Saudi UK envoy: Withdrawal from Yemen won’t end conflict, but will lead to new bloody chapter

Abu Dhabi: The Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom has affirmed that the withdrawal of Saudi forces from Yemen will not end the conflict, nor will it lead to peace, but it will rather enter Yemen into a new bloody chapter, and the humanitarian aid that is currently flowing will halt.

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Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud cited the presence of more than 2,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan today after nearly 20 years since America first entered that country.

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The Saudi ambassador said in an article published in The Telegraph, “Just as America felt the moral obligation to preserve some presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, Saudi Arabia realizes that it cannot at this stage move away from the commitment it made.

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“The world should appreciate what we have already done with regard to humanitarian aid, with Saudi Arabia directing nearly $17 billion in aid to Yemen so far,” he said.

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He said that the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center is working with 80 partners in a series of humanitarian projects worth $3.4 billion, and Riyadh donated $422 million of oil to the Yemeni government to maintain the operation of power stations, and spent $100 million on removing landmines, while the Houthis were planting more, and $2.2 billion has been deposited into the Central Bank of Yemen to fund food supplies, schools, hospitals, and other basic services.

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Prince Khalid bin Bandar emphasized that the Saudis feel deeply the suffering of the Yemeni people, and that the conflict in that country is a human tragedy long before the Saudi intervention.

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He pointed out that Saudi Arabia originally intervened to support the Yemeni government, backed by a Security Council resolution against an organisation that was trying to overthrow the government by military means, and that Saudi Arabia has since tried repeatedly to bring the Houthis to the negotiating table to find a way to end the conflict.

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The Saudi UK envoy said that Saudi Arabia, as part of its peace initiative, is ready to support the full opening of both the Hodeidah port and Sanaa airport, but on the condition that the Houthis adhere to the provisions of the original Stockholm Agreement related to the use of the port, and also to stop their military aggression in the region.

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Prince Khalid said Saudi Arabia is determined to restore stability, prosperity and security to Yemen, and that Saudi Arabia has made repeated and determined efforts to do so, including the recent ceasefire initiative.

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“Unless the international community is prepared at the same time to exert pressure on the Houthis, they will not show a desire for peace, as they have not yet shown neither the will nor the desire to meet us even on a part of the road to the peace journey,” the Saudi envoy concluded.

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