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Yemen calls on UAE to stop destroying Socotra Island

January 16, 2018 at 1:59 pm

The Yemeni island of Socotra, 24 May 2018 [Rod Waddington/Flickr]

Yemen’s Ministry of Tourism has called on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to stop destroying the Island of Socotra today, SABA reported.

An official complaint was sent to the United Nation’s Security Council to accelerate a resolution to prevent the “occupying forces” from spoiling the natural resources on the island.

“In an unprecedented event the UAE has called [on] the people of the island to vote on a referendum of self-determination to join them, and this is the most dangerous step”, the Ministry of Tourism said.

The UAE entered Yemen in 2015 as part of the Saudi-led coalition to assist the Yemeni government with threats posed by the Iranian-backed Houthi group currently controlling the capital Sana’a. Last year the UAE began supporting Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council (STC) which calls for secession from northern Yemen. Internationally recognised President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi called out the UAE as an “occupier” and not a “liberator” last year.

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Locals living in Al-Mahrah governorate, a territory bordering Oman have voiced concerns over a Saudi-contingent force entering its territory late last year. Tensions erupted as Saudi Arabia’s forces demanded the control over Al-Mahrah’s airport and ports. The Al-Mahrah military forces denied access until the Al-Mahrah security committee and tribal leaders were required to step in and mediate the tension.

In early January Saudi Arabia deployed additional forces to increase its presence in Al-Mahrah governorate.

Last year in October the General Council of Mahra and Socotra rejected a call to merge or form a UAE-backed military force in the southern governorates.

Socotra is an archipelago of four islands which is part of Yemen and a subdivision of the Aden governorate.