Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni human rights activist, has accused the UN-recognised Yemeni government of exiled President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi of being a tool which legitimises the Saudi occupation of the country. She made her remarks during a speech at a conference held in Istanbul over the weekend, entitled "Post-war Yemen… A forward-looking Vision".
Blaming all sides for the conflict in Yemen, Karman mentioned the Houthi-led authorities in the capital Sanaa, the UAE-backed de-facto separatists in the southern port city of Aden along with Saudi and Emirati patronage over Yemen.
"Any peace endeavour that does not take this into consideration is nothing but efforts to subjugate Yemenis to the status quo dictated by the Houthi brutal coup and the Saudi-Emirati occupiers alike," she stressed in reference to the need for laying down arms as part of the political process.
Karman in particular deemed the Riyadh-based government of Hadi as being complicit in the foreign occupation of Yemen. "There is a power vacuum, the decisions written by the Saudi ambassador, the signature of Hadi and his prime minister do not represent us, nor the legitimacy," she said.
Hadi, who has previously been placed under house arrest in Saudi, was described by Karman as being "incapacitated and detained, which makes him unqualified, and makes his decisions non-binding to Yemenis as long as he is incapacitated and restricted in freedom. He cannot even say no to the Saudi ambassador."
Sanaa Post reported that Karman added that Hadi and his officials are "satisfied to be mere tools in this war, agents, not leaders; followers, not equal partners."
"Since the beginning of the coalition's war, all these components, including the Islah Party, are only tools in the hands of Saudi Arabia, just like the STC, Tariq's [Saleh] troops and the Elite Forces," she said.
According to Karman, the Saudi-led coalition has been "destroying Yemen, seeking to dismantle it and dividing it into weak states dependent on Saudi Arabia and the UAE."
Should this political dependence continue, Karman argued, a "field command" should be established and tasked with liberating Yemen from militias and foreign guardianship and occupation alike, in order to preserve Yemen's territorial integrity and independence.
In October last year, Karman said Yemen had almost succeeded in expelling "Emirati occupation" and that it remains determined to do the same with Saudi Arabia.