legitimate Government demands for support, in perhaps regaining control in areas used by militias in Red Sea attacks, are always repeated, but we have not heard echoes in response to these demands. What is the explanation for this, from your point of view?

- His Excellency the President: We believe that the international community still considers Yemen under Chapter VII, and therefore they have reservations about providing us with military capabilities.

Al Hadath Channel: Isn’t the scene different today?

- His Excellency the President: The scene today is different in one thing, which is Security Council Resolution 2722. We considered it a very strong beginning to support the legitimate government with a new approach other than the previous approach, which included pressure on the legitimate government and leniency with the Houthis during the previous period. They always used to put pressure on the government and the coalition in order to keep Al-Houthi to continue. There was a change after the attacks launched by the Houthis on the Red Sea, and this change began in Security Council Resolution 2722, which first stipulated an affirmation of Resolution 2216, and this resolution was issued in 2015. This Resolution is considered a road map for resolving the Yemeni issue, so this resolution was affirmed unanimously by the Security Council. The resolution also stipulated calling on countries to support the Yemeni Coast Guard. We considered this a positive step in the right path. Now there are delegations, meetings, and talks with some European countries, with America and Britain to support the Coast Guard in this field. We consider it a first step for further support for military capabilities.

Al-Hadath Channel: Today you talked about the United States and the Security Council and what you want today when Washington may have tried on the diplomatic track to communicate with the Houthis to stop these attacks. But it did not succeed, and at the same time you come back and say that the Houthis are designated on the terrorist lists as a terrorist organization. Is there a great irony that we negotiate or we are trying or engaging in dialogue with an organization that we call terrorist. How do you explain that?

- His Excellency the President: Firstly, it is not the first time that the Americans have announced something and they have dealt under the table in different ways. It is not the first time, I mean, they have dealt with the Taliban and terrorist organizations. This is a strategic issue for the Americans. They are more informed about their strategy, but with regard to the Houthis, I was at the Munich Security Conference and there was a very frank talk about this. The issue is that America and the Western society in general were pressuring us in the Legitimate Government and the Coalition Supporting the Legitimacy that there must be a political approach with the Houthis. There must be a political solution with the Houthis. Today, the Western society, after the attacks, tried to make a political approach with the Houthis, but failed in this approach and resorted to a military solution. Thus they came back to what we have been always telling them that the Houthis will not come to dialogue, to negotiations, to peace, except with a military defeat, except with the elimination of his military capabilities. Today, they have reached the same approach that we were emphasizing, the approach which they had rejected before. This is what we should build on, whether at the level of Legitimate Government, the Coalition, or the International Community. It is very important to build on this result which the international community has reached, in order to restore stability and peace in Yemen.

- Al-Hadath Channel: pAre there steps that you have taken in this particular period, especially in light of those who say that there is a kind of absence for your part, so to speak, as your positions in light of the escalation and exchange of attacks and between London, Washington and the Houthis?

- His Excellency the President: In fact, we are not absent, but the United States of America asked us to be part of the Prosperity Guardians from the first day. But we apologized and said, first, that the alliance to protect the Red Sea should be entrusted to the countries overlooking the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. The second point is that we do not want to enter as decoration, to embellish the Alliance or to give a sense of legitimacy. We want support for the capabilities of the Yemeni army and the Yemeni military institution to play its role in protecting Yemeni sovereignty and Yemeni territorial waters. We need to support our military capabilities in order to regain the areas under the control of the militias because the danger comes from the ground today, the missiles and drones. It starts from the land under the control of the Houthi militias, thus securing the Red Sea and stopping this threat comes through the legitimate government’s control over the areas under the control of the Houthi militias. This is what we proposed.

Al-Hadath Channel: Why is this proposal not receiving the desired response? It seems that the United States and even Britain have realized that these strikes from the sea did not provide even the desired hour. Perhaps they need a land operation, the purpose of which may be to effectively end the Houthi capabilities,  you requested. Why did not they support this field when it now realized that everything they are doing will be of no use if they continue in this form and rhythm?

His Excellency the President: We are still making ongoing attempts at this dialogue with Western society, and we hope that they will respond.

Al-Hadath Channel: Are there any signs or responses, even if they are tentatively optimistic?

- His Excellency the President: Unfortunately, up to this moment, no

But the fact that they have begun to strengthen the Coast Guard and support it with naval capabilities, we consider it a positive step that can be followed by other steps.

- Al-Hadath Channel: There is information, if we also talk about what the Houthis are doing in terms of mobilizing in Marib, and these mobilizing came with the aim of targeting the oil and gas areas in Marib and Shabwa. Is it actually expected that the Houthis will take such a step? And if so this is expected for you? Are there preparations or steps you have taken to confront if the Houthis want to go down this path?

- His Excellency the President: We expect everything from these militias because they have no limits to any action they carry out. The evidence for this is that two weeks ago they blew up houses in Radaa on the heads of their occupants, women and children. Therefore we expect them to do anything in Marib, Taiz, Al-Dhalea, in Karish or in Shabwa or anywhere. But we are in a state of complete readiness for any emergency or any attacks, this is first. Secondly, I assure you that the Yemeni army and all military formations are in a state of maximum readiness, and during the two years we have retrained, rehabilitated and prepared the military units in all regions and in every fronts. We have equipment, good ground capabilities and we have faith and belief among our fighters. The evidence of that, as you realize or follow this file constantly, is that there are multiple attacks carried out by the Houthis on all fronts and in all regions, even sniping for children and women in Taiz. We had women and children were killed past week by snipers. Yet the people are steadfast, the armed forces are in a state of readiness, and all the military formations are ready. Therefore, we believe that victory will come, God willing, the Almighty. On this occasion, we seek mercy on our martyrs in these blessed nights, we wish recovery for the wounded who fell for the sake of the republican regime and confronted the terrorist militias.

- Al-Hadath Channel: It is known that the smuggling of weapons to the Houthis takes place through several paths, not one path and one point, including ports under the authority of the government, and also by land through several areas under the control of the government. One might ask: How does this process take place when they are areas that actually belong to you, and why are there no units? A security military specialized in combating weapons smuggling, specifically to the Houthis?

- His Excellency the President: First, smuggling is an eternal problem in the whole world, not just Yemen. There are many major countries that have capabilities, stability, remote sensing, and cameras, and thus face a problem in combating smuggling. But I assure you that not a week goes without the seizure of large quantities of weapons and equipment which go to the Houthis on a weekly basis. As we review the information from the land ports in particular, we will find that there are large quantities of equipment, weapons, and communications devices that are constantly seized.

Secondly, we have a long beach that extends to 2,400 kilometers, and this beach needs dozens of brigades and needs equipment, cameras, devices, and radars, all of which were destroyed. Despite this, we play an unusual role for example, we now have four brigades of the Giants (Al Amalikah) led by Commander Hamdi Shukri, one of the Giants’ leaders, who cleared more than a hundred fifty or one hundred and eighty kilometers from Ras al-Ara to Bab al-Mandab. This area was a large smuggling area for all kinds of contraband. Today this area was controlled and cleared, but we needed four brigades, I mean instead of taking them to battle, we distributed them on this beach due to the importance of the mission, and they achieved very great achievements and arrested smuggling gangs. Their numbers are enormous because people are in a state of poverty and hunger. Investment has stopped and livelihood has stopped, but we were able to stop smuggling in these areas as well. In Taiz and in Mocha there are also efforts being made in this aspect. There are very large efforts in Al-Mahra and they are seized daily at the ports and on the coasts there in Hadhramaut, and all regions. We play this role and this work, whether the armed forces or the security services.

Al-Hadath Channel: Does this apply to the oil export ports that were attacked by the Houthis, which were deprived, according to reliable numbers, of about 75 % of the total national income to pay employee salaries? Are you actually carrying out such tasks to protect oil installations and perhaps resume exports?

His Excellency the President: Frankly, since the Houthis attacked this port, we have tried to re-export oil by all means, but unfortunately we have not been able to, for reasons related to air defenses. To be frank with you and so that the people know, we need very advanced air defenses, and these advanced air defenses, unfortunately, we have not been able to obtain. Despite that, we are still in efforts to restore oil exports, and these efforts, God willing, will be resulted with success.

- Al-Hadath Channel: There is a description of the economic and humanitarian situation that it is very deteriorating in this period for the Yemeni people. Also, some observers say that there are imports in the Governorates affiliated with the legitimacy. If they are actually transferred to your central bank, they are sufficient and the Yemeni people do not need any foreign aid. In fact, are all Imports to all these governorates are transferred to the Central Bank?

- His Excellency the President: First, the internal resources are related to taxes and customs, there is nothing else. Because manufacturing has stopped due to the war, and there are only two cement factories and some factories in Hadhramaut. The factories in Taiz are in the area under the control of the Houthis, so the taxes and customs that we obtain constitute 30% of the inevitable expenses and 70% were covered by oil before the formation of the Presidential Leadership Council, at the first months.

Today, we are trying to work on developing local resources that are related to taxes, customs, etc. There is corruption that we must acknowledge. The reason for this corruption is, firstly, the collapse of central state institutions, which caused poor performance, and the second reason is the living conditions even for employees. Today the highest salary an employee can receive at the port or Taxes are 150 thousand riyals, which equals100$. Therefore, today the employee receives one hundred dollars a month in light of the high prices and the high cost of living. Here, there must be a balance between the employee’s salary and his daily life requirements.

We have now appointed a new Prime Minister, Dr. Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, and he is now working with a team of economists, ministers, and the Economic Committee affiliated with the Presidential Leadership Council for a rescue project that we call economic rescue, priorities, or program. There is currently a plan being prepared that will be the approved plan for this economic work related to every fields including resources development.

We tried in the capital, Aden, to digitize revenue-generating institutions. It started in the Khor Maksar District. There was a distinguished man and a seasoned administrator in the district. He sought the help of specialists in the field of technology and communications and created a system to link the district with the centers affiliated with the district in taxes and other revenues. Note that the percentage of resources increased by digitization is about 400%. The Governor, Minister of State, Governor of Aden, adopted the idea and circulated it to all the directorates. Today, resources in Aden have increased by perhaps 4000%, meaning that instead of what was four hundred million, it has become four billion.

We have circulated this experience to the governors. I held a meeting with the governors of the governorates and the government, and among the decisions was how to circulate this digital experience. We should circulate it to the governorates so that we block the corruption that exists in the issue of revenue collection.

- Al-Hadath Channel: My last question: What distance do you find today to reach peace in light of what this country is witnessing and also in light of the Houthi escalation that is actually still continuing despite all international efforts to stop it?

His Excellency the President: I believe that the distance will be decided by the national army and the military formations. This is the distance that must be covered by our brothers who are steadfast today on the fronts in all locations facing the militias supported by the Iranian regime. 

As for us on the political level, we still believe in peace and we still value the efforts of the brothers on the front, Saudi and the efforts of the United Nations, regarding the peace process. We still believe in the peace process because we absolutely believe that peace is in the interest of all Yemenis, and if the Houthis want to go on the path of war, the armed forces, military formations, and the Yemeni people are ready for this battle.

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