Sanaa – The Yemeni government has blamed the Houthi group for failing to operate the first commercial flight from Sanaa International Airport after it was accused of trying to smuggle dozens of its leaders, leaders and experts of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Lebanese Hezbollah, by name. fake and forged documents.
On Sunday morning, the capital’s airport was scheduled to receive its first commercial aircraft since 2016, raising hopes that a current ceasefire in Yemen would lead to lasting peace in the war-torn country.
The plane, operated by Yemen, was to transport passengers over the age of forty in need of medical treatment from Sanaa to the Jordanian capital, Amman, as part of a two-month ceasefire that took effect in early April. .
In a statement released by the official Yemeni news agency Saba, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Muammar al-Eryani blamed “Iran’s Houthi terrorist militia” entirely responsible for the failure of the first commercial flight between Sanaa International “The airport and the Jordanian capital, Amman.”
He explained that “the flight that was scheduled to depart on Sunday was disrupted due to the failure of the Houthi terrorist militia to abide by the agreement, which provides for the approval of passports issued by the legitimate government.”
He added, “The Houthi terrorist militia is trying to force 60 passengers on board the flight with unreliable passports issued by it, to take advantage of flights during the two months of the ceasefire to smuggle dozens of its leaders, executives and experts. “Iranian revolutionaries and Lebanese Hezbollah, with false names and forged documents.”
He called on the international community, the United Nations and the UN envoy to put pressure on the Houthi militia to stop manipulating this humanitarian dossier and to take citizens in its control zones as hostages to reap profits. regardless of their conditions and aggravating the suffering, emphasizing the urgent departure of the flight in compliance with the conditions of the declaration of a ceasefire under the auspices of the United Nations.
On the other hand, Raed Jabal, undersecretary of the Houthis-controlled Civil Aviation and Meteorological Authority, said that “coalition countries refused to grant Yemen Airlines permission to reduce the flight that was scheduled to arrive at Sana’a International Airport. . Sunday.”
He added, in a statement published by Houthis’ Saba news agency, that “coalition countries waive their obligations”, considering it “a violation of the ceasefire declared by the UN envoy to Yemen. “
And on Saturday evening, Yemen Airways announced that its first flights could not depart from Sanaa International Airport, on schedule, due to failure to obtain “operating permits” from the Saudi-led military coalition.
Hours before the flight, the airlines said on their Facebook page that they “felt sorry for the delay in arriving permits to complete their flight from Sana’a International Airport”, adding that they had not received “until now” operating permits “.
The airlines expressed “their deep regret for the passengers who were not allowed to operate” the flight, hoping that “all problems will be overcome soon and the company will be allowed to resume its flights from Sanaa”.
A manager at the company stated that “the permission requested by the coalition has not been obtained”. There has been no immediate reaction from the military coalition supporting the government in confronting the Houthis and has controlled Yemeni airspace since the start of its operations in Yemen in 2015.
And on Wednesday, the Yemeni government and the Houthi group announced, in two separate statements, the launch of the first commercial flights from Sanaa airport on April 24.
In early April, UN envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg announced that the parties to the conflict had agreed on a two-month extension of the ceasefire, which began the next day, with an earlier welcome from the Arab coalition. led by Saudi Arabia. , government forces and Houthis loyal to Iran.
Among the most prominent provisions of the ceasefire is the resumption of commercial flights through Sanaa Airport, with two flights a week, one to Egypt and the other to Jordan.
The war in Yemen since 2014, between rebels and the government, has caused the deaths of more than 377,000 people directly or indirectly, according to the United Nations, meaning they died either in bombings and fighting, or as an indirect result. the consequences of war like hunger, disease and lack of drinking water.
As Yemen experiences the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, millions of its inhabitants are on the brink of starvation, while thousands, including many residents of rebel-held areas, need urgent medical treatment that is not available in the country, infrastructure of which has been destroyed.
The rebels control the capital, Sanaa, and large areas in northern and western Yemen, including vital ports overlooking the Red Sea.
Shortly after the closure of the international airport in 2016, the pro-government coalition said in response to a question about preventing the use of the airport by civilian aircraft, that this was intended to guarantee the “safety” of Yemeni Airlines aircraft. and “make sure the planes do not smuggle weapons of war.”
The coalition accuses Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah of smuggling weapons to rebels and sending operatives to Yemen to train them to use drones and ballistic missiles against the government and Saudi Arabia, as well as the United Arab Emirates, a member of the coalition.
The Norwegian Refugee Council said last year that the closure of Sanaa airport “caused billions in economic losses, which worsened the humanitarian situation,” adding, “Yemenis were deprived of their right to travel abroad for medical care, to engage in business, work or study. ” or family visit.
About 80 percent of Yemen’s 30 million people depend on aid to survive.