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China urges constructive move to serve peace in Yemen

By Fuad Rajeh | Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-06 10:08

China urges constructive move to serve peace in Yemen

Boys climb on a tank used by pro-government fighters during recent battles against Houthi fighters in the southwestern city of Taiz, Yemen November 26, 2016. [Agencies]

China has expressed strong concern over the formation of a government by the Houthi group and its allies, hoping any move raised should serve peace in the war-torn Houthi-GPC.

China has been among the ten countries sponsoring the post-2011 political transition in Yemen. It is playing growing role since the war erupted in the country following the Houthi seizure of power in late 2014.

Observers said China's concern over the Houthi-GPC government and reiteration of its support to the internationally recognized government signaled its intention to play a greater role in bringing peace back to the country.

"Yemen is a promising country either with natural resources that China needs or infrastructure projects that China will seek contracts for," said Ahmed Noman, an expert at the Red Sea and East Africa Research Center.

"And the most important point is that Yemen is a key gate to Africa where China is expanding its presence and investments, he added.

Adil Al-Shuja'a, a politics professor at Sanaa University, said the Houthi-Saleh alliance has failed to introduce itself to the international community as a capable and legitimate authority.

"The Houthis are facing the world, and simply China will not accept to back them," Al-Shuja'a said.

"Moreover, China might seek to take advantage of failures of other foreign players in order that it plays a key role toward the situation in the country," he added.

Some experts said China is a key business partner of Saudi Arabia and the logical reaction to the latest developments in Yemen is support the Saudi-backed government.

Yaseen Al-Tamimi, a political writer and analyst, said China still looks into global issues from an economic perspective -- its attitudes over global issues can't be against key trade partners.

"However, the clear Chinese reaction to the Houthi-GPC government apparently came in response to a Houthi attempt to show their government is not facing international isolation.

A Houthi delegation has paid a visit to Beijing recently after the formation of the government, Al-Tamimi said, adding that "in the context of global peace issues, China is very wise and acts as a well-trusted and balanced player".

The Houthi-GPC government of 42 ministers, the largest ever in Yemen's history, has been rejected by the international community as a unilateral move within the escalation affecting the peace process.

Lately, both the legitimate government and the Houthi-Saleh alliance rejected the U.S. and UN peace initiatives as war continued in key parts of the country.

Observers argued that the government of the Houthis and the former ruling party, the GPC, was not in line with this alliance's obligations toward the peace process.

"Regrettably, the Houthi-Saleh alliance is taking advantage of lax international attitudes and unfair peace initiatives. But definitely the move was toward hell, not peace," he said.

Faud Alsalahi, a political sociology professor at Sanaa University, said the Sanaa government comes within attempts to mix cards amidst political and military failures.

"Yemen is dominated by political chaos primarily because Yemeni factions are being controlled by foreign players. We have two governments that can't even think of a dialogue in order to end the war and form a unity government away from foreign meddling," Alsalahi said.

Yemen has been suffering from a civil war and a Saudi-led military intervention for around two years. The civil war began after the Houthi militants with support from forces loyal to the former president ousted the UN-backed transitional government.

The legitimate government controls the south and some eastern parts, while the alliance controls the other parts including the capital Sanaa.

The UN has sponsored peace talks between the warring factions several times, but the factions failed to reach common ground.

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