America is “closely following the situation on the island of Socotra” and has called for “de-escalation and dialogue” after the Yemeni government called on the UAE to leave the island and stop expanding its military basis there.
“Political dialogue is necessary for the Republic of Yemen Government to rightfully ensure the safety and security of its residents on Socotra and throughout the rest of the country,” a press release by the Department of State said yesterday.
Yesterday, the Yemeni Ambassador to the United Nations, Khalid Al-Yamani, said his government has exclusive sovereignty over the country’s land and this cannot be divided. He went on to tell the UAE to leave Socotra or risk escalating tensions in the region.
In response, the US has said:
The Yemeni people, along with their unique cultural and natural heritage, have already suffered immeasurably as a result of the ongoing conflict in Yemen. Yemen cannot afford further divisions.
“The United States calls on all parties to the conflict to focus on and embrace the UN-led political process, with the unified aim of a safe, secure, and prosperous Yemen.”
Impoverished Yemen has remained in a state of civil war since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sana’a.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen’s embattled government.
The UAE joined the Saudi-led coalition, however it has since appeared clear that its objectives in Yemen differ from those outlined by the coalition and it has since backed the formation of the Yemen Transitional Council which stands in opposition to Hadi’s rule, it has also called for the separation of northern Yemen from the south.
The Emirates has built a military base on Socotra Island which many believe is further proof of its plans to dominate the important shipping route through the Red Sea.
According to UN officials, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the war, while more than 11 per cent of the country’s population has been displaced.