Saudi Arabia starts along with ten countries on Thursday a military operation in Yemen after the rebels overtook parts of the port city of Aden.
The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, told reporters the country is acting to “defend the legitimate government” of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Al-Jubeir said fellow Gulf states supported Saudi Arabia’s action against the Houthi rebels. The Gulf Cooperation Council — except for Oman — is expected to issue a statement in support of Yemen. Not all of the countries would provide military support.
Hadi asked the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution allowing “all willing countries” to take all necessary actions to stop the Houthis’ aggression. In a letter to the council, he also asked the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League to step in to protect Yemen from the Houthis.
In a statement published by the Saudi press agency, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, morocco, Jordan, Egypt and Pakistan said they would answer a request from Hadi “to protect Yemen and his dear people from the aggression of the Houthi militias which were and are still a tool in the hands of foreign powers that don’t stop meddling with the security and stability of brotherly Yemen”. Oman, the sixth member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, was not a signatory to the statement.
Egypt also said it was providing political and military support for the anti-Houthi operation.
However, Yemen’s foreign minister and presidential sources told Reuters that the president remained in Aden. Another presidential aide told AFP that he had been rushed to a “secure location”.
The US state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters at a briefing: “We were in touch with him earlier today. He is no longer at his residence. I’m not in position to confirm any additional details from here about his location.”