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Arab leaders pledge support to Yemen

Saudi monarch, Egyptian president say military action against Yemen rebels necessary to restore legitimacy and stability

Mariam Mecky , Saturday 28 Mar 2015
Arab Summit
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, and other Arab heads of state meet in Sharm el Sheik, South Sinai, Egypt, Saturday, March 28, 2015 (Photo: AP)
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Although Saturday’s Arab League summit was due to cover a range of regional topics, the ongoing crisis in Yemen took the lead spot as the summit opened with speeches from Arab leaders.  

A Saudi-led military offensive is underway against targets held by Houthi rebels in the turmoil-hit country, with the backing of a number of Arab states.

In his opening speech, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that military action was  “inevitable” to restore legitimate rule in Yemen.

El-Sisi also said that Egypt has accepted a proposal by a meeting of Arab foreign ministers to form a joint Arab military force to counter the “unprecedented threats” facing the region's stability.

Arab foreign ministers agreed on a draft resolution to form a joint Arab military force to counter growing security threats in the region. The proposal requires the endorsement of the Arab leaders during the two-day summit this weekend.

Saudi's King Salman vowed in his opening speech that the military intervention will not stop until Yemen is stable and safe. The monarch said that Saudi Arabia supports the Hadi government’s legitimacy in Yemen and wants stability for the Yemeni population.

He further stated that the situation in the region necessitates an Arab coalition to fight terrorism.

Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Hadi, who fled Aden on Thursday after it was taken over by Houthi rebels, welcomed the Saudi-led operation, which he said would defend the Yemeni people against "dark forces" that have undermined popular legitimacy via a coup.

Hadi said the operation is in congruence with Article 51 of the UN charter, which gives nations the right to collective self-defence, and called for the continuation of the operation until the “complete surrender” of the Houthis.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who also addressed the opening session, said that he has “repeatedly condemned the attempts by the Houthis and former president Saleh to undermine political agreements by military force. I take note that military action has been undertaken at the request of Yemen’s sovereign and legitimate leader, President Hadi.”

The president of the Arab parliament, and the leader of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, highlighted their support for the Saudi -led military operation as well as endorsing the Arab joint military force in order to combat terrorism and extremism.

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir said that his country is actively participating in the Saudi-led military operation in Yemen. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his support for Saudi Arabia and its allies and to Hadi as the legitimate leader of Yemen.  

Oman expressed its supports for the military operation but is the only member of the GCC that has not participated in the military offensive.

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