‘We fully support Saudi stand on Yemen’

‘We fully support Saudi stand on Yemen’
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‘We fully support Saudi stand on Yemen’
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Updated 20 October 2015

‘We fully support Saudi stand on Yemen’

‘We fully support Saudi stand on Yemen’

RIYADH: Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guellah says the Kingdom played a crucial role in the Saudi-led coalition drive to restore hope, legitimacy and stability in Yemen.

“Saudi Arabia and Djibouti are close allies,” he said during an exclusive interview with Arab News. “The stand of our country was declared from the moment Operation Decisive Storm was launched for peace and legitimate rule in Yemen.”
He said: “Our support has always been in favor of the legitimate government of Yemen, led by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi even before the launch of the campaign.”
The president said he had sent a message through his ambassador in Yemen, “in which I expressed our firm support to the legitimate government against the coup carried out by the Al-Houthi militia.”
Spelling out his country’s stand in favor of the territorial integrity, security and stability of Yemen, and the entire region, the president said: “We are, of course, being affected by positive and negative events in Yemen. As you know we received thousands of Yemenis in Djibouti who had taken refuge to escape from the crisis.”
President Guellah said that he was the only head of state who visited Sanaa during the political crisis in response to the invitation of President Hadi to attend the signing of the agreement between the Yemeni political parties.
“So we are supporters of all prudent steps taken by the Kingdom as part of the Arab coalition to support the brothers in Yemen. I fully support King Salman’s brave action when he did not hesitate to support (what was) right and responded to the official request of the Yemeni people through the legitimate elected president to put an end to the coup staged by the Al-Houthi militias,” he said.
The following is the text of the interview:

Q: Mr. President, what are the main objectives of your visit to Riyadh?
A: This visit is to renew contact with my brother Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and discuss with him the latest political developments in the region and the world and coordinate efforts for the benefit of our region and our nation. It also marks an extension of our effort to promote cooperation in the bilateral field in trade, know-how and education, and push it forward for the benefits of our two peoples and the interests of the two countries.

Q: You know that terrorist organizations, led by Al-Qaeda, exist in Yemen and are conducting terrorist operations around the world. What is the role played by Djibouti in this context?
A: My country has contributed for a long time in the fight against terrorism in the region within the framework of international teamwork. And we continue this cooperation with the international community to combat terrorism and organizations that carry extremist ideas aimed at the destruction of the world and humanity, and abuse our Islamic religion. We sent our forces to stand with the Somali government in its fight against the anti-government terrorist organizations. This role will continue unabated for the protection of our country and our region, and the world. We will work with Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries to confront the extremists and highlight the bright side of the true religion, which calls for tolerance and justice. Muslims are affected more than others from these extremist ideas.

Q: Have you followed the stampede in Mina?
A: We already sent condolences to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman. We lost five Djiboutian pilgrims. We think of them and others who were killed in this tragedy as martyrs. The fact that these events naturally occur due to the great number of pilgrims, who meet at a specific time and move together in a narrow space together at the same time, and many of the pilgrims, unfortunately, do not adhere to the instructions unintentionally cause such accidents. But I must point out here that this stampede never detracts from the great role of the government of Saudi Arabia for pilgrims and visitors and the facilities being provided. Security, health care, food and transportation in addition to the great expansion of the Two Holy Mosques, with very sophisticated structures, were all in place. This painful tragedy must not be exploited for political purposes because it will not benefit anyone, but cause political tension between Islamic states.

Q: Can you update us on the current political and trade relationship between Saudi Arabia and Djibouti?
A: The relationship between us and the Kingdom in all areas has been and still is in full swing and prospering. Our political, security, unity and stability under the Arabian umbrella has been in place and growing since we gained our independence in 1977. We are working together to preserve the sovereignty of Arab countries against any foreign intervention. Saudi Arabia and Djibouti are together in all circumstances, and we understand each other. As for the economic ties, Saudi Arabia support is still in place either directly or through Saudi and Arab financial institutions. However, what we aspire to in the coming days is the further activation of trade exchanges. Djibouti acts as the bridge that connects the Kingdom with Middle Africa. We are in the process of establishing a Saudi-Djiboutian joint business council. This will be composed of businessmen in both countries. In the next few months, a Djibouti-Saudi joint committee will be held which will oversee the follow-up and implementation of what is agreed on and push those items which have not been implemented. It will seek to find ways and ideas that would help to develop the economic and development side between the two brotherly countries. Among the priorities that we hope to implement is to link the ports of Djibouti and Saudi Arabia and facilitate procedures that serve not only the two countries but also the Kingdom and the Middle African countries. We also want to seek beneficial cooperation in the areas of scientific research and renewable energy. Likewise, we also promote cultural, sports and educational cooperation and coordination.

Q:What about the role of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa region and the Middle East politically, economically and in security issues?
A: Our country enjoys several advantages such as its strategic location, security and stability. We are Africa’s gateway to the east. We are members of several regional organizations, such as the Common Market Organization for South Eastern Africa (COMESA) and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). In the context of the Arab nation and neighboring Arab states, we are playing a pivotal role. We are keen that Saudi Arabia should be in first place as the main partner.