UAE-Saudi coalition strategic necessity in Yemen

Minister of State for Foreign affairs tweets his support for Riyadh's 'pivotal and leading role'

Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said on Sunday the Saudi coalition was "a strategic necessity in light of the surrounding challenges", especially in Yemen.

"As a result of our strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia, it is the one deciding whether to continue our role in supporting stability in Yemen within the Arab Coalition or not," Dr Gargash tweeted.

"Our engagement with Riyadh is ontological and more comprehensive, especially in the surrounding difficult circumstances and in light of our firm conviction of Riyadh's pivotal and leading role."

The UAE has pledged to the UN that it will exert every effort to calm matters in southern Yemen after recent clashes between Coalition-supported local forces that are allies in the fight against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

“We must not forget the important part my country has played in the liberation of Aden and most of the country occupied by the Houthi rebellion," Saud Al Shamsi, the UAE's deputy permanent representative and charge d'affaires to the UN, told the Security Council last week.

"The UAE has prevented the terrorist parties from taking advantage of the security vacuum during this critical and difficult phase of Yemen's life, and the UAE has managed to play a great part in reconstructing the liberated areas.”

The UAE and Saudi leaders attended a meeting in early August in Makkah to discuss the situation.

Saudi King Salman and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, urged all parties to "prioritise dialogue and reason in the interest of Yemen and its people".

The clashes in southern Yemen have complicated the Coalition's efforts to restore Yemen's internationally recognised government and root out extremist groups such as Al Qaeda.

The Houthi rebels continue to hold the capital, Sanaa, and areas of northern and western Yemen.

A groundbreaking ceasefire deal in the vital port city of Hodeidah, brokered by the UN as part of its effort to find a political solution to the conflict, has yet to be fully implemented eight months after it was agreed at talks in Sweden.

The Houthis shelled UN food stores in Hodeidah on Friday, and have escalated drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months.

On Sunday, the Coalition intercepted another rebel drone targeting cities in the south of the kingdom.

"The coalition forces intercepted and downed a drone launched from the city of Sanaa in the direction of Khamis Mushait's residential neighbourhoods," coalition spokesman Col Turki Al Malki told the official Saudi Press Agency.

While most of the rebel attacks have been intercepted, some have caused deaths and injuries, including two strikes on Abha airport in June and July.