Yemeni PM says row over Socotra island resolved

Aden (AFP) –


Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher announced on Monday that a dispute over the island of Socotra sparked after the deployment of United Arab Emirates troops has been resolved.

"The crisis on the island is over," Bin Dagher wrote on Facebook, adding that the crisis had "almost divided" the Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting Yemen's Huthi rebels.

The announcement came a day after Saudi troops were deployed to the strategic island following tensions between Yemen's internationally recognised government and the UAE, a key member of the coalition.

Dagher's comments come after an agreement was signed on Sunday evening with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, both part of the coalition, according to the Yemeni state news agency Saba.

Under the deal the two countries' troops will withdraw from Socotra and Yemeni forces will be stationed at the island's airport and port, the agency reported.

The crisis was triggered after the Yemeni government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi protested the deployment of UAE troops to the island.

A government source confirmed to AFP that Emirati soldiers were deployed to Socotra earlier this month without the approval of Hadi's government.

The presence of UAE troops angered Socotra residents, who insisted there were no rebels on the island, the source said.

Socotra had been spared involvement in the Yemeni conflict, which has claimed nearly 10,000 lives since March 2015 and triggered what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.