(Photo Credit: Trade Wind News)
On 22 August, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Sanaa’s government Hussein al-Ezzi, affirmed that the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf of Aden or any part of Yemeni waters is illegal, constituting a direct threat to Sanaa’s interests and navigation.
Al-Ezzi said in a tweet: “the choice of peace and respect for the rights of our people and the sovereignty and independence of our country is the only and best way to protect the interests of all.”
#Yemen's sovereignty continues to be violated, its citizens' lives endangered and its national interests threatened by foreign military presence in its waters.#Sanaahttps://t.co/RNkGQiRbxF
— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) August 22, 2022
Al-Ezzi’s comments came after the commander of the US Fifth Fleet, Admiral Charles Bradford Cooper, announced that US forces are preparing for the deployment of 100 unmanned drones in the Gulf of Aden.
Cooper remarked that the primary purpose of the drone fleet deployment is to monitor destabilizing activity in the region, specifically in vital waterways, in reference to activities between US sanctioned nations such as Yemen and Iran.
Al-Ezzi’s comments also follow the Yemen’s National Salvation Government’s (NSG) expressed concerns over what it called “suspicious” activity by US and French troops stationed south of the war-torn country.
The suspicious activity cited by the NSG refers to allegations by Yemen’s former Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi that the French Foreign Legion – a French military force comprising of foreign nationals – has arrived in Yemen’s Shabwah province to secure control of the Balhaf gas facility and its gas resources.
Al-Qirbi also suggested that the French move “could be the reason for events in Shabwah,” referring to recent clashes between UAE-backed mercenary groups and Islah Party forces affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi-backed President Leadership Council (PLC).
In July, France and the UAE signed an energy cooperation deal for the joint production of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
According to reports released earlier this year, the energy cooperation between the two countries is aimed at securing control over Yemeni gas resources through the Balhaf facility, which is owned by French multinational oil and gas company TotalEnergies SE.