The Iran Project

Yemeni vice president hopes Arab coalition will not deploy ground forces

Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, hold up their weapons to protest against Saudi-led airstrikes, as they chant slogans during a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Saudi Arabia bombed key military installations in Yemen on Thursday, leading a regional coalition in a campaign against Shiite rebels who have taken over much of the country and drove out the president. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

(Reuters) – Yemeni Vice President Khaled Bahah said on Thursday he hoped a Saudi-led Arab coalition battling Iranian-allied Houthis in Yemen would not send in ground troops.

Arab military exercises planned for Saudi Arabia have raised speculation that the coalition, which has been bombing the Houthis from the air for three weeks, is considering land operations.

“We still hope that there is no ground campaign in line with the air strikes,” Bahah told a news conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

He called on the armed forces to support the “legitimate” Yemeni government in exile and said a ceasefire must precede any peace initiative.

“At this historic moment, we send our call to all the sons of the armed and security forces to act on behalf of the legitimate state,” said Bahah.

Army units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have joined forces with Houthi rebels against supporters of the government and forced it to flee.

Bahah said no peace initiatives would be considered until President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government returned to the southern city of Aden, where they enjoy the most support.

By Reuters

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