News ID: 90116
Publish Date : 11 May 2021 - 21:42
DUBAI (MEMO) – The United Arab Emirates has been accused of running tours including direct flights for tourist groups to the Yemeni island of Socotra without the permission of the Yemeni government.
According to a tweet by an adviser to the Ministry of Information, Mukhar Al-Rahbi, the island had "become violated by the UAE, which has planned to control it for years.”
"Today [the UAE] has become the primary controller in Socotra. Even the tourist delegations take permission to enter Socotra from the UAE,” Al-Rahbi said.
"The UAE is marching in groups of foreign tourists in clear encroachment on Yemeni sovereignty,” he added.
Sharing the same image on Twitter, Ahmed Al-Zarqa a journalist and the director-general of the Istanbul-based Yemeni news channel Belqees TV explained that "The UAE desecrates the Yemeni island of Socotra and organizes weekly flights to the island directly from Abu Dhabi and Dubai for foreigners.”
He also said that the photo of the foreign tourists was taken the week before, having arrived from the UAE.
Al Jazeera reported earlier this month that tourism to the island has increased and quoted a British tour operator who stated that new operators appear to be offering trips to Socotra on a weekly basis, despite the island having almost zero tourist infrastructure.
An article published in March on an Emirati news site, stated that the archipelago, famed for its unique biodiversity "will become a dream destination despite the country’s conflict”. One local agency, Welcome to Socotra has claimed it has received "hundreds” of requests since flights by Abu Dhabi started that same month.
The Zionist regime has also been looting resources on the island under UAE cover.
Yemen’s Minister of Transport, Zakaria al-Shami, said in late January that the Zionist regime is plundering natural resources on the strategic island.
"The Zionist regime, under the cover of the UAE, is operating in Socotra, looting and plundering its natural resources, and taking advantage of its geographical location, crude oil as well as medical and tourism capacities besides its other riches,” Shami said at a meeting in Sana’a.
The minister stressed the urgent need to safeguard the remote Arabian Sea archipelago which is a candidate for UNESCO recognition as a world natural heritage site for its biodiversity and natural beauty.
Home to some 60,000 people, Socotra overlooks the Bab al-Mandab Strait, a main shipping route that connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. It has a unique ecosystem.
Socotra has been a source of tension between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which have been vying for control of the resource-rich island.
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