UAE 'running Socotra tours without Yemen's permission': official

UAE 'running Socotra tours without Yemen's permission', ministerial aide says
2 min read
08 May, 2021
Abu Dhabi has operating touristic trips to Socotra island, in violation of Yemen and the island's sovereignty.
A Yemeni official said Socotra had been 'violated' by the UAE [Getty]
The United Arab Emirates has been accused of operating trips and direct flights for tourist groups from Abu Dhabi to Socotra island, without the permission of Yemeni authorities. 

Mukhtar al-Rahbi, advisor to Yemen's Minister of Information, said on Friday that the island had "become violated by the UAE, which has planned to control it for years."

“Today (the UAE) has become the primary controller in Socotra. Even the tourist delegations take permission to enter Socotra from the UAE,” al-Rahbi tweeted.

"The UAE is marching in groups of foreign tourists in clear encroachment on Yemeni sovereignty," he added, without adding any further details.

Journalist and director-general of Istanbul-based Yemeni channel Balkis TV , Ahmed al-Zarqa, also weighed in, saying:
"The UAE desecrates the Yemeni island of Socotra and organizes weekly flights to the island directly from Abu Dhabi and Dubai for foreigners."

He added in a tweet that such trips are taking place "without the permission and approval of the Yemeni authorities."

Al-Zarqa also posted a photo he said was of a foreign tourist group on the island.

UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces have controlled Socotra island in the Indian Ocean since June 2020, following a power struggle with local authorities and  Yemen's internationally recognised government. 

Yemeni officials, including President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, have accused the UAE of seeking to divide Yemen and control its south in order to control its wealth and extend its influence over vital ports, especially the strategic port of Aden. 

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