The Minister of Transport in Yemen’s Houthi-led government, Zakaria Al-Shami, has claimed that Israel is looting natural resources belonging to the strategic island of Socotra, and has been enabled by the UAE.
“The Zionist regime, under the cover of the UAE, is operating in Socotra, looting and plundering its natural resources, and taking advantage of its geographical location, crude oil as well as medical and tourism capacities besides its other riches,” he said during a meeting in the capital Sanaa on Saturday.
Al-Shami also called for more protection of the archipelago which has been recognised as a UNESCO Heritage Site since 2008 and known for its rich and unique biodiversity.
Last year UAE-backed separatists affiliated with the Southern Transitional Council (STC) seized control of the island in what the internationally-recognised Yemeni government viewed as a coup.
Following the normalisation between Israel and the UAE last August, it was reported that both countries were working to establish a spy base on Socotra with the purpose of gathering intelligence across the region, especially from Bab El-Mandeb and the Gulf of Aden.
Despite developments related to the power-sharing Riyadh Agreement on the southern mainland between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and the STC, the UAE is still setting up military bases on Socotra