Yemeni separatists quit some Aden posts; Houthis attack Saudi oil plant

By Mohammed Mukhashef and Maher Chmaytelli ADEN/DUBAI (Reuters) - Southern Yemeni separatists withdrew on Saturday from some government buildings in Aden that they seized last week but held on to military camps that give them control over the southern port, interim seat of Yemen's ousted Saudi-backed government. The separatists' takeover of Aden has strained a Saudi-led military coalition formed to confront the Iranian-aligned Houthis, who bombed a Saudi oil facility on Saturday

Reuters August 18, 2019 00:10:26 IST
Yemeni separatists quit some Aden posts; Houthis attack Saudi oil plant

Yemeni separatists quit some Aden posts Houthis attack Saudi oil plant

By Mohammed Mukhashef and Maher Chmaytelli

ADEN/DUBAI (Reuters) - Southern Yemeni separatists withdrew on Saturday from some government buildings in Aden that they seized last week but held on to military camps that give them control over the southern port, interim seat of Yemen's ousted Saudi-backed government.

The separatists' takeover of Aden has strained a Saudi-led military coalition formed to confront the Iranian-aligned Houthis, who bombed a Saudi oil facility on Saturday.

A Houthi military spokesman said 10 drones launched towards oil installations at Shaybah in eastern Saudi Arabia constituted the "biggest attack in the depths" of the kingdom.

The state oil company Saudi Aramco said the attack had caused a "limited fire" at a gas plant which had been contained and had not affected production. Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih condemned the strike as "cowardly" sabotage.

The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and its Shi'ite regional rival, Iran.

The Western-backed Sunni Muslim coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognised government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis ousted him from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014.

The United Nations has been trying to implement a stalled peace deal in the port city of Hodeidah and pave the way for political talks to end the war, which has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi said that events in Aden showed the coalition was in crisis and that Hadi was powerless.

"Those who supported the aggressors... have no authority or freedom, but are subservient to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates," the group's Al Masirah TV quoted him as saying.

He said the strike on Saudi oil assets near the border with the United Arab Emirates was also a warning to the UAE, which has scaled down its military presence in the coalition but continued to funds and arm the southern separatists.

Al Masirah reported that the Houthis had appointed an ambassador to Iran.

PARTIAL WITHDRAWAL

Coalition warplanes fired flares over Aden at dawn near camps occupied by separatist fighters after the alliance renewed a call for them to quit government sites and for all forces in the south to focus on fighting the Houthis.

The separatists are a main component in the anti-Houthi alliance, but the war has rekindled old strains between north and south Yemen - which were separate countries until 1990.

Southern Transitional Council (STC) sources told Reuters their forces, which had pulled back from the presidential palace and central bank, were vacating government institutions under the supervision of a Saudi-UAE delegation.

However, they said the forces would not quit government military camps that give them effective control of Aden.

An STC spokesman said they would not cede control unless the Islah party - a backbone of Hadi's government that is seen by the UAE as an offshoot of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood - and northerners were removed from positions of power in the south.

The Saudi-backed government's information minister said the southerners had also withdrawn from the hospital and cabinet secretariat, and were in the process of handing over the interior ministry and Aden's refinery.

The UAE has called for dialogue without directly asking the southern forces to cede control. Saudi Arabia wants to host a summit to end the crisis. Hadi's government says it will not attend before separatists reverse what it calls their coup.

(Reporting by Reuters team in Yemen, Maher Chmayteli and Rania El Gamal in Dubai; Writing by Sylvia Westall and Lisa Barrington; Editing by Gareth Jones and Angus MacSwan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.