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Wed 08/04/2015

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Foreign Minister, has said that any strategic threat to the security of the Gulf would be not accepted.

He added that this threat can be seen through the external links of the Houthi militias who wreak havoc and follow a political agenda that does not recognise love for their country and loyalty. He added that their following of extremist ideologies poses a threat to countries with a tolerant approach and to regional security and stability.

Sheikh Abdullah made his remarks during a joint press conference held at the Ministry with Dr. Riad Yassin, Yemen's Foreign Minister.

Opening the press conference, Sheikh Abdullah welcomed the Yemeni Foreign Minister, adding that his meeting with him had clearly showed their shared vision regarding the situation in Yemen. Sheikh Abdullah expressed his confidence in Operation Decisive Storm, which, he said, would achieve its objectives to restore the security and stability of Yemen, and ensure the security and stability of the Arabian Gulf.

He stressed that "Operation Decisive Storm is a fraternal solidarity move led by Saudi Arabia", adding that the GCC position was taken in response to a request from the Yemeni government and the legitimate President, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and in complete agreement with the principles of international legitimacy to safeguard the people of Yemen and the state of Yemen and its government.

The UAE Foreign Minister noted that the Arab coalition seeks to preserve constitutional legitimacy in Yemen and to maintain the internationally recognised political track and its components, especially the GCC initiative and its executive mechanisms, and the output of the national dialogue agreed upon by the people of Yemen.

Sheikh Abdullah said that the international community has sought since September 21, 2014 to find a peaceful solution based on the GCC initiative agreed by the people of Yemen and at Arab and international levels. "But the Houthi militias and the group of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh stood against those endeavours through resorting to violence, and they closed the doors to all political efforts."

He said that "it is the responsibility of the UN Security Council at this critical moment to back the legitimate political process aimed at maintaining Yemen. The GCC states will play their effective political role through a draft resolution covering the political and humanitarian aspects in Yemen."

Sheikh Abdullah added that Saudi Arabia had exerted great efforts over recent months to hold a conference on reconciliation in Yemen, but that its efforts had met with utter rejection by the Houthis and the group of the ousted President Saleh, adding that the two groups are trying to change the political reality and subjugate Yemenis by force and intimidation.

He pointed out that "The security of Saudi Arabia is our security and the deployment of missiles by the Houthi group that targeted Saudi Arabia is conclusive evidence of the blatant, malicious and subversive intentions borne by the Houthis against others."

Sheikh Abdullah said, "I assured Dr. Riad Yassin today that the UAE backs the people of Yemen in their humanitarian and security sufferings triggered by the shaky political situation," adding that "Houthi terrorism is one of the main reasons for the deterioration of humanitarian situation."

He stressed the importance of facilitating humanitarian access to the people of Yemen to avoid further deterioration of the humanitarian situation there. Sheikh Abdullah called on all parties to take the necessary measures to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches those in need.

He urged the Houthis and their allies to reverse their coup to prevent more bloodshed.

"History testifies that the UAE has been backing the sisterly state of Yemen. It has supported the people of Yemen in all circumstances, given its great sense of responsibility towards brothers, and the regional security and stability", he said.

Sheikh Abdullah called on friendly countries to join Operation Decisive Storm, which supports legitimacy and is directed at military targets, avoiding the infrastructure and residential complexes.

He paid tribute in particular to the UAE Armed Forces, Emiratis, and the Armed forces of sisterly and friendly countries for their participation in the operation to ensure the security and safety of the Arab Gulf region.

"I tell them that their courage, devotion and dedication will not only protect our gains, achievements and our way of life, but also will contribute to the long term suppression of all forms of extremism, and establish the values of tolerance in an atmosphere of security and stability for future generations."

Sheikh Abdullah stressed that Yemen and the people of Yemen deserve a civilian system that is not based on a foreign agenda or is formulated under pressure and force, but is based on a fair representation of all components according to the political track agreed, which had been cast aside by the Houthis.

Referring to the role of Iran, the Yemeni dialogue and the participation of all parties, Sheikh Abdullah said, "In order to reach a political solution, it is inappropriate to exclude any party in Yemen. All are welcome. And we cannot exclude those who commit crimes against humanity sine we seek to reach a political understanding."

Sheikh Abdullah added," Iran is not only interfering in Yemen, but also interferes in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries. Someone may say that the information provided by the Government of Yemen is not accurate, but there has been systematic work undertaken by Iran for years to export the revolution."

"We look forward to establishing a normal, positive and model relations with Iran, but it is regrettable that Iran does not offer a grain of hope to its partners in the region. Each time we get surprised by its ploys to undermine our countries and the region."

Sheikh Abdullah went on to say, "This is not a sectarian issue, but in Iran they believe in exporting the revolution, this being part of their constitution and system. And we will be cautious when dealing with Iran."

He said that Iran is a major country, given its achievements and culture, and that it should deal with the countries of the region as partners. "Iran has reached a framework agreement with the 5+1 countries, but it is not a matter of chance that Iran's neighbours have problems with it. We will welcome statements from Hassan Rouhani, the President of Iran, on developing its relations with the neighbours."

Sheikh Abdullah said, "We seek a political solution to rescue Yemen and this is our goal, but, unfortunately, the Houthi group refuses to comply with its previous pledges."

He added that consultations are under way at the UN Security Council, led by Jordan , and there are some positive signs.

"We hope in the coming days," he said, " to vote on a resolution regarding Yemen without being hindered and with a consensus that shows the strength of the Arab coalition that is implementing the Decisive Storm operation."

Sheikh Abdullah stressed that no one questions the legitimacy of Yemen or was against protecting its legitimacy, pointing out that what was being sought was for the UN Security Council to impose a dialogue on all parties under the leadership of President of Yemen, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

He added that the proposed Security Council resolution will also include an arm purchase embargo by the Houthis, indicating that there are diplomatic efforts in New York to persuade the UN Security Council to canvass votes in this respect.

The UAE Foreign Minister said, "Today, it is required of us that we should put an end to this tragedy as soon as possible", stressing that the military intervention sought to end this tragedy in Yemen and support the legitimate power as well as to oblige all parties to participate, including the Houthis, based upon the previous pledges they had made eight months ago.

He added that such a dialogue would be based on the restoration of legitimacy, disarmament and ending the occupation of institutions. Sheikh Abdullah said " The UN has engaged in negotiations to pursue this initiative, but the Houthis have refused to engage with the peace initiative. Therefore, we found ourselves on the side of the people of Yemen."

He added, "We are talking about the Yemeni issue, to restore the country to its place in the Arab nation and to the people of Yemen, indicating that Yemen has been hijacked, taking it away from the Yemenis, the Arabs and the region."

He also added, "If we say that our roots go back to Yemen, then we have to protect them, noting that some are trying to divert attention from this issue. We say we have been attacked in our homes, and if we do not back Yemen, we will regret it as there are Arab and regional issues at stake. We, as the Gulf Cooperation Council, have to support our brothers in Yemen."

Sheikh Abdullah said that there is a long way to go, and that the issue will not be resolved by the military operations. "We look forward to seeing Yemen standing on its feet in the next period," he added.

He added that there is coordination with the legitimate Yemeni leadership, represented by Abdu Rabbu Mansur Hadi and his aides.

" They brief us on ideas and proposals, and we do not act without a green light from the Yemeni leadership. The operation is led by Saudi Arabia, and therefore we cannot put any obstacles in the way of political or military action to resolve the Yemeni issue.

Sheikh Abdullah added, " The Yemeni experience requires us to back the legitimacy of Yemen and stop supporting a group which is trying to kidnap Yemen. The Gulf States, supported by the Arab League, firmly backs Operation Decisive Storm until stability is restored to Yemen."

For his part, Yemen's Foreign Minister, Riyad Yassin thanked Sheikh Abdullah for his warm hospitality, saying that " This is not unfamiliar in the country of "The Arab's Wise Man, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan". He also extended his thanks to the UAE for its efforts in Yemen, especially in the developmental field, in contrast to the destructive approach which is being adopted by other countries.

He added that Yemen's legitimate leadership was forced to ask for intervention by the Arab countries. We did not plan for developments as they unfolded, he said.

Yassin thanked all the GCC states and the Arab coalition who were sending their sons to fight and sacrifice their lives for the people of Yemen so that the political geography of the region is not changed and is not the subject of any unrealistic expansion.

The Yemeni Minister emphsised his conviction that the political dialogue was essential and required, pointing out that the war will not continue for long, since wise men were calling for dialogue for the sake of Yemen.

The Yemeni Foreign Minister added that the former Yemeni Ambassador in the UAE, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, has been stripped of his diplomatic immunity, and that his tenure of the post had been terminated.

He also said that he discussed with Sheikh Abdullah an integrated system for humanitarian relief services in the coming days, adding that an urgent plan will be prepared to safeguard the infrastructure inside different Yemeni cities, especially Aden which is facing unjustified and barbaric attacks from the Houthis.

On the nature of Iranian support to the Houthis, the Foreign Minister of Yemen first thanked Sheikh Abdullah for the hopes he had expressed about the forthcoming victory and about restoration of peace and stability to Yemen.

He added that the Iranian intervention is not accidental or new, noting that Iran has been trying to establish its influence inside Yemen. It had shipped weapons by sea to Yemen, he noted, some of these having been seized. He added that Iran had also sent spies to Yemen, of whom some had been arrested, but had later been smuggled to Iran.

He added that Iran has opened direct air routes with Yemen, noting that there were now two to three daily flights carrying weapons from Iran to the Houthis.

He noted that Iran seeks to make the Houthis a thorn in the side of Saudi Arabia and the GCC states as well, adding that the Iranian intervention was wrong. If Iran had interests in Yemen, it should deal through the legitimate government and not through the Houthis, he added.

Faris Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Assistant Foreign Minister for Security and Military Affairs, attended the meeting between the two Ministers.

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