Yemeni Nobel Peace laureate Tawakkol Karman called for an end to the Saudi-led coalition’s military occupation of Yemen in an exclusive interview with Reuters today.
“The Saudi-Emirati occupation … betrayed the Yemenis and sold them out, exploiting the coup of the Houthi militia backed by Iran on the legitimate government, to exercise an ugly occupation and greater influence”, Tawakkol Karman, Yemeni Nobel Peace Laurette said.
Karman alleged that internationally recognised President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was under “house arrest” in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh.
However, a Yemeni government official denied her claims saying: “This lady, unfortunately, no longer means what she says. President Hadi isn’t under house arrest and can travel wherever he wants … the government and the coalition are in complete coordination.”
The Saudi-led coalition says its campaign was launched at Hadi’s request and aims at restoring his rule and Yemen’s future as a unified state in line with UN resolutions.
But Karman says Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), monarchies where the state and ruling families are intertwined, seek to turn back the clock on political progress in Yemen and abroad.
They regard the Arab Spring as their first enemy and this is a strategic error they have fallen into … I call on the two countries to reconcile with the Arab Spring, not to clash with it, because the future is a future of change, and the wheel of history does not roll backward.
Earlier this week, Saudi and UAE social media launched a campaign against Karman for criticising the Saudi-led coalition’s hostilities in Yemen.
Social media users called for Karman to be prosecuted whilst others accused her of being part of the Muslim Brotherhood and carrying out a Turkish project in Yemen.
IRIN News earlier this week published its investigation on Saudi Arabia’s use of American and British public relations firms to promote its multi-dollar aid plan for Yemen, which reduces crucial imports to the Houthi controlled ports. Saudi Arabia continues to monitor every shipment to Yemen in the Red Sea.