Yesterday, Thursday, a Yemeni official accused the UAE of “violating” his country’s sovereignty by bringing foreign tourists to the island of Socotra (southeast) without referring to the legitimate Yemeni government and obtaining its approval.
Adviser to the Yemeni Ministry of Information, Mukhtar Al-Rahbi, told Anadolu Agency that “the Emiratis issued special visas for foreign tourists of different nationalities (unspecified) to the island of Socotra without referring to and approval of the Yemeni government.”
In response to a question about reports that the UAE brought Israeli tourists to the island, Al-Rahbi said, “It is also not excluded that Israeli tourists will be admitted to Socotra.”
And last Monday, the Ministry of Tourism in the Houthi government condemned in the strongest terms what it described as the UAE’s transfer of Israeli tourist groups to Socotra Island with visas from Abu Dhabi.
The ministry said in a statement that this “contradicts international law, since Socotra is Yemeni and occupied by the coalition,” considering that it comes within the framework of the UAE’s normalization steps with the Zionist entity.
There was no official comment from the UAE on the accusations of bringing foreign and Israeli tourists to the island
Al-Rahbi pointed out that Socotra was controlled a year ago by militias backed by the UAE, and the air, sea and all state institutions were under their control.
He stressed that the Yemeni government’s position is clear not to accept any foreigner’s entry to Yemen without permission and to take the approved measures.
Al-Rahbi added that what the UAE is doing represents a blatant attack on Yemeni sovereignty, which is unacceptable.
He added, “All these crimes will not be subject to a statute of limitations. The day will come when international cases will be brought against the UAE for its absurdity, whether by penetrating Yemeni sovereignty or by bringing tourists to Yemen.”
He said, “We in Yemen have a clear position on the Palestinian issue. We are against normalization with the usurping Zionist entity, and this is an unequivocal popular and governmental position.”
The UAE and Israel signed a normalization agreement in Washington on September 15.
The UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council has controlled Socotra since June 2020, after confrontations with government forces.
Yemeni officials have previously accused the UAE of seeking to divide Yemen and control its strategic islands and ports in order to control its wealth and influence over it, while Abu Dhabi denies such accusations.
Since March 2015, the UAE has participated mainly in the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia, which is facing the Houthis in support of government forces.
Yemen has been witnessing a war for more than 6 years that has killed 233,000 people, and 80% of the population of about 30 million people has become dependent on support and aid, in the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the United Nations.