Yemen Looks to UK to Support Cease Fire in Gaza

( – Both sides in the civil war in Yemen have come to an agreement on one thing; they want a cease-fire in Gaza. Yemen’s UN-recognized government, represented by foreign minister Ahmand bin Mubarak, took part in a phone call with the British Middle East minister, Lord Ahmed On Tuesday Jan. 16. During that call Mubara told Ahmen that they are urging the UK to enact a cease-fire immediately in the Gaza region.

This demand for an immediate cease-fire put the recognized government on the same side as the Houthi rebels with whom they are embroiled in civil war. It is the Yemeni Houthi rebels who have been attacking shipping vessels in the Red Sea as a means to disrupt supplies reaching Israel.

UK officials said there would be no cease-fire until it can be proven that Hamas poses no threat to Israel. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he does not want a connection made that would tie a cease-fire in Gaza to a cessation of the US-UK retaliatory strikes against the rebels in Yemen over the ship attacks.

Alistair Burt, the former Middle East minister, said there is a direct connection between the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and the Houthis in Gaza because the Houthis are telling everyone they are connected. Some experts in the region, like Yemen Chatham House specialist Farea Al-Muslimi, believe that if there were a cease-fire in Gaza the attacks in the Red Sea would stop. Al-Muslimi does acknowledge that his opinion is the minority position within diplomatic circles.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, the Saudi foreign minister, said Red Sea de-escalation should be everyone’s goal and if that is connected to a Gaza cease-fire then that should be the priority. He said that could be step one toward a long-lasting peace in the region. Prince Faisal added that Saudi Arabia would be willing to recognize Israel as part of a larger agreement, but that would also likely include a formal Palestinian state. The Prince also cautioned the U.S. and UK that their strikes are likely to escalate and expand the conflict.

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