Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal says offensive will continue until Yemen is returned to security, stability and unity
A Saudi-led alliance will pursue an offensive against Houthi forces opposed to Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi until Yemen is stable, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said in remarks published on Tuesday.
"We are not the ones calling for war. But if you bang the drums of war, we are ready for it," the minister told the kingdom's Shura Council, according to the advisory body's Twitter feed.
The operation "will continue to defend legitimacy in Yemen until it achieves its aims, and Yemen is returned to security, stability and unity", he was quoted as saying.
Seperately, the kingdom’s ambassador to the US has said on American TV that the Saudi-led operation in Yemen is not a proxy war with Iran.
Speaking on NBC News of America, Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubeir denied Yemen was being used as a battlefield to fight Saudi Arabia’s arch nemesis, insisting it was to protect the Yemeni people and defend their legitimate government.
“This campaign is against a group supported by Iran and Hezbollah,” he said during a Meet the Press program.
Saudi Arabia is leading air strikes against Houthi rebels, which have taken over the capital Sana’a and areas of north and central Yemen. The Shia Houthis are politically and financially backed by Iran.
Al Jubeir claimed Saudi Arabia had tried to avoid becoming involved in the conflict but it was forced to resort to military action after diplomatic efforts failed.
Asked whether majority-Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran could coexist in the Middle East, Al Jubeir responded, the kingdom had never attacked Iran while it had faced multiple aggressions from its foe.
“We have extended the hand of friendship to the Iranians, but they have rejected it for the past 35 years. We want friendly relations with them because it will be good for the region, but what is happening is the result of Iranian actions, and not that of the kingdom,” Al Jubeir said.
He said the kingdom was “waiting to see the outcome” of nuclear negotiations between Iran and Western countries before it would assess the impact on the region.