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International reactions to the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen of 2015 were mixed. Most other Arab League nations and several Western governments backed the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition, but other governments warned against an escalation in the violent situation in Yemen.

Political responses and commentary[edit | edit source]

Supranational[edit | edit source]

  •  Arab League — Delegates to the Arab League voted to study the formation of a joint military force on 29 March, days after the intervention in Yemen began. Secretary-General Naril Elaraby affirmed that the intervention would "continue until Houthi militias withdraw and submit their weapons" and asserted that the international operation was necessary.[1]
  •  European Union — The European Union criticized the military intervention. It suggested that military intervention would not solve the crisis and expressed concern about the "serious regional repercussions" after the Saudi military intervention in Yemen, describing that this move is not a solution, urging regional powers to "act responsibly". European Union reiterates its support for all efforts by the United Nations.[2][3]
  • 23x15px Organisation of Islamic Cooperation — Iyad Ameen Madani, secretary-general of the OIC, criticised the Houthis and said military action was made inevitable by their actions. He said he hoped the intervention would restore stability to Yemen.[4]
  •  United Nations — Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said the UN is "looking into more details", adding that the UN does not believe in military actions to resolve the Yemeni conflict.[5] Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned that Yemen appeared to be verging on "total collapse". He expressed concern about civilian casualties, including those apparently caused by a Saudi airstrike on a camp for displaced persons in northern Yemen.[6] Russia called an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council for 4 April to discuss calling for "humanitarian pauses" in the airstrikes.[7]

National[edit | edit source]

  •  Afghanistan — The Afghan government announced its support for the military intervention by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.[8]
  •  Algeria – Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria Ramtane Lamamra expressed "very great and deep concern" about the events in Yemen and said the "escalation of violence" would only make the situation worse.[9] Lamamra reportedly presented a ceasefire initiative at an Arab League summit in Egypt calling for the Houthis to withdraw from Sana'a and the Yemeni House of Representatives to resume meeting in exchange for an end to the bombing campaign and security guarantees for the Houthis and their allies.[10]
  •  Australia – Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop on April 14, 2015 said she shared the view of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in calling for a ceasefire. She believes all parties involved in the conflict in Yemen should go back to the negotiating table.[11]
  •  Bangladesh — The Foreign ministry said in a statement that Bangladesh deplored acts of violence perpetrated by Houthis on the people of Yemen "resulting in humanitarian crisis." "Bangladesh supports all efforts led by Saudi Arabia in restoring the legitimate state authority and realisation of aspirations of the people of Yemen, as well as upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen,” it said. Bangladesh also urged for resumption of political process guided by the commitment made by the parties within the Gulf Cooperation Council Framework, the National Dialogue Conference outcomes and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.[12]
  •  Canada – On 27 March, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson issued a statement on the situation in Yemen, saying “Canada supports the military action by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] partners and others to defend Saudi Arabia’s border and to protect Yemen’s recognized government at the request of the Yemeni president."[13]
  •  China — The Chinese government expressed deep concern over the situation in Yemen. It urged instead all parties to resolve the dispute through dialogue.[14]
  •  Djibouti - Djibouti supports foreign military intervention in Yemen and is prepared to help evacuate its nationals if the security situation there deteriorates, said Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf. Youssouf warned on 2 April that the Houthis had installed heavy weapons on islands in the Bab al-Mandeb strait, and he urged coalition forces to remove them, saying they endangered Djibouti and international shipping.[15]
  •  Eritrea — In a statement, the Eritrean Foreign Ministry said it viewed the Yemeni crisis "as an internal matter". Eritrea denied allegations that it provided support to the Houthis.[16] In late April, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki visited Saudi Arabia for talks on bilateral relations and the situation in Yemen. The two countries reportedly reached a security and martial accord centered on counter-terrorism, illicit trade and maritime security in the Red Sea area, as well as averting "foreign interference" in Yemen's internal affairs.[17]
  •  Ethiopia — Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said his country stands with Sudan, a neighbour and member of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. He said the intervention was justified to protect the Yemeni government and defeat the Houthis.[18]
  •  France — According to the Saudi newspaper Arab News, the French Embassy in Riyadh released a statement reiterating its support of Hadi's government and concluding, "France stands by its partners in the region to restore stability and unity of Yemen."[19]
    • French foreign minister Laurent Fabius expressed his political support for the Saudi-led intervention during an official visit to Riyadh.[20]
  •  Germany — Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, said he "can understand" Saudi Arabia's decision to mount a military intervention and acknowledged the operation had "support from the region" and was at Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi's request. However, he said the crisis could not be solved by violence and urged a negotiated solution.[21]
  •  Indonesia — Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin expressed concerns over the military intervention and hoped that it will end soon and wouldn't worsen.[22]
  •  Iran — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the military intervention a "dangerous development which will destabilize a region",[23] and the Foreign Ministry demanded an immediate halt on all "military aggressions" in Yemen,[24] Iran described and warned that Riyadh was taking a 'dangerous step'.[25] making clear that the Saudi deployment of a Sunni coalition against Shi'ite enemies would complicate efforts to end a conflict likely to inflame the sectarian animosities fuelling wars around the Middle East. A senior official said military intervention in Yemen is not an option for Tehran.[26] “We demand an immediate stop to the Saudi military operations in Yemen,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with Iran's Arabic-language al-Alam news network on Thursday, according to Press TV.[27][28] According to Iran's official news agency, Iran's deputy foreign minister has asked Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General, to do everything possible to immediately halt Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen.[29]
    • Supreme leader Ali Khamenei denounced the Saudi bombings, calling them acts of genocide. He went on to say that Saudi Arabia "will not emerge victorious in its aggression."[30] Khamenei also compared Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen to Israel's military operation in Gaza last summer and said Israel was not successful in Gaza (small area), so definitely Saudi Arabia will not be successful in big country like Yemen.[31]
  •  Iraq — Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari expressed the Iraqi government's opposition to the intervention at an Arab League summit on 26 March.[32]
  •  Israel – On 29 March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Iran's purported support for the Houthis, saying "the Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous for humanity and needs to be stopped," in a reference to ongoing nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1.[33][34][35][36][37] There were also some unconfirmed reports by Houthis regarding Israel's direct involvement in Yemen.[38]
  •  Lebanon – Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam's reaction to the intervention was described by Beirut-based newspaper The Daily Star as "ambiguous". Salam said at an Arab League summit on 28 March that Lebanon backs "any Arab stance that preserves Yemen’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in addition to the cohesion of its social fabric". He also asked the Arab League not to involve Lebanon in any "regional struggles", an apparent reference to the conflict.[39]
    • Seyed Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of the Lebanese Hezbollah, in a 27 March speech strongly censured Saudi Arabia for its "aggression" against Yemen. He claimed that Saudis decided to invade Yemen because they realized they were losing their influence and control over the country. He praised Iran for "respecting the will of the regions people" and "sympathizing with their causes." He further accused Saudi Arabia of betraying the struggle against Israel as the main Arab cause.[40] Nasrallah said Hezbollah would have joined the fight if it were against Israel, rather than Arabs.[41][42]
    • Saad Hariri, former Prime Minister of Lebanon, praised Saudi King Salman for what he described as his “wise and brave” decision for military operation against the Houthi rebels. He blamed Iran's intervention in regional conflicts for the current turmoil in the region and supported Saudi Arabia for uniting the Arabs by the action it is carrying out in Yemen.[43]
  •  Malaysia — Malaysia's Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein has affirmed his country support to Yemeni Hadi's government and Saudi Arabia measures to protect its security and sovereignty.[45][46] While Malaysian Army commander stressed Malaysia's support for the Saudi-led “Decisive Storm” operation to protect the Yemeni people and their legitimate president.[47]
  •  New Zealand — New Zealand's Deputy-Foreign Minister Bead Curry supported Iran's plan for sending humanitarian aid, promoting cessation of hostilities, and national dialogue and unity government in the country on April 14, 2015.[48]
  •  Oman — Despite being member of Gulf Cooperation Council, Oman has decided not to join the coalition, but providing humanitarian aid to Yemenis.[49][50] The Omani government has said that it had helped "nationals from 48 countries" leave Yemen and return to their home countries, and that it had taken in 2,695 refugees from Yemen as of mid-April 2015.[51]
  •  Pakistan - After Saudi disclosure about Pakistan's participation,[52][53][54] it was reported on various Pakistan's news channels and published in the newspapers that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif re-affirmed that any risk to Saudi Arabia's territorial integrity would evoke a strong response from Pakistan and the Pakistani military, which would react with full force if anyone tried to violate the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia,[55] but Pakistan is not directly participating in the military intervention.[56][57] The Pakistani Parliament voted to adopt a policy of neutrality toward the conflict in Yemen, rebuffing a direct request from Saudi Arabia to commit troops and aircraft to the operation, to the anger of Gulf officials.[58] However, on 17 April, Sharif said Pakistan would dispatch warships to enforce the arms embargo against the Houthis in support of the Saudi-led coalition.[59]
    • Pakistan's left-wing opposition and a socialist Pakistan Peoples Party has warned against participating in the conflict, advising the ruling conservative party, the PML(N), "to restore peace and not to participate in war."[60] Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, another major political party, has condemned the military intervention in Yemen.[61][62]
    • In a press release by Foreign Office's spokeswoman, Tasnim Aslam, Pakistan has refused to be a part of any military campaign that divides the Muslim Ummah, hence adopting the strict neutrality in the conflict.[55] A senior official in Sharif ministry eventually confirmed the "policy of neutrality" in the conflict, quoting: "Pakistan will not be involved in any action in Yemen itself but will provide support to the Saudis on their own soil if they are threatened."[63]
    • Many in Pakistan protested against the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen and popular public opinion is opposed for any support of the military intervention.[64]
    • News media in Pakistan is being speculated that Pakistan will not take part in the Sunni Muslim-led campaign against the Shiite Muslim Houthis in Yemen as Pakistan have sizable Shia Islam follower as well enjoy cordial relations with Iran and China who strongly opposed the military intervention.[65] Addition, Pakistan is a country that has stronger ties and historical relations with both Iran and Saudi Arabia, maintaining balance with both states. In a session with Parliament, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif marked: "We are not and will not fan any conflict that will divide the Muslim world on sectarian lines."[66][67]
    • Although Pakistan government has repeatedly rejected the claims,[68] numerous foreign news media reported that Pakistan is a participant in the coalition force and quoted an unnamed senior government official.[69][70] Saudi Arabia has asked for both "material and manpower" support from Pakistan— this request was made when National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz, Special convey Tariq Fatemi, and Defence Minister Muhammad Asif paid an urgent visit to Saudi Arabia.[71] Despite Saudi pressure on Pakistan, Prime Minister Sharif took an emergency trip to Turkey to discuss the issue and to address the security issues in Yemen.[72] According to the Foreign Ministry's officials, the Iranian Foreign minister Javed Zarif paid an urgent visit to Islamabad on 8 April to discuss the issue in Yemen.[73]
    • The Pakistani lawmakers in Pakistan's parliament participated in broader debate over the complexity and issues involving the Saudi Arabia's request, and on 8 April, the MQM– a liberal party– has spoken out against getting involved in Yemen with opposition as MQM's senator Tahir Hussain Mashadi stating that the "aggressor" was Saudi Arabia and the victims were the Yemenis.[74]
  •  Palestinian Authority — The Palestinian National Authority announced their support of what they called the Arab coalition and said a similar coalition should be created against Hamas who it claimed had illegally taken over the Gaza Strip during a 2007 coup.[75]
    • Flag of Hamas.svg Hamas — On 30 March Hamas announced its support of the Saudi-led coalition.[76]
  •  Russia — President Vladimir Putin sent a letter to the Arab League calling for an "immediate cessation of military activities" in Yemen. The Kremlin also recommended increased efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.[77] Russia also introduced a draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling for a ceasefire on April 4.[78]
  •  Somalia — President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud indicated that the Federal Government of Somalia supported the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. In response to calls from President of Yemen Abd Rabbuh Mansur for a collective counter-insurgency effort on the part of the Arab League states, Mohamud also noted that the nation would continue to stand by the Yemeni government.[79] Foreign Minister of Somalia Abdisalam Omer likewise reiterated his administration's support for the legitimacy of Yemen's incumbent government.[80] He also officially confirmed that the Somali federal government had permitted the coalition to use Somalia's airspace, territorial waters and land.[81] It likewise offered to share its stabilization-related experience with the Saudi-led forces.[82] The approval came after Somalia had leased its airspace to the Gulf states, with Bosaso in the northeast and Berbera in the northwest scheduled to be used by the coalition forces due to their proximity to Yemen.[83]
    •  Somaliland — The separatist administration of the Somaliland autonomous region in northwestern Somalia objected to the Somali federal government's decision, arguing that it was an "independent" administration and that the waters fell under its jurisdiction.[84]
  •  Syria — The Syrian Foreign Ministry expressed "deep" concern over the situation in Yemen. While Syria stressed the need to respect the sovereignty of Yemen and its independence, it called on all Yemeni parties to embark on a dialogue to reach a political solution that meets the aspirations and will of the Yemeni people.[85]
    • Syria Syrian National Coalition — The Syrian opposition group called the intervention in Yemen "a sound and deterrent step", suggesting it opened the door to a broader intervention against Iranian influence elsewhere in the Arab world. In addition to supporting the Houthis, Iran is a major backer of the Syrian government.[86]
  •  Tunisia — Foreign Minister in a press statement said they're concerned about the serious developments in Yemen and urged for dialogues.[87]
  •  Turkey — President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey supported the Saudi-led military operation in Yemen. He also criticised Iran's regional ambitions in both Yemen and Iraq.[88] However, in a joint meeting between Iran and Turkey, both nations agreed that a political solution is needed in Yemen, despite being on opposing sides of the conflict.[89]
  •  United Kingdom — The Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced support for the Saudi decision to intervene military in Yemen "following president Hadi's request for support". However the UK will not be providing military support, they also pledged to continue aid to Yemen.[90]
  • United States — A National Security Council spokeswoman said the US would work jointly with Saudi Arabia to provide military and intelligence support while not participating in "direct military action".[91] President Barack Obama declared that he had authorized US forces to provide logistical and intelligence support to the operation against Houthis as a "Joint Planning Cell' with Saudi Arabia.[92] US support has included UAV video feeds to aid Saudi airstrike targeting, refueling of Saudi fighter aircraft, and search-and-rescue support in the Gulf of Aden.[93]
    • Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said in April that the parties to the conflict should "end the fighting" and restart a political dialogue.[94]

Others[edit | edit source]

  • Red Cross — The International Committee of the Red Cross is worried by the recent escalation of violence in Yemen and expressed concern on March 26 at reports of civilian casualties following air strikes in the capital Sana'a and other parts of the country. Edric Schweizer, head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen, told "All parties involved in the current round of violence are bound by the rules governing the conduct of hostilities."[95]
  • International Crisis Group — The ICG concluded in a 27 March briefing that action by UNSC to observe prompt truce with the aim of restoring the suspended negotiations was needed. The ICG has also recommended priorities for negotiations, namely having Saudi Arabia persuade Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi to give up power and holding talks in neutral Oman.[96]
  • Oxfam — On April 19, international aid agency Oxfam condemned Saudi Arabia over airstrikes it said hit one of its warehouses containing humanitarian supplies in the Houthi northern stronghold of Saada.[97]
  • Amnesty International — Amnesty International said some of the coalition's air strikes "appear to have failed to take necessary precautions to minimize harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects".[98]
  • Reporters Without Borders — Condemned a strike in Sanaa on 20 April that caused the deaths of four employees of Al-Yemen Al-Youm TV and injured ten others; it also condemned attacks on journalists by pro-Houthi forces.[99]

Evacuations and other actions[edit | edit source]

The Royal Saudi Navy evacuated diplomats and United Nations staff from Aden to Jeddah on 28 March.[100]

Pakistan dispatched two special PIA flights to evacuate some 500 stranded Pakistanis on 29 March 2015.[101] Several UN staff members and Arab diplomats were also evacuated following the airstrikes.[102]

The Indian government responded by deploying ships and planes to Yemen to evacuate stranded Indians. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj told that since all the airports in Yemen were closed, the plan was to bring people to the neighbouring country of Djibouti by vessel and from there to India via aircraft.[103] India began evacuating hundreds of its citizens on 2 April, via a commercial liner docked in Aden port.[104] An air evacuation of Indian nationals from Sana'a to Djibouti was carried out on 3 April, after the Indian government obtained permission to land two Airbus A320s at the airport.[105] The Indian Armed Forces carried out rescue operation codenamed Operation Raahat evacuated more than 4640 overseas along with 960 foreign nationals of 41 countries. The operation ended on 11 April 2015.[106][107][108][109][110][111]

A Chinese missile frigate docked in Aden on 29 March to evacuate Chinese nationals from Yemen.[112] The ship reportedly deployed soldiers ashore on 2 April to guard the evacuation of civilians from the city.[113] The Chinese frigate evacuated 225 foreign citizens from 10 different countries in what Reuters described as "the first time that China's military has helped other countries evacuate their people during an international crisis". China also evacuated 571 of its own nationals and eight foreigners who worked for Chinese companies in Yemen.[114]

The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said it would airlift its citizens out of Yemen if they requested to be evacuated.[115] There were reportedly more than 50,000 Ethiopian nationals living and working in Yemen at the outbreak of hostilities.[18]

Malaysia also planned to evacuate its 879 citizens from Yemen, according to its Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, but it was unclear whether they would be moved out by air or land.[116]

References[edit | edit source]

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