Talk to Al Jazeera

Riyadh Yaseen: ‘Bombing necessary despite casualties’

Yemen’s foreign minister discusses the Houthi challenge, the impact of Saudi-led air strikes, and Yemen’s future.

The people of Yemen were already among the world’s poorest when a Saudi-led bombing campaign began in March to end a rebellion on Saudi borders by Houthi fighters.

The Houthis are not having any political project. They are just militias, they want just to destroy, they are not ruling anything ... just destroying and handing over Yemen to Iran.

by Riyadh Yaseen, Yemen's foreign minister

As air strikes and ground battles continue to rage across Yemen, Yemenis have been further impoverished and many civilians as well as Houthis were killed.

The internationally-recognised government led by Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi has been forced out of the country. The president found sanctuary in Saudi Arabia, while his predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh remained in the country – accused by Hadi of encouraging the Houthi rebellion.

“Ali Abdullah Saleh was in alliance and agreement with the Houthis. Whenever they arrive to a new place, he allows them to get control…. It was a major and big mistake to allow him [Saleh] to stay in Yemen, to be part of the Gulf innitiative,” says Riyadh Yaseen, Yemen’s foreign minister.

The United Nations has imposed sanctions aimed at hurting the insurgents, but innocent civilians are now more frequently without the food they need and the wounded are struggling for medical help.

From Saudi Arabia, Hadi has sent his fellow exiled Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen to encourage international support for efforts to end the Houthi rebellion and to ask for financial help with rebuilding his country.

The Yemeni foreign minister sat down with Talk to Al Jazeera to discuss where it went wrong for Yemen, the challenges facing his country, and who is to blame for killing civilians caught in the crossfire.