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US welcomes end to Saudi-led military operation in Yemen

April 22, 2015, 6:32 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
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WASHINGTON, April 22. /TASS/. The US welcomes Saudi Arabia’s decision to end military operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen, National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said on Tuesday.

"The United States welcomes today's announcement by the government of Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners of the conclusion of Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen," Baskey said. "We continue to support the resumption of a UN-facilitated political process and the facilitation of humanitarian assistance," he added.

On Tuesday, the Saudi-led coalition announced the end of a military operation "Storm of Resolve" in Yemen. Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri said "the alliance had achieved its military goals in Yemen through the campaign dubbed ‘Storm of Resolve’ and will now begin a new operation called ‘Restoring Hope’." "The mission will focus on security at home and counter-terrorism, aid and a political solution in Yemen," he added.

The decision to end the military operation in Yemen was made after a deal was reached in Cairo, Mareb Press said. "The coalition made a decision to end the operation after a deal on political settlement had been reached in the Egyptian capital," it noted, adding "several Yemeni sides and international mediators" participated in the negotiations.

One of the main points of the deal is that Hadi should return to Yemen’s capital Sanaa from Riyadh. According to the deal, Houthi rebels will start withdrawing from the capital starting Thursday and give up "heavy and medium weaponry" to pro-Hadi units. Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is accused of having ties with Houthi rebels, will leave the country and pledge not to engage in any political activity. Parliamentary and presidential elections will be held in the country in the nearest future, according to the deal.

Crisis in Yemen

Since August 2014, Yemen has been hit by a severe political and security crisis. In late January, the armed groups of Ansar Allah (Houthi rebels) forced the president and the government to announce resignation.

The rebels later took control of the country’s capital and several northern provinces. They also announced the adoption of the so-called constitutional declaration. Yemeni President Abd Rabbah Mansur Hadi fled the country to Saudi Arabia.

On March 26, Saudi Arabia launched a military operation in the neighboring country and delivered air strikes at several Houthi positions. The coalition was later joined by Bahrein, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan and Sudan.

The humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate. The World Health Organization said that 643 people were killed in the conflict and 2,226 more injured as of April 6. The crisis in the Persian Gulf country has affected around 15.9 million people. More than 254,000 people fled the country, while 334,000 were internally displaced. According to UN, around 25 million of Yemenis need humanitarian aid.

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