Lavrov and Yemeni PM Discuss Middle East Situation

27 February

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Head of the internationally recognized government of Yemen, Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, will meet in Moscow to review the situation in the Middle East and discuss Russia's role in establishing security and peace in the Republic of Yemen.

Bin Mubarak arrived in the Russian capital on Monday on an official visit at the invitation of the Russian side. This marks his first foreign trip as prime minister of the republic. He was appointed head of the Yemeni government on February  5, retaining the post of foreign minister, which he has held since the end of  2020.


In addition to the foreign minister, bin Mubarak is expected to meet with State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko. The possibility of meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin is also being clarified, the republic's embassy in Russia explained to TASS.


Ahead of the visit, Yemen's state-run Saba news agency reported that during the planned talks, bin Mubarak intends to raise issues of bilateral relations, some aspects of the regional agenda, as well as "Russia's role in promoting security and peace in Yemen."


The escalation in the Red Sea


The current shipping situation in the Red Sea can be expected to be at the center of discussions on the regional agenda. Following the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Gaza Strip, members of Yemen's Houthi rebel movement Ansar Allah have declared that they will launch attacks on Israeli territory and will not allow ships associated with Israel to pass through the waters of the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait until the operation in the Palestinian enclave ends.


On January  12, the UK and US armed forces, using planes, ships, and submarines, for the first time struck Ansar Allah targets in several Yemeni cities, including Sanaa and Al Hudaydah. The Russian side has repeatedly emphasized that Moscow stands for ensuring the safety of commercial shipping in the Red Sea, but cannot accept US and British strikes on Yemeni territory. Lavrov called the Western attack on Yemen "a neo-colonial variant of responding with military methods to what is happening."


The Russian Federation regularly holds contacts with all parties interested in the settlement. Thus, in February, a Russian delegation visited Yemen's Aden, where it met with the republic's Defense Minister Muhsen al-Daeri. And on January  25, Russian Presidential Special Envoy for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov received a delegation from the Ansar Allah movement.


Internal political situation


Since August  2014, the confrontation between the country's authorities and the Houthis has been ongoing in Yemen. The humanitarian situation is dire, and there is an acute shortage of food and medicine. The Russian Foreign Ministry assesses the humanitarian situation in the republic as "critical, close to an irreversible catastrophe." According to the UN data for December  2020, at least  233 thousand people have died during the escalation of the conflict in Yemen since March  2015.


The development of the situation in the republic and ways out of the crisis will be among the topics of discussion between Lavrov and the head of the Yemeni government. The Russian side adheres to the position on the need for a comprehensive political and diplomatic settlement of the Yemeni crisis, and regularly confirms its readiness to restore multifaceted bilateral cooperation as the situation in the republic normalizes.



GSV "Russia - Islamic World"

Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry

Based on materials from TASS