Yemen government slams UAE troop dispatch on Socotra island

The Yemeni government on Sunday decried the deployment of Emirati troops on the strategic island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea.

In a statement cited by the official Saba news agency, the government said the difference between it and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) “revolves around national sovereignty and absence of a strong level of mutual coordination”.

Tension has mounted between Yemen and the UAE since last week, when the latter dispatched a military force to the island.

The deployment was reportedly carried out without prior coordination with the Yemeni government.

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”.

Read: UAE prevents Yemen Prime Minister from leaving island

In March, activists submitted a report to Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in which they accused the UAE of seeking to take control of Socotra and its resources.

On Friday, a Saudi delegation arrived to the island in an apparent bid to mediate the dispute.

In 2014, President Hadi dismissed the governor of Aden, Aidarus al-Zoubaidi, over the latter’s alleged links with the UAE.

The UAE is a member of a Saudi-led coalition that has launched a massive air campaign in 2015 against the Shia Houthi group, which overran much of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, a year earlier.