Egyptian ambassador returns from Yemen
Militants loyal to Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi patrol in the southern port city of Aden - REUTERS

CAIRO: Egyptian ambassador to Yemen Youssif el-Sharkawy departed Yemen for Egypt Wednesday, sources in the Aden airport told MENA.

Sharkawy arrived to Aden March 14 to deliver former Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi an invitation to attend the Arab League Summit which will be hosted by Egypt in Sharm al-Sheikh. U.S.-backed Sunni Hadi was forced to resign as president after the Iran-backed Shiite Houthi takeover of the Yemeni capital Sanaa last year, and was placed under house arrest, but since escaped to Aden, announced he is still the legitimate president, and declared the new capital to be Aden.

Many airlines have canceled flights serving Aden due to security issues, as the dominant Houthi forces have entered areas near to it.

The United States, United Kingdom, and several other countries have also evacuated diplomats and nationals from Aden in the past few days due to the poor security situation.

Former Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyad Yassin said March 19 Egypt should move fast to secure the Bab al-Mandeb strait to prevent its control by Houthi forces.

He told Youm7 that the Egyptian government must secure the strait as a strategic waterway for Egypt’s national security and the main entrance for access to the Suez Canal.

The strait is located between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa, and is crucial to maritime navigation.

Houthi spokesperson Mohamed Abdel Salam told Youm7 March 20 that the strait would never be closed, saying “We respect Egypt, its people, its president, and all the agreements signed between Yemen and the neighboring countries.”

Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said in an interview in February, “we never allow any threat against Egyptian national security.”

In a news conference Feb. 4, Mamish announced “Egypt will not accept the closure of the strait in any way, and would intervene militarily if needed…this action affects Egyptian national security, and has a direct impact on the Suez Canal.”

Suez Canal Authority chairperson Mohab Mamish said in an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper Monday that the “great powers” would not allow the strait to be dominated or the maritime navigation to be stopped.

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