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Yemen government slams UAE troop dispatch on Socotra island

UAE soldiers seen during a training excercise with US troops [Thomas Mudd/Marines.mil]
UAE soldiers seen during a training excercise [Thomas Mudd/Marines.mil, File photo]

The Yemeni government on Sunday decried the deployment of Emirati troops on the strategic island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea.

In a statement cited by the official Saba news agency, the government said the difference between it and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) “revolves around national sovereignty and absence of a strong level of mutual coordination”.

Tension has mounted between Yemen and the UAE since last week, when the latter dispatched a military force to the island.

The deployment was reportedly carried out without prior coordination with the Yemeni government.

Last week, Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr visited Socotra with a view to reasserting Yemen’s sovereignty over the island.

The Yemeni government said the UAE force had seized control of the Socotra airport and port once they were deployed, in a move that the government described as “unjustified”.

Read: UAE prevents Yemen Prime Minister from leaving island

In March, activists submitted a report to Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in which they accused the UAE of seeking to take control of Socotra and its resources.

On Friday, a Saudi delegation arrived to the island in an apparent bid to mediate the dispute.

In 2014, President Hadi dismissed the governor of Aden, Aidarus al-Zoubaidi, over the latter’s alleged links with the UAE.

The UAE is a member of a Saudi-led coalition that has launched a massive air campaign in 2015 against the Shia Houthi group, which overran much of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, a year earlier.

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