The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia affirmed Monday that the Operation Decisive Storm against the Houthi militia in Yemen continues to draw regional and international support while several countries are evacuating their nationals from Yemen.
The Saudi cabinet, during a session chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh, appreciated the Yemeni community in the Kingdom for their support to the Saudi-led coalition and the allies for their commitment to defending the legitimacy in Yemen.
The cabinet affirmed that the ten-member military operation aims to restore legitimacy and security to neighborly Yemen and help the oppressed people there, affirming that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never been an advocate of war.
The main objective of the coalition is to maintain Yemen's legitimacy, national unity, territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty, therefore the coalition enjoys extensive blessing and support of Arab and Islamic nations and the world, the cabinet said in a statement.
In Cairo, Spokesman of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry Badr Abdelatty said his government evacuated at least 525 nationals from Yemen since the start of the military operation on March 26.
Roughly 145 Egyptians were evacuated on Monday from Yemen through Saudi Arabia, the spokesman said.
He noted that the Foreign Ministry is coordinating with friendly countries and private companies to evacuate more Egyptians from Sanaa, Capital of Yemen by air, land or sea.
Egyptian diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Djibouti are exerting more efforts to facilitate the process of evacuation, he pointed out.
According to official figures, the number of Egyptians in Yemen ranges between 6,000 and 7,000 workers.
Spokesman for the coalition Brig. Ahmad Asiri said, in his daily briefing in Riyadh, that the coalition forces are doing their utmost to facilitate the evacuation of foreign nationals stranded in Yemen.
Eleven staffers of the International Committee of the Red Cross were evacuated Monday and several others will be evacuated on Tuesday, he said.
The coalition aircraft continued in the past 24 hours bombardment and targeting of Houthi militias' weapons and ammunition stores, camps and the main supplying routes, he said.
Brig. Asiri asserted that the coalition forces are targeting the reinforcements sent by the Houthi militias and their allies towards the southern city of Aden, especially from Shabwah and Adali'.
He added that fierce battles are going on in the city between the popular committees, loyal to the legitimate President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, backed by the coalition forces and the Houthi militias and their allies.
The Houthi militants are now trapped inside the Yemeni army's camps, which they captured recently, he said, clarifying that when they come out, they become easy targets for coalition aircraft.
Asiri noted that the Huothi militias no longer have military targets to attack, so they have started committing hostile acts against the population.
On the activity of Al-Qaeda militants in Al-Mukalla Province, Brig. Asiri said that the Houthis have released Al-Qaeda prisoners there to create chaos and distract the coalition forces away from the main battle.
He stressed that the coalition forces would forge ahead to achieve the objectives of the military campaign.
The safety of population is a top priority for the coalition forces, therefore they would not preoccupied at this stage with the activities of Al-Qaeda elements who are sheltering in densely-populated areas in Al-Mukalla, but if necessity arises, they would deal with them, Asiri said.
Meanwhile, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Saudi Arabia Dr. Ashok Nigam appreciated the Saudi humanitarian effort for the Yemeni people and the foreigners trapped in the conflict.
During his meeting with Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Dr. Nigam spoke highly of the Saudi quick response to the needs of UN workers in Yemen willing to move to a safer areas.
The Saudi efforts, at the behest of Prince Mohammad, led to the evacuation of some 100 UN workers from Yemen, Nigam added.
In Manamah, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said the "Operation Decisive Storm" was necessary to safeguard regional security and stability and establish the firm principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of any Arab country.
During a cabinet meeting chaired by him, the king emphasized that Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states and other Arab countries stand united to support legitimacy in any Arab country and reject any coup attempt meant to turn any Arab country into "a bastion of regional or foreign forces." He reiterated Bahrain's continued commitment to the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi militia and supporters of Yemen's ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh. In Jeddah, southwest Saudi Arabia, a senior Kuwaiti diplomat confirmed said his country was in contact with other GCC states for providing immediate support by all means, including military intervention, to protect Yemen and its people.
Director of the Department of International Organizations at the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jassem Al-Mubaraki said that this position came out of the contractual obligations of the State of Kuwait within the framework of the GCC and the Arab League Council.
He noted that the military intervention in Yemen was in consistency with Article 51 of the UN Charter, Article 2 of the Arab League Charter, articles 2 and 3 of the joint Arab defense treaty, and articles 2 and 3 of the GCC joint defense treaty.
In statements to KUNA on sidelines of the high-level meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ambassador Al-Mubaraki said the intervention aims to maintain security and stability in the Gulf Cooperation Council as an integral responsibility that lies on all the GCC countries.
In Sanaa, security sources said the Chinese Embassy closed down its doors and all its diplomatic staff left the country for home.
The embassy staffers left from Al-Hudaidah Seaport, west Yemen, on board of a Chinese warship.
Earlier in the day the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the evacuation of the last 24 Chinese nationals in Yemen.
This is the first time for China to close its embassy in Sanaa since its opening more than 50 years ago. Most embassies and diplomatic missions in Yemen have closed down due to the deteriorating security situation.
In Moscow the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated his call for a ceasefire in Yemen. In a phone call with Saudi Arabia counterpart Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Lavrov also called for starting a comprehensive dialogue among all Yemenis under the sponsorship of UN.
The two ministers discussed Saudi-Russia cooperation, including evacuation of Russian nationals and the importance of sustaining cooperation in future, according to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Earlier, Lavrov said his country was making contacts with Saudi Arabia to ensure safety of Russian planes that evacuate citizens from Yemen.
"We maintain contact with our partners in Saudi Arabia that help ensure security of each flight (of Russian planes to Yemen)," Lavrov told a news conference. "This is so far done in a manual mode. We have managed to avoid any unpleasant incidents so far," he said.
"Everybody should stop fighting and return to the process for the achievement of national conciliation in Yemen," he said. Lavrov voiced hope that the UN Security Council will support "Moscow's humanitarian initiative for Yemen."