Author: NOOR NUGALITue, 2018-02-13 03:00ID: 1518467686722588300
RIYADH: The Saudi-led Arab coalition will not change its strategy following the appointment of a new UN envoy to Yemen, its spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki told Arab News on Monday during a press conference in Riyadh.
“Our peace strategy won’t change under any circumstances,” he said.
“The coalition seeks peace. The legitimate government of Yemen seeks peace. We’re trying to find a political solution.”
He welcomed any international efforts to restore peace in Yemen, saying this is in full accordance with the coalition’s principles to stand by the Yemeni people
He added that 544,037 civilians have been helped by the Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations (YCHO) relief program in collaboration with the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief).
In addition to ongoing humanitarian work in Yemen, three initiatives to combat cholera will be signed on Tuesday by the YCHO and KSRelief, Al-Maliki said.
Aid, such as food, housing, health care and fuel, has been delivered to rehabilitate infrastructure in various Yemeni governorates, he added.
The coalition gave permission 18,557 times for evacuation and humanitarian operations by land, sea and air from March 26, 2015, to Feb. 12, 2018, he said.
The coalition looks forward to more partnerships with various international relief agencies, he added.
Al-Maliki presented a slideshow of humanitarian efforts to reach out to needy Yemeni families in various regions, especially those still controlled by Iran-backed Houthi militias.
He accused the Houthis of recruiting Yemeni children and those of other nationalities as soldiers, despite global condemnation.
“This is a violation of humanitarian and international law,” he said, adding that Feb. 12 is Red Hand Day, or the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers.
“We call on all families and individuals in Yemen to care for children and not send them to fight with the armed Houthi militia, for they’ll be put on the frontlines,” he said.
“The coalition is working with the UN to help protect these children. Three weeks ago, 27 children were handed to Yemen’s legitimate army by the Red Cross. Before that, 52 children were handed over who had been participating in military operations,” he added.
“The coalition is working with international community to stop recruiting children to fight in Yemen.”
The coalition will also work with Yemen’s internationally recognized government to ensure that all humanitarian organizations are able to operate in the country, Al-Maliki said.
The Houthis have so far fired 95 ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia, he added. Coalition forces have stopped several border-incursion attempts from Yemen, and six Houthi commanders have been killed in recent days, he said.
Noting military progress in various Yemeni governorates, Al-Maliki reaffirmed the coalition’s determination to support the country’s legitimate army in its efforts to liberate areas under Houthi control, and to defend the borders of Saudi Arabia.
He condemned Houthi attacks against private property, saying this shows that the militias have lost their humanity, do not respect international laws and conventions, and are desperate amid considerable losses in territory and military equipment.
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