Palestinian Authority announces support for Arab coalition against Yemen rebels

Abbas releases statement of backing for Saudi-led alliance poised to fight against Shi'ite Houthi rebels in Yemen.

March 27, 2015 10:47
2 minute read.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Palestinian Authority has announced its support for a coalition of Arab states poised to provide military intervention in Yemen.

According to Palestinian news agency Ma'an, PA President Mahmoud Abbas's office released a statement Thursday stating his backing of the united military forces lead by Saudi Arabia set to protect the Yemeni government and fight opposition Shi'ite rebels.

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In the announcement, Abbas said he backed the decision by Arab foreign ministers to back Yemen's government. Ma'an cited Abbas also as highlighting the importance of creating security and unity of the embattled country.

On Thursday, Arab foreign ministers agreed a draft resolution to form a unified military force, the Arab League's secretary general said at a meeting in Egypt.

The agreement came after warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck Shi'ite Muslim rebels fighting to oust Yemen's president on Thursday, in a major gamble by the world's top oil exporter to check Iranian influence in its backyard without direct military backing from Washington.

"The Arab ... ministers agreed on adopting an important principle, which is forming the unified Arab military force," Nabil Elaraby told reporters after the meeting in the resort of Sharm El-Sheik.

"The task of the force will be rapid military intervention to deal with security threats to Arab nations," Elaraby added.

The draft resolution will be referred to the Arab leaders during their March 28-29 summit in Egypt.

Egyptian TV reported earlier that the ministers asked Elaraby to coordinate with Arab armies' chiefs of staff within one month to form the unified force.

Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi left his refuge in Aden under Saudi protection on Thursday and arrived in Saudi Arabia as Houthi rebels battled with forces still loyal to him on the outskirts of the southern port city.

The Houthi's have taken over much of the country in their campaign to oust Hadi.

The Saudi-led military intervention marked a major escalation of the Yemen crisis, in which Iran supports the Houthis, and Sunni Muslim monarchies in the Gulf back Hadi and his fellow Sunni loyalists in Yemen's south.
Around dawn on Friday, residents reported that warplanes struck near the presidential compound in the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital of Sanaa.

The attacks, by a Saudi-led coalition seeking to end the political dominance of Shi'ite Muslim Houthis in the Arabian peninsula country, also struck near a military installation that houses missiles, they said.

Earlier air strikes south of Sanaa in the early hours of Friday appeared to target military installations affiliated with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a powerful Houthi ally.

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