After the Arab countries issued the Jeddah Declaration during the 32nd Arab Summit, which was held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on May 19, calling on the Houthis to abide by previous agreements urging the militia to withdraw from the areas under its control and work to settle the Yemeni crisis, the Houthi leadership has tended to “evade” through two means. The first is declaring that the militia is not committed to any agreements signed in the past and that it will tend to escalate in the event that the other parties to the conflict do not return to negotiations and resolve the humanitarian crisis, and the second is the militia’s tendency to strengthen its relations with some foreign countries to deliver a message that it is not a coup militia and that it enjoys legitimacy inside Yemen.
This comes in the context of the Houthi media’s announcement on May 21 of the conclusion of an agreement with the Chinese government for oil exploration in Yemen, pointing out that the Houthi Oil Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese oil company Anton and the representative of the Chinese government for investment in Yemen after the Houthi ministry had worked during the last period to conclude a number of negotiations with some foreign companies to persuade them to invest in this field in Yemeni territory. It added that the Chinese company was the one that expressed its willingness to negotiate with the Houthis, who warned all foreign companies not to conclude any negotiations with the legitimate Yemeni government, especially since the majority of the oil exploration areas in Yemen are located in areas under the control of the legitimate government.
In light of this, the legitimate Yemeni government responded to this agreement through statements by Deputy Oil Minister Shawki al-Mekhlafi to Yemeni media in which he stated, “What the Houthis announced regarding an agreement with a Chinese oil company is just media and political consumption by the Houthis, and the Yemeni government will address the Chinese government, its embassy and the aforementioned company to clarify the matter.”
Two days after the announcement of this agreement, the Chargé d’Affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Yemen confirmed, during telephone conversations with Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak, that the Chinese government has nothing to do with this agreement, and that Anton is a private company and does not represent the Chinese government.
Regarding the significance of the Houthi announcement of this agreement, Yemeni political analyst Mahmoud al-Taher explained in an exclusive statement to the Reference that the militia wants to say that it is of value and importance to the international community, as it seeks to deliver a message to the Yemeni interior stating that they have won the war and that major countries have begun to deal with them as a fait accompli, but the denial of the Houthi official dealt a blow to the militia, confirming the falsity of its claims that it has been promoting for a while, especially after the negotiations with Saudi Arabia stopped.