The Defence Minister of the recently formed internationally-recognised Yemeni government, Mohammed Al-Maqdashi, has expressed his hopes for Yemen strengthening its military and security relations with the US, in particular in its fight against terrorism and building up its military forces.
Al-Maqdashi made the remarks during meetings held yesterday with the deputy chief for the mission of the US embassy in Yemen, Catherine Westley,and the military attache at the embassy. According to the state Saba news agency, the minister praised US support to the Yemeni government in its Saudi-supported efforts to overthrow the Houthi-led de-facto government based in the capital Sanaa.
Following the fulfilment of last year's Riyadh Agreement, between the Saudi-based Yemeni government under President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and the UAE-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC), the formation of a new unity government was sworn in during a ceremony in the Saudi capital on Saturday.
Al-Maqdashi, along with Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, retained their positions in the 24-member cabinet consisting of equal representation from Yemen's northern and southern provinces.
There have been several assassination attempts made on Al-Maqdashi's life, the most recent reported incident was in May this year involving a ballistic missile strike on the Marib province, which is the final strong-hold of Saudi-backed forces in the north.
In October, a Yemeni criminal court in the northen Houthi-heartland province of Saada issued death sentences against ten defendants over their roles in an infamous Saudi-led coalition air strike on a school bus which claimed the lives of 51 and injured 79 in 2018. Al-Maqdashi was among those sentenced which included US President Donald Trump, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and President Hadi.
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Today as members of the new government arrived by plane from Saudi to the interim capital of Aden, which until recently had been under the control of the STC since last August, an explosion at the city's airport killed at least 20 and wounded 60. An initial first explosion was caught live on air by Al-Hadath TV, which depicted plumes of smoke billowing out of the terminal as officials were disembarking from the plane.There were no reported casualties from among the government officials.