S Arabia ready to take 'necessary measures' in Yemen
Foreign minister says kingdom is prepared to protect Yemen’s sovereignty, blaming Iran for alleged role in turmoil.
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has said the kingdom is ready "to take necessary measures if needed" over Yemen's political crisis, after denouncing Iran's alleged role in the turmoil as an "act of aggression."
Prince Saud Al Faisal said on Monday that Riyadh would protect Yemen's sovereignty after the country's embattled government, holed up in the southern port city of Aden, asked Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations for military assistance.
Iran has been repeatedly accused of supporting the Houthis, the armed group that seized the capital Sanaa in September, an allegation both Tehran and the group deny.
"We are against Iran's intervention in Yemen ... it is actually an act of aggression," the minister said.
"We are keen on protecting Yemen’s sovereignty, the legitimacy of Yemen represented by President Hadi.
"We hope that the crisis can be resolved peacefully and we are ready to respond to any demand that the president requests, whatever it is to support him.
"We are ready to take the necessary measures if needed," he said.
Riyadh Yaseen, Yemen's newly-appointed foreign minister, has asked for military intervention from the GCC and the imposition of a no-fly zone by the United Nations.
The GCC is an alliance of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE and Oman; and its Peninsula Shield Force boasts about 40,000 troops and has a permanent base in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province.
"We've had enough, we can't watch them occupying airports and cities, destroying Yemen's infrastructure, and we sit there and watch", Yaseen told Al Jazeera on Monday. "We can't allow Iran to take over our country."
The request came a day after Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, the Saudi interior minister, said the GCC was ready to take "all efforts" to defend the country's security.
"Yemen is sliding into a dark tunnel which would have serious consequences not only on Yemen but on security and stability in the region," because "the security of Yemen and of the GCC countries is an indivisible whole," he said.
Earlier this year, the Houthis put Hadi, the elected president, under house arrest, and appointed Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a cousin of the group's leader, as the new president.
Sunni Gulf countries have since lined up to support Hadi and have moved their embassies to Aden to back him against the Shia group.
Hadi, who is also backed by Western states, has been struggling to reassert his authority since escaping house arrest and fleeing to Aden last month.
The Houthis have continued to seize more parts of the country and on Saturday took control of parts of the strategic city of Taiz, as they pushed further south towards Aden.
The group, which hails from the northern region of Saada, insists its territorial advance is an outgrowth of its growing popular support.
Source: Al Jazeera