Military campaign in Yemen affirms Arab strength: Bahrain king

Ahram Online , Friday 27 Mar 2015

Bahrain's leader spoke upon his arrival in Egypt for Saturday's Arab League Summit

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, right, walks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi upon his arrival to attend an Arab summit, which begins Saturday, in Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt (Photo: AP)

The regional military operation against Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen has asserted the strength of Arab states to safeguard their security and defend their nations, the king of Bahrain said upon his arrival in Egypt on Friday for a weekend Arab summit.

His comments come after the warplanes of a Saudi-led Arab coalition launched strikes in Yemen on Thursday and Friday to stop the advance of the Houthi militia who seek to topple US- and Gulf-backed Yemeni president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The president fled the main southern city of Aden to Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

"The joint Arab military action to save Yemen has restored faith in the Arab nations and affirmed their capability and strength in safeguarding their security and defending their nations," Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifah said, as quoted in a statement from Egypt's presidential office.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Friday received the Bahraini leader, along with a line-up of several other Arab heads of state, in the coastal resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, where a two-day Arab League summit will take place starting Saturday.

Egyptian officials have said that the gathering will focus on growing security threats across the region, with the Yemini crisis topping the agenda.

During talks with Sheikh Hamad, El-Sisi said "it was not possible for his country to keep silent amid the threat to Yemen and its brotherly people," and the advance of the Houthis who control the capital Sanaa and several other provinces, the statement added.

Egypt said its naval and air forces were involved in the campaign, conducted by a regional coalition that Saudi Arabia said was joined by more than 10 countries. Egypt foreign minister Sameh Shoukry has said that ground forces could become committed "if necessary."

Arab foreign ministers, meeting on Thursday in the build-up to the summit, agreed to form a joint military force, which the Arab League chief  said will provide rapid intervention to counter-security threats and terrorism. A draft resolution will be submitted to Arab leaders during the meeting for approval.

The embattled Yemen president is expected to attend the regional gathering.

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