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Yemeni parties demand UAE withdrawal from Socotra

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SANA’A, 09 May 2018 [Fik/News Sources]: Political parties in Yemen called on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Tuesday to withdraw “immediately” from Socotra, an island located off Yemen’s southeastern coast.

Several political parties -- including the General People’s Congress, the Reform Party, the Peaceful Southern Movement, and five other parties – issued the joint statement.

In the statement, the parties urged the UAE to withdraw “immediately” from the island, adding that it took a step that is unilateral and conflicting with Arab coalition goals according to international norms and laws.

It also called on Saudi Arabia, which leads the coalition aimed at rolling back rebel Houthi gains in Yemen, to “increase communication to put pressure on the UAE to withdraw from the island unconditionally”.

Tensions have mounted between Yemen and the UAE since last week, when the latter sent a military force to Socotra without prior coordination with the Yemeni government, which since 2015 has been based in the coastal city of Aden.

Last week, Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr visited Socotra with a view to reasserting Yemen’s sovereignty over the island.

The Yemeni government said the UAE force had seized control of the Socotra airport and port once they were deployed, in a move that the government described as “unjustified”.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies -- who accuse the Houthis of serving as an Iranian proxy -- launched a massive military campaign against the rebels.

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