Disputes and mutual accusations … Why could Sana’a Airport not function?

The controversy between the well-known Yemeni government and the Houthi movement over the operation of Sanaa airport, after the first commercial flight at the airport was postponed to 6 years, between the exchange of accusations between the two parties.

It was scheduled to take over the airport in the capital Sanaa last Sunday, which has been controlled by the Houthis since 2014, the first commercial aircraft under the declared ceasefire, but a dispute between the well-known Yemeni government and the Houthis over passports led to the interruption of the flight.

The government charged; The Houthis have obstructed the operation of Sanaa airport under the UN ceasefire, against the background of passports issued by the group’s areas of control, which had previously declared their invalidity as a sovereign national document to which they are entitled to have exclusively as a government.

On the same day, the Houthis responded by accusing the Saudi-led government and its supporting coalition of non-compliance with the terms of the UN ceasefire, considering what the other side presented as “misleading justifications in the context of the denial of ceasefire commitments and the alleviation of human suffering ”.

“Government proposals”

Days later, the Yemeni government submitted several proposals to resume flights from Sanaa International Airport, which is controlled by Houthis, as part of the UN ceasefire.

The Yemeni Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Muammar Al-Eryani, said that “the government, from its readiness to overcome the obstacles set by the Houthi militia before the operation of Sanaa airport in compliance with UN conditions. Ceasefire, has introduced several options to facilitate obtaining government passports for citizens in non-liberated areas ”.

Read also: Postponement of the first commercial flight from Sanaa since 2016

Among these options, according to Al-Eryani, “the establishment of a (government) passport issuance center at Sana’a Airport in coordination with the United Nations, work begins within 10 days of the agreement on it.”

He also stressed “the government’s readiness to issue passports to citizens who are required to travel from non-liberated areas within 5 days of submitting applications that meet the documents and conditions, in coordination with the UN envoy’s office (Hans Grundberg ).

“avoid and deny”

On the other hand, the group’s official spokesman, Muhammad Abd al-Salam, said via Twitter on Tuesday: “The first month of the humanitarian ceasefire has almost ended without significant progress in its most important provisions, which is the reopening of “Sana ‘an international airport.”

He blamed the coalition “fully responsible for its non-compliance, non-acceptance and evasion”, calling on “the United Nations to carry out its task in accordance with the agreement”, without elaborating.

Following the failure of the flight resumption and resumption of the airport, the United Nations expressed its concern about this step.

“I express my concern about the postponement of the first commercial flight from Sanaa airport, which was scheduled for today,” UN envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg said in a statement today.

Grundberg urged the parties to work constructively with him and his office to find a solution that would allow flights to resume as planned.

The UN envoy stressed that “the aim of the ceasefire is to serve civilians by reducing violence, providing fuel and increasing their freedom of movement to, from and within their countries. We are working to support the parties in implementation, strengthening and renewal of the ceasefire ”.


“Houthi is the problem”

In this context, Yemeni journalist and writer Ghamdan Al-Yousifi says that the problem with the operation of Sanaa Airport lies in the fact that the Houthis are trying to convince the world that they are the legitimate representative of the Yemeni people.
Al-Youssef added for “Arabia 21”: “This issue is difficult to happen.”

The Yemeni journalist noted that the attempt to place passports issued by Houthi authorities from Sanaa has become a boring and recurring problem, stressing that “Houthis understand that they are unacceptable and unaccredited passports, as they do not appear in passport examination machines at airports around the world ”.

According to Al-Yousifi, the government has presented an initiative that no one can reject, as it announced its readiness to establish a passport issuance center at Sanaa airport in coordination with the United Nations, as well as to issue passports to citizens in need in Houthi. area in coordination with the office of the UN envoy (Hans Grundberg).

He stressed that this initiative can not be rejected by those who want to serve the people, explaining that the government has made concessions, calling at the same time, Huth to make concessions for the sake of the people.


‘Funny reasons’

For his part, the editor-in-chief of the weekly Al-Wasat newspaper in Sana’a, Jamal Amer, believes that based on international mediation, related clauses were agreed to stop the war for a period of two months, starting with the opening of the airport and the entry of oil-powered ships that were pirated by Riyadh despite their inspection by the United Nations Allowing a number of ships with the promise to make voyages to Egypt and Jordan.

In his interview with Arabi 21, Amer considered this to be a bait from the coalition, as once Sanaa (i.e. the Houthi authorities in Sana’a) announced the approval of the ceasefire, the delay was caused by the entry of the rest. of oil vessels, and even the prohibition of other vessels contrary to what was agreed. ” saying.

And for the reopening of Sanaa airport for commercial flights, according to the editor-in-chief of the Yemeni newspaper Al-Wasat, that after more than half a month, a flight to Jordan was approved under unfair conditions.

He continued, “However, it was respected, but after patients were selected from critical cases and cut flight tickets, the coalition canceled the flight overnight without giving any reason.”

As patients from areas outside Sanaa – according to the Amer reporter – arrived at the airport for fear of missing the flight, what he described as the “Riyadh government”, referring to the well-known government, is talking about ridiculous and banal reasons. The Iranians will be smuggled.

The editor-in-chief of the Al-Wasat newspaper in Sana’a explained: held their meetings, though false.

The same spokesman noted that the withdrawal of the coalition (led by Riyadh) will affect the ceasefire agreement, the terms of which are integrated and it is not possible to approve some of them without the other.

He added, “Perhaps Riyadh has adopted such a bold achievement to make the ceasefire centered as if it were between the Kingdom and the Ansar Allah group in Sana’a, to stop its rocket and drone strikes, and to complete its adjustment. “ranks in preparation for a new civil war to escape its consequences, which is absolutely impossible to happen.”

Since late 2014, the Houthis have controlled Sanaa airport, before the legitimate government and the coalition supporting it announced the suspension of air navigation at the airport in August 2016.

Read also: The Houthis release an Emirates ship after being held for 3 months

Shortly after the closure of the international airport, the Saudi-led coalition supporting the government 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 the aircraft. Yemen Airlines and “to ensure that planes do not smuggle weapons of war.”

Extensive efforts made by the United Nations and countries in the region in recent years have failed to reopen the international airport for commercial flights, as it remained restricted to flights to international humanitarian and aid organizations operating in Yemen.

In late 2017, the Saudi-led coalition carried out an airstrike on Sanaa airport, followed by Houthis’ announcement that the airport was out of service.

One week before the incident, the coalition had announced that it had closed all land and air ports to Yemen to prevent, as it said, the flow of weapons to Huth from Iran.

The Houthi-controlled General Aviation Authority in Sanaa said the airstrikes had destroyed the airport’s navigation steering system.

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.

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