The way the British ambassador justifies his country's celebration of the Houthis ' unilateral steps in the ports of Hodeidah

The way the British ambassador justifies his country's celebration of the Houthis ' unilateral steps in the ports of Hodeidah

British Ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron stressed that the unilateral withdrawal of the Iran-backed Houthi militias from the ports of Hodeidah will put an end to arms smuggling and cut off the financing of their war effort.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that after the pullout, the United Nations and Red Sea port authority, which is affiliated to the legitimate government, will assume control of the management of the ports.

All the customs revenues will go into the Central Bank in Hodeidah once the port authority assumes control, added Aron. The revenues will go into paying the salaries of employees in Hodeidah and other provinces.

Smuggling operations will no longer be possible with the UN at the ports, Aron remarked.

He stressed that it was important for all of these measures to be fully implemented, revealing that a meeting will be held with the UN in Amman this week to follow up on the issue.

The UN announced last week that the Houthis have started to withdraw from the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Issa. Local forces and UN monitors will deploy at the ports after the pullout.

Aron had come under fierce criticism over a tweet in which he rejected skeptical stances about the withdrawal, acknowledging that the Houthis may very well fail to implement their pledges.

Apologizing for his tweets, he added that he wanted people to wait and see whether the operation was a success before jumping to conclusions.

Explaining London’s stances on Yemen, he stressed that it recognizes the legitimate government and helps its goals and the goals of the Arab coalition.

Britain’s stance towards the legitimacy cannot be doubted, but it also wants to achieve peace and progress and help the efforts of the UN, Aron went on to say.

People are wrong in believing that he supports the Houthis, he added, saying that Britain seeks peace and stability for Yemen and its people.

According to the UN, the Houthis began to withdraw from the ports on Saturday in line with the Stockholm agreement that was reached with government representatives in December.

The pullback is considered a first step in implementing a hard-won truce agreement.

The move was met with skepticism from the legitimate government, which accused the Houthis of deception.

Government officials cast doubts over the handover process, saying it was unclear who was taking control of the ports.

The information minister accused the militias of faking the pullout.

"What the Houthi militia did is a repeated theatrical play of handing over control of the port to its own forces (in different uniforms)," Moammer al-Eryani tweeted on Sunday.


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