Besieged Yemeni President Hadi arrives in Egypt for Arab League summit | News | DW | 27.03.2015
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Besieged Yemeni President Hadi arrives in Egypt for Arab League summit

President Hadi has landed in Egypt for an Arab League summit, where Yemen is to take center stage in crisis talks. Riyadh has launched airstrikes against the Yemeni rebels, fearing the spread of Iranian influence.

Embattled Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi arrived in the Egyptian Red Sea town of Sharm el-Sheikh on Friday ahead of an Arab League meeting starting on Saturday, according to Egyptian state television. The crisis in his country is set to dominate the two-day summit.

Hadi had arrived in Riyadh on Thursday, the first confirmation of his whereabouts since the Houthi rebels began advancing on Aden earlier this week, where Hadi had taken refuge since fleeing the capital Sanaa last month.

Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia is a staunch supporter of Hadi, and accuses rival Shiite-dominated Iran of backing the rebels and the supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who are fighting alongside the Houthis.

Riyadh has sworn to do "whatever it takes" to prevent the fall of Hadi.

Saudi-led strikes against rebels

A Saudi-led coalition of Arab states unleashed a series of airstrikes against the rebels on Friday. According to Ahmad Assairi, a spokesman for the coalition, Saudi Apache planes hit the Shiite rebels in their northern stronghold of Saada, near the border with Saudi Arabia.

Assairi also said that allied jets destroyed the runway of Houthi-controlled Anad air base, 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Aden.

"The coalition warplanes have full control over Yemeni airspace," he said, while urging citizens to flee Houthi-controlled neighborhoods, and accused the rebels of taking refuge in Iran strongly condemned the strikes, which have killed at least 39 civilians according to news agency AFP. Tehran said Riyadh is interfering in Yemeni national sovereignty.

"Any military action against an independent country is wrong and will only result in a deepening crisis and more deaths among innocents," Iran's foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, said.

Zarif also said on Friday that his country was "ready to cooperate with its brother in the region" to promote dialogue instead of fighting between the different groups in Yemen.

es/ (AFP, dpa)

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