Saada tribal leaders demand Saudi-led coalition continue military operations in Yemen

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Tribal leaders from Saada attend a press conference by the Saudi-led coalition on military opertaion in Yemen. (Screengrab)
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Tribal leaders from Saada attend a press conference by the Saudi-led coalition on military opertaion in Yemen. (Screengrab)
Updated 17 July 2018

Saada tribal leaders demand Saudi-led coalition continue military operations in Yemen

  • Saada does not belong to Houthis, say tribal chiefs
  • Iran accused of trying to drive a wedge between Arab countries using its Houthi proxies

RIYADH: Condemning Iranian interference in Yemen and its support for the Houthi militia, tribal leaders of Yemen's Saada province expressed their unflinching support to the Arab military coalition seeking to restore the legitimate government in the war-torn country.

The Yemeni tribal chiefs attended the coalition press conference in Riyadh on Monday to convey a message to the world on behalf of the inhabitants of Saada province and the Yemenis in general.

“Saada region is an extension of the Arab tribes — a fact that strengthens our fraternal bonds,” said Fahad Al-Sharafy, a tribal leader. 

He said Iran is bent on destroying these ties and is making efforts to drive a wedge between Arab countries using its proxies.  

“The sons of Saada have always opposed Iranian designs. For a decade, we resisted Iran and offered stiff resistance,” he said.

Al-Sharafy categorically said Saada does not belong to the Iranian-backed Houthis. 

“Saada does not follow a certain sect. Saada is for all of Yemen. Today, we stand hand-in-hand with our brothers from the coalition,” he said.

Abdul Khalek Bishr, another tribal leader, said “the sons of Saada’s governorate still raise the banners of sacrifice and struggle against the Iranian-backed militia, which has lasted more than a decade and half until now.”

“We appeal to our legitimate government and the coalition to continue the battle for Saada’s liberation.”

“We have opposed and resisted for years. The Iranian militia does not represent us and we do not accept the Persian interference,” he added. 

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki denied signing of a formal agreement with the tribal elders. He called it mutual cooperation that is necessary for “post-military operations.” 

Al-Maliki said the Houthis are trying to portray the Arab military alliance as an occupying force. “Through effective communication, we wish to dispel this wrong image.” Al-Sharafy said the tribal leaders of Saada have agreed on a mechanism with their brothers in the coalition.

“Our message is that we are coming in peace, and for the reconstruction of buildings and the coexistence of all groups in Saada,” he said.

Al-Sharafy told Arab News that people of Saada had become used to the war before the intervention of the Arab coalition. 

He said: “We stand by the coalition and resist all anti-Yemen forces.” 

The coalition spokesman told Arab News that the tribal elders of Saada represented the views of other tribal chiefs in the war-torn country.

He said they wanted to inform the world about the atrocities committed by the Iranian-backed Houthis. 

Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 16 January 2019

Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

  • Cabinet OKs air transport pact with Indonesia

JEDDAH: The Saudi Cabinet met to discuss a series of national and global developments on Tuesday, in a session chaired by King Salman.

At the forefront of the agenda was the escalation in tensions between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza border, and the continuing encroachment on Palestinian land by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The Cabinet responded by demanding that the UN Security Council intervene. King Salman also relayed to ministers the outcome of his talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which covered many regional issues.

The minister of media, Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah, announced that after reviewing proposals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a decision from the Shoura Council, a memorandum of understanding between the government and the Republic of Korea on granting visit visas had been agreed upon.

The Cabinet approved the amendment of the air agreement on regular air transport between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The Cabinet, meanwhile, praised the progress of the 2025 Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Program, aimed at enhancing farming techniques by promoting sustainable water and renewable energy sources.

They also discussed the framework in Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020 for building a sustainable renewable energy sector, reiterating aims to lead global renewable energy developments over the next decade, and create projects such as the wind-powered plant at Dumat Al-Jandal, as part of the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative.

In a statement, though, Al-Shabanah said: “The Cabinet discussed the announcement made by the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources about the Kingdom’s oil and gas reserves, which highlighted the importance of Saudi Arabia as a secure source of oil supplies in the long term.”

He added, in closing, the Cabinet’s praise for the efforts of Saudi security forces in the tracking and arrest of seven people in Qatif, which foiled a planned terrorist attack.