SANAA, Yemen (AP) – Saudi Arabia has barred Yemen’s president, along with his sons, ministers and other officials, from returning to the country for months, Yemeni officials tell The Associated Press.
Hadi and many of his officials fled to Saudi early on in the war in Yemen, now in its third year, and have lived in Riyadh for much of it.
The officials say the kingdom took the decision ostensibly to protect Hadi and his government, but added that it was also made to appease the United Arab Emirates, its top ally, which is hostile to Hadi and opposed to his return. Saudi and UAE are the two major pillars of an Arab coalition battling Shiite Houthis rebels in Yemen under the pretext of restoring Hadi’s legitimate government to power. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation.
In August, Hadi was turned back at Riyadh airport as he tried to return to Yemen, one official said. Hadi has repeatedly asked Saudi King Salman to allow him to return but has not received replies, he added.