World Yemen Foreign Minister calls for military intervention by Gulf

Yemen Foreign Minister calls for military intervention by Gulf

Yemen's President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi
Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi

(AA) – Yemen’s acting Foreign Minster Riyad Yassin on Monday called for intervention by “Peninsula Shield” – the Gulf States’ joint military force – to protect Yemen’s borders and vital facilities from Shiite Houthi militants.

“We’ve called on the UN and the international community to impose a no-fly zone and bar the use of warplanes at airports under Houthi control,” Yassin was quoted as saying in an interview with Saudi-owned daily Asharq Alawsat.

Yassin’s statements come one day after Houthi militants took control of an airport in Yemen’s central city of Taizz, along with several other important sites in the city, before heading towards the southern provinces.

The Houthi takeover of Taizz took place three days after a Houthi fighter jet on Thursday bombed the presidential palace in the southern city of Aden.

Yassin claimed the attack on the presidential palace had been carried out by Iranian Revolutionary Guard fighter jets.

The acting foreign minister said his country had called for the intervention of “Peninsula Shield” forces to protect Yemen’s borders and vital facilities before the Houthis “destroy the entire country.”

Yassin did not say when he had made the request, nor did he clarify the response he received from Gulf countries.

Yemeni officials accuse Shiite Iran of supporting the Houthis financially and militarily as part of a wider proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia that also involves Lebanon, Syria and Iraq – claims Tehran denies.

On Sunday, President Abd Rabbuh Mansour urged the UN Security Council (UNSC) to halt the “aggression” of Shiite Houthi militants by invoking Chapter 7 of the UN charter, which allows the use of military force.

UN Special Adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar, for his part, warned on Sunday that the country was on a “rapid downward spiral” toward the “edge of civil war.”

“Emotions are running extremely high and, unless solutions can be found, the country will fall into further violent confrontations,” Benomar told an emergency session of the UNSC via video conference.

The situation in Yemen has deteriorated rapidly in recent months, with the Houthi group seeking to expand its influence beyond capital Sanaa, which it took over last September.

The UNSC has condemned the Houthi takeover of much of the country, warning of “further measures” if the Shiite group failed to relinquish government institutions it had seized earlier.

The Security Council expressed its support for Hadi, who fled to the southern port city of Aden following the Houthi takeover of Sanaa.

The fractious Arab state has remained in a state of turmoil since pro-democracy protests forced autocratic President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down in 2012 after 33 years in power.

The UNSC also decried the fact that the Houthis had not implemented its demands – articulated in a Feb. 15 council resolution – to “immediately and unconditionally” withdraw their forces from Sanaa and relinquish all government and security institutions.

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