Saudi troops arrive in Yemen's disputed Socotra island reportedly for joint drills

15 May, 2018, 03:48 | Author: Misty Newman
  • Abdel Fatah el Sisi of Egypt and Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia

A contingent of the armed forces of Saudi Arabia have landed on the Yemeni island of Socotra, which has caused conflict between Yemen and another member of the Sunni coalition - the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Al Zayani said that the Gulf initiative to resolve the Yemeni crisis has received support from Arab, regional and global countries, pointing out that Yemen is a neighbor of the GCC countries that are working to address the Yemeni crisis through six tracks.

The Yemeni prime minister went on to hail the Saudi mediation to ease tension over Socotra Island and UAE support against Houthi rebels.

He might hold a meeting with Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Riyadh on the latest developments in Yemen's Socotra island and elsewhere.

Yemen and the UAE are allies in the Saudi-led coalition, but relations between the two countries soured amid concerns among Yemeni officials over the UAE's growing influence in southern Yemen. Iran must respect the Charter of the United Nations (UN) and stop providing Houthis and terrorists with missiles threatening the area, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

According to the agreement, "newly-recruited Yemeni troops will be in charge of protecting the key government facilities in Socotra including the airport".

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The resolution of the weeks-long dispute came a day after Saudi Arabia deployed troops to the strategic island and signed a deal with the UAE to return the island's sea and airports to Yemeni forces, according to state-run Saba news agency.

"Yes, Yemenis are poor but they fight for their sovereignty,"The UAE foreign ministry, in a statement on Socotra, said it backed Yemen´s legitimate government and sought "to establish peace and stability and to support developmental projects for the island´s residents".

"The Yemeni people will not give up any of their sovereign territories, including the strategic island of Socotra", the Yemeni government said in an official statement last week.

The island of Socotra was isolated from the land millions of years ago.

The Houthi Shiite rebel group is aligned with Iran and has been fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen since 2015.

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