Dubai, July 9: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has on Monday said it was reducing and redeploying its troops in war-torn Yemen and was also moving to a “peace-first” strategy from a “military-first” plan.
According to Dawn news reports, the UAE is a key ally in a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition in Yemen fighting against Iranian backed Houthi rebels. The coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 in order to support the internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour-led government.
Speaking on a condition of anonymity, a top UAE official told reporters, “We do have troop levels that are down for reasons that are strategic in (the Red Sea city of) Hodeida and reasons that are tactical” in some parts of the nation.
He added, “It is very much to do with moving from what I would call a military-first strategy to a peace-first strategy, and this is I think what we are doing.”
However, the official further reiterated Abu Dhabi’s commitment to the government of Yemen and the Saudi-led army coalition, stating the discussions over redeployment have been undergoing since over a year.
“This is not really a last-minute decision. This is part of the process and naturally a process within the coalition that’s been discussed extensively with our partners, the Saudis,” he said.
Army coalition spokesperson Turki al-Maliki stated both Saudi Arabia and the UAE remain committed to achieving common goals in the war-ravaged nation.
Responding to a question over troops’ redeployment, he told a media conference, “The United Arab Emirates and the countries in the coalition continue to achieve their operations and strategic goals.”
The UAE troops, as per a military government official of Yemen, combating the Houthi rebels have “totally vacated” the Khokha military base.