SHARM EL SHAIKH, Mar 28 (INP): Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, has backed calls to create a unified Arab force to confront regional security threats, and said intervention in Yemen was the “inevitable” result of meddling by a foreign power. Speaking at an Arab League summit, he said that the military campaign against Shia Houthi militias in Yemen, which has been led by Saudi Arabia, aimed to “preserve Yemen’s unity and the peace of its territories”. Sisi was backed by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who vowed that the military intervention in Yemen would not stop until the country was stable and safe.
The Egyptian president said the Arab world was facing unprecedented threats and, without mentioning it by name, accused Shia, non-Arab Iran of meddling in Arab affairs. He also blamed Shia rebels for creating chaos in the country, calling them “stooges of Iran”. Sisi, a former soldier, told the summit that the Arab world was facing unprecedented threats and said the attacks would continue until the Houthis surrender. The Saudi-led military intervention has been strongly backed by the US, and other global powers may be drawn in as the crisis unfolds The summit comes amid mounting instability and insurgencies in the region.
A months-long Houthi rebellion has escalated into a regional conflict that threatens to tear apart the impoverished state at the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula. On Friday night, there were reports that the Saudi-led coalition was continuing its air strikes on Yemen’s capital, Sana’a. Planes also attacked a convoy of Houthi armoured vehicles, tanks and military trucks heading from the coastal town of Shaqra for an attack on Aden, the country’s commercial centre. At least 39 civilians have been killed in Operation Decisive Storm since it began on Thursday, officials at the rebel-controlled health ministry in Sana’a said. As many as 10 countries, including Egypt,
have joined the coalition as Riyadh leads the predominantly Sunni Muslim 22-member Arab League in a bid to curb Iran’s growing regional influence. The annual Arab League summit was originally scheduled to discuss a joint Arab military force, but is instead focusing on the Yemen crisis. Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has said negotiations were the only way to prevent a long-term conflict in Yemen. Also speaking at the summit, Ban said he was angry and shamed by the failure of the world to stop Syria’s raging civil war and promised to step up diplomatic efforts. “Negotiations facilitated by my special envoy, Jamal Benomar, and endorsed by the Security Council remain the only chance to prevent long, drawn-out conflict,” he said.