Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has for the first time admitted that he personally approves every US assassination drone attack in Yemen.
“Every operation, before taking place, they take permission from the president,” Hadi said in an interview with the Washington Post on Saturday.
This is the first time that the Yemeni president has publicly acknowledged his direct role in approving US assassination drone strikes.
Hadi, who is a UK-trained field marshal, was sworn in on February 25, following a single-candidate presidential election on February 21, which was supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia.
On February 27, Yemen’s former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh formally stepped down and handed over power to his deputy Hadi. The power transfer occurred under a Saudi-backed deal brokered by the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council in April 2011 and signed by Saleh in the Riyadh on November 23, 2011.
Over the past year, Washington has stepped up its drone operations in Yemen.
Reports say the CIA is seeking to expand its covert drone attacks in the country despite the fact that the airstrikes mostly result in civilian casualties.
The attacks have also fueled anti-US sentiments across the country.
Washington has been using its assassination drones in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia, claiming that it is targeting terrorists, but the attacks have mostly led to massive civilian deaths.
The United Nations says the airstrikes are targeted killings that pose a challenge to international law.