Malaysian troops to stay in Saudi Ara­bia to help Ye­men

New Straits Times - - News / Govt & Policy -

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.

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