Aden: A temporary capital for Yemen

Aden: A temporary capital for Yemen
Yemeni state institutions will be moved to Aden and Taiz, according to Aden's governor where embattled president Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi is now based.
3 min read
23 February, 2015
Hadi arrived in Aden on Saturday (Anadolu)

Yemen's state institutions will be moved to the cities of Aden and Taiz, with Aden effectively taking on the role of the temporary de-facto capital, according to the city's governor, Abdelaziz Bin Habtoor.

Speaking to al-Araby al-Jadeed after a meeting with Yemeni president Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Sunday, Bin Habtoor made it clear that moves were being made to lay political siege to areas of Yemen controlled by the Houthi movement, including the capital Sanaa and the major port city of Hodeida.

“Led by Hadi, the city of Aden will be the headquarters of Yemen's presidency, while the government will be based in Taiz, where it will practice its authorities,” Bin Habtoor said.

“Many diplomatic missions have chosen to move their offices and authorities to Aden,” Bin Habtoor added. “Security and stability are needed to facilitate the work and movement of the diplomatic missions.”

Hadi arrived in Aden on Saturday, after escaping effective house arrest in Sanaa by the Houthis, who overran the capital in September of last year.

Hadi had tendered his resignation in late December after the Houthis laid siege to his residence and took over the presidential palace, and had been prevented from leaving his residence since. However, since his appearance in Aden he appears to have retracted his resignation, which had not been approved by the Yemeni parliament, as per the country's constitution.

Since Hadi's arrival in Aden, he has held meetings with the local authorities, as well as army and security commanders in Aden and the rest of Hadi's native southern Yemen.

Aden TV, a Yemeni state channel based in the second city, also appears to be under his control, and carried a statement labelling Houthi attempts to formalise their takeover “a coup”.

Bin Habtoor said that the attendees backed Hadi, and would support him in what now appears to be a rival administration to the one taking shape under Houthi auspices in Sanaa.

“Everyone reiterated their commitment to the GCC Initiative,” Bin Habtoor said, referring to a deal signed in late 2011 which brought Hadi to power following the removal of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

“They also rejected the coup and emphasised their commitment to a federal state,” he said.

There appears to be a concerted international effort to isolate the Houthis, with several diplomatic missions, including the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, pulling out of Sanaa in recent weeks.

Sources close to Hadi have confirmed that foreign diplomatic missions will back Hadi, and are in the process of moving to Aden.

Settling disputes

The popular Herak movement, which calls for the secession of South Yemen, an independent state until 1990, have mostly rejected talk of Aden being turned into Yemen's capital.

Radfan al-Dubais, a spokesperson for a faction of Herak, painted the current crisis gripping Yemen as a northern affair, and one that Hadi should not drag the south into.

“[Hadi should] stand by the people of the south and not to allow Aden to turn into a stage for settling disputes or starting regional and international conflicts, or for Aden to become the capital of the state and its dialogues,” Dubais told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

“The people of the South reject the Houthi coup, and they express their solidarity with their brothers in the North, supporting them to establish a civil state and improve the relations between the North and the South through,” Dubais said.

Yet, Dubais reiterated Herak's argument that the South is occupied.

“The Southerners demand support so that they can retrieve their state and liberate themselves from Yemeni occupation,” he said. “They will not allow Houthi militias to enter the South.”