(WASHINGTON, DC) - Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir today expressed confidence that military operations in Yemen were on track to achieve the goal of securing peace.
Speaking to a group of foreign policy experts and congressional staffers at a Capitol Hill forum, Ambassador Al-Jubeir said, “The coalition’s activities are achieving their objectives, it will take a little bit more time, but we’re determined to prevail in Yemen.” He continued, “We are determined to strengthen and restore the legitimate government of Yemen and protect the people of Yemen from this radical group,” backed by Iran.
The Ambassador said Saudi Arabia and its allies have repeatedly attempted to negotiate a peaceful solution with the Houthis who have broken their promises and escalated their military campaign, making it necessary for the coalition to respond.
He said that the coalition’s air strikes have targeted the Houthi militias’ air force, air bases, ballistic missiles and heavy weapon depots, and that claims that the coalition’s air force targeted civilian areas were false. Houthi militias have bombed these facilities to generate sympathy for themselves and hostility towards the coalition’s forces, he said.
A ground offensive is not under consideration at the present time, he told the group, but said that there are sufficient forces positioned and prepared should that change.
He underlined the coalition’s goal – that the fighting ends soon so that a process leading to a political solution can be resumed.
“We recognize the Houthis are Yemenis. We recognize that the Houthis have a right to be part of the political process in Yemen and we are not denying this,” stated Ambassador Al-Jubeir. “But they cannot be a militia and they cannot have heavy weapons outside the scope of the state. That is a situation that is not tolerable. We see the consequences of that in Lebanon with Hezbollah, where a militia pretty much dominates the state and threatens state institutions. We will not allow this to happen on our doorstep in Yemen.”
The forum was hosted by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. Video: http://bit.ly/1Ho6LQn