Sunday, March 29, 2015

Arab leaders: Yemen airstrikes to go on until rebel withdraw

Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen will continue until Shiite rebels there 'withdraw and surrender their weapons,' AP reported on the outcome of the summit of Arab leaders’ decision in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on Sunday, as they also agreed in principle to forming a joint military force.

Arab leaders meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh  Egypt
The decision by the Arab League puts it on a path to potentially more aggressively challenge Shiite power Iran, which is backing the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis.
A Saudi-led coalition began bombing Yemen on Thursday, saying it was targeting the Houthis and their allies, which include forces loyal to Yemen’s former leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
At the summit, held in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby read a final communiqué outlining the leaders’ views.
'Yemen was on the brink of the abyss, requiring effective Arab and international moves after all means of reaching a peaceful resolution have been exhausted to end the Houthi coup and restore legitimacy,' Elaraby said.
The Houthis began their offensive in September, seizing the capital, Sanaa, and later holding embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi under house arrest. The rebels ultimately took over government in Yemen and ultimately forced Hadi to flee the country in recent days.
Speaking at the summit Saturday, Hadi directly accused Iran of being behind the Houthi offensive, raising the specter of a regional conflict.
Speaking after Elaraby, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said leaders also agreed in principle to creating a joint Arab military force. He said a high-level panel will work under the supervision of Arab chiefs of staff to work out the structure and mechanism of the force.
Egyptian military and security officials have said the proposed force would be made of up to 40,000 elite troops and will be headquartered in either Cairo or Riyadh, the Saudi capital. The force would be backed by jet fighters, warships and light armor.
Now in its fourth day, the Saudi-led airstrike campaign has pushed Houthi rebels out of contested air bases and destroyed any jet fighter remaining in Yemen, Saudi Brig. Gen. Ahmed bin Hasan Asiri said.
The strikes also continued to target Scud missiles in Yemen, leaving most of their launching pads 'devastated,' according to remarks carried Saturday by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. However, he warned that the rebels could control more of the missiles. His account could not be immediately corroborated.
Meanwhile Sunday, Pakistan dispatched a plane to the Yemeni city of Hodeida, hoping to evacuate some 500 citizens gathered there, said Shujaat Azim, an adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister. Azim told state-run Pakistan Television more flights would follow as those controlling Yemen’s airports allowed them.
Pakistan says some 3,000 of its citizens live in Yemen.

No comments:

Post a Comment