By Assem Abdel-Salam
SANAA (AA) – 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”.
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.