Yemen claims British backing

A headline at Almotamar, the Yemeni ruling party's website, 
announces: "UK confirms its stand by Yemen in facing up the rebellion".

Displaying the British and Yemeni flags side by side, it announces that Britain is "ready to increase its development aid to Yemen" and that "the United Kingdom will support [the] Yemeni government against any rebellion [that] intends to deter the development in the country".

This is apparently based on a meeting between British foreign secretary David Miliband and the Yemeni foreign minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, at the UN general assembly in New York yesterday.

So far, there is no British account of what was said, though in a 
statement issued on September 17, Miliband was certainly not supporting the regime's onslaught against the Houthi rebels. "Continued fighting will only bring about further suffering for civilians in a region which has witnessed years of violent unrest. I call on both sides to halt the violence as a matter of urgency and deal with the underlying issues," he said.

Support for President Salih has been pouring in, if Yemeni news sources are to be believed. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference has denounced "the acts of violence and sabotage carried out by rebels in Saada" (Almotamar again) while News Yemen says: "The United States, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s countries and Egypt, Jordan and Iraq have expressed their full support to the efforts of [the] government of President Salih for a peaceful dialogue regarding conflict in Saada ..."

On Saturday, Salih called on aid agencies to stop moaningand get on with their job of helping people displaced by the conflict "without making media noise”. He added: “I call on international relief organisations which are crying over our citizens to provide aid and assistance without crying. We, as the political system and as the people, are responsible for assisting our brethren and our displaced people and those affected by the war in Saada.” 

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 28 September 2009.