Thousands of Yemeni troops along Saudi border side with President Hadi
ADEN – Reuters
AFP PhotoThe Yemeni commander of a vast military district covering half the country’s border with Saudi Arabia pledged support to Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on April 19, local officials said.
The announcement puts at least 15,000 troops in the desert border area on the same side as the kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter, after three weeks of an inconclusive bombing campaign it has led against Iran-allied Houthi rebels.
Yemen’s government has rejected a four-point peace plan for the country that Iran submitted to the United Nations, a spokesman said on April 18.
The conflict, though rooted in local rivalries, has been described as a proxy war between predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran, both top OPEC oil producers.
The Iranian plan calls for an immediate ceasefire and end of all foreign military attacks, humanitarian assistance, a resumption of broad national dialogue and “establishment of an inclusive national unity government.”
“We reject the Iranian initiative,” Yemeni government spokesman Rajeh Badi told Reuters by telephone from Qatar’s capital, Doha. “The goal of the initiative is only a political maneuver.”
Yemen’s government and its main supporter, Saudi Arabia, have accused Iran of meddling in Yemen’s affairs as part of an effort to dominate the region. Iran denies the allegations.
Iran has also dismissed accusations it is providing direct military support to Houthi fighters, Shi’ites from the north who have been closing in on the southern port city of Aden.