Yemen’s fugitive former president is making arrangements to rent out the island of Socotra to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for 99 years, a report says.
Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi has offered the Indian Ocean isle to the UAE in an attempt to get Abu Dhabi’s support amid the ongoing conflict in Yemen, the Lebanese al-Mayadeen satellite television channel reported.
The report, however, did not elaborate on details of the development.
Other reports have suggested that Socotra may come under the US control.
The Yemeni island will reportedly be hired for the investments of touristic, economic and navigation fields.
Socotra, a small archipelago of four Indian Ocean islands, measures 132 kilometers (82 miles) in length and 49.7 kilometers (30.9 miles) in width.
It lies about 240 kilometers (150 miles) east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometers (240 miles) south of the Arabian Peninsula.
The island, which was recognized by UNESCO in 2008 as a world natural heritage site, is very isolated and has a unique endemic flora.
According to botanical field surveys by the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants, 307 out of the 825 plant species on Socotra (37 percent) are found nowhere else on the earth.
The UAE is among the countries that have dispatched military forces in support of the pro-Hadi Saudi offensive against Yemen.
Yemen has been under military attacks by Saudi Arabia since last March in a bid to bring Hadi back to power and undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, fled to Saudi Arabia in the face of Houthi’s increasing advances. Ansarullah said Hadi lost his legitimacy as president of Yemen after he stepped down and fled the country.
Nearly 8,300 people, among them 2,236 children, have reportedly been killed and over 16,000 others injured. The strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s infrastructure.