King Salman vows to continue Yemen campaign
Campaign 'will continue until it achieves its goals for the Yemeni people to enjoy security,' king tells Arab League
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Saturday vowed that the Saudi-led military operation against Houthi militias in Yemen will not stop until the country is stable and safe, saying the Iranian-backed militias pose a threat to the region’s security.
The campaign “will continue until it achieves its goals for the Yemeni people to enjoy security,” King Salman said in a speech shortly after the opening of the 26th Arab League Summit in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh. Arriving by air shortly before, he was recieved by Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Arab heads of state have headed to Egypt over the weekend to start the two-day summit, where the crisis in Yemen will dominate talks.
The summit is being held just two days after a Saudi-led regional coalition launched a military campaign “Operation Decisive Storm” against the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels, who have taken control of major cities - including the capital Sanaa - in the west of Yemen.
Iran and the Houthis deny that Tehran arms the rebel movement, which last week had forced the beleagured internationally-recognized government, led by President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi, to retreat to the southern port city of Aden, leading Hadi to issue a plea for military assistance.
Egypt has sent four warships to the Gulf of Aden, in addition to participating in the operation with air force.
During a meeting of foreign ministers at a previous Arab League conference on Thursday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Cairo was willing “to send ground forces if necessary,” in a show of Egypt’s fully-fledged support to the operation.
The summit is expected to focus on creating an Arab military force to fight against the militants, a project foreign ministers have already signed a draft agreement in Thursday’s meeting.
The ministers called on the leaders of the Arab League’s 22-member nations to meet within a month to lay out the details of the military force, such as budgeting and coordination.
The chaos in Libya, where rival militant groups attempt to wrest control of the north African nation, and defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will also be on top of this year’s agenda.