UAE forces to continue fighting in Yemen: Govt minister

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will continue fighting the Shia Houthi militant group in Yemen “until the Saudi-led coalition announces an end to the war”, Anwar bin Mohammed Qarqash, the UAE’s minister of state for federal national council affairs, said Thursday.

The declaration came one day after Qarqash had stated during a Wednesday lecture — attended by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed — that the UAE’s role in the Yemen conflict was over.

“For the UAE, the war in Yemen ended today,” Qarqash was quoted by the country’s official news agency as having said Wednesday.

“A political process is now underway to allow [Yemen’s] legitimate government to manage basic services and carry out its responsibilities,” he reportedly added.

Notably, the remarks came only days after two UAE military helicopters were shot down in Yemen, leaving both pilots and co-pilots dead.

In a series of tweets posted the following day, however, Qarqash appeared to backtrack on the assertions.

That the Saudi-led “Operation Decisive Storm” against Yemen’s Houthis had succeeded in achieving its primary goals, he said, was “indisputable”.

He listed those goals as the restoration of the “legitimate” government of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi; the launch of a political process; and the preemption of what he described as Iranian “expansionism” in the region.

“Having achieved the [Saudi-led] coalition’s main goals in Yemen, responsibility now lies with the Yemeni people to reach an agreement that does not marginalize anyone and which rejects the logic of the coup [against legitimate government],” Qarqash said.

Military action by the Saudi-led coalition, he added, had “paved the way for this”.

Within the military and political context, he went on to stress, the UAE’s role in Yemen would remain as a “credible ally of Saudi Arabia”.

“Our armed forces… have carried out their role with courage and professionalism,” he added. “And the role we are now playing with Saudi Arabia will continue until the Saudi-led coalition’s announcement to end the war.”

Yemen has been racked by chaos and bloodshed since late 2014, when the Houthis and their allies overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing President Hadi and his Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

In March of last year, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies — including the UAE — launched a massive military campaign in Yemen aimed at reversing Houthi gains and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.

Since then, some 80 Emirati military personnel have reportedly been killed in fighting against the Shia militant group and its allies in Yemen.

In April of this year, the Yemeni government and the Houthis entered into UN-sponsored talks in Kuwait aimed at resolving the conflict, in which more than 6,400 people have been killed and an estimated 2.5 million forced to flee their homes.

Author: Ali Abo Rezeg

Source: Anadolu Agency 

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