Malaysian troops to stay in Saudi Arabia to help Yemen
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Armed Forces will remain in Saudi Arabia to assist and facilitate aid to beleaguered Yemen.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the initial task was to help in the evacuation of Malaysians from the war-torn country.
“However, in light of the current situation, I have instructed the armed forces to remain in the kingdom for the sole purpose of providing humanitarian assistance and possibly contribute to rebuilding efforts in Yemen, if required.
“Additionally, Malaysia has taken a proactive step to engage the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre and contribute in any way we can,” he said yesterday.
Hishammuddin had earlier attended an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Member States of the Coalition Supporting the Legitimacy in Yemen.
The session was held in Riyadh to announce comprehensive humanitarian operation plans in Yemen.
Hishammuddin said Yemen was experiencing a tragedy of immense proportions, exacerbated by violent groups interfering in the political transition of the government.
The on-going conflict there has displaced more than two million people, of which approximately 182,000 have become refugees.
An entire generation is starving, with the crippling of more than 600 medical facilities across the country, essentially leading to the collapse of the nation’s healthcare system.
“Combined with millions on the cusp of famine, and a cholera outbreak with no access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene — this has become one of the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time.
“We must act now, to ensure conditions improve before they become irreversible.
“Despite the coverage, perceptions and reactions from around the globe, we must ensure our focus remains on bringing a permanent end to the suffering of the Yemeni people,” said Hishammuddin, who is also Special Functions Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
He said Malaysia welcomed the opening of the Red Sea ports of Al Hudaydah and Saleef to commercial and humanitarian shipments as a constructive step.
He said the opening of the two ports in Yemen would support the needs of the people, as 90 per cent of its staple food and nearly all its fuel and medicine were brought into the country through the ports.
On the emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the attacks on Saudi Arabia by Yemeni armed groups, Hishammuddin emphasised that the only way to bring long-term stability to the country was through a political solution.