Saudi Arabia vows border defence, support for Yemen

Cairo: Saudi Arabia will continue to defend its borders and support for the Yemeni government against “Houthi aggression”, a senior Saudi official has said, after the kingdom unveiled a plan to end a six-year war in Yemen.

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“We will continue to defend our people, land, and borders, and we will continue our support for the Yemeni gov. and its armed forces against Houthi aggression,” Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Khalid bin Salman said.

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On Monday, Saudi Arabia launched the peace initiative, proposing a UN-overseen nationwide ceasefire in Yemen, the reopening of Sana’a airport in the Al Houthi-held capital, and restarting negotiations between the Saudi-backed government and the Iran-allied rebels. The Yemeni government welcomed the initiative.

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In recent months, Al Houthis have stepped up their cross-the-border attacks against the Saudi territory and civilian facilities.

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“We also affirm our commitment to implement the initiative if the Houthis accept it, under UN supervision and monitoring,” Prince Khalid said in a series of tweets.

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“The initiative aims to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people and give the Houthis the opportunity to uphold the interests of Yemen and its honorable people first over Iranian expansionist goals,” he added.

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The official said that the Saudi initiative demonstrates his country’s interest in Yemen’s stability and sustainable peace.

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“The Kingdom seeks to establish peace in Yemen. The recent announcement is in line with previous proposals, from the Gulf initiative to all consultation efforts to end the crisis and reach a comprehensive political settlement,” he added.

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Yemen has been devastated by a war that erupted after Al Houthi militia toppled the legitimate government and seized swathes of the country including Sana’a in late 2014. In 2015, Saudi Arabia led an Arab military campaign in Yemen against the rebels in response to a request from the impoverished country’s government.

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