Statement by Saudi Ambassador Al-Jubeir on Military Operations in Yemen [Transcript]

Published: March 26, 2015

Editor’s Note:

SUSRIS provided a summary of Saudi Ambassador the the United States Adel Al-Jubeir’s remarks concerning the Yemen military campaign in the form of the embassy press release last night [Special Report | Crisis in Yemen – Saudi Arabia Strikes]. Here for your consideration is the transcript, followed by the video, from the press conference.


Statement by Saudi Ambassador Al-Jubeir on Military Operations in Yemen

[Al-Jubeir] Good evening everyone.

I’m Adel Al-Jubeir, the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States.

I wanted to meet with you to inform you that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia launched military operations in Yemen. The objective is to defend the legitimate government of President Hadi from the takeover attempts by the Houthi militias in Yemen.

The use of force is always the last resort, and it is with great reluctance that we took this step along with our partners in the GCC countries as well as outside of the GCC countries.

We have a coalition of over ten countries that will participate in these operations to prevent Yemen from falling at the hands of the Houthis.

As I mentioned, the use of force is always the last resort. We have tried to mediate the situation in Yemen. We have put forth the GCC initiative and worked on establishing the national dialogue in Yemen in order to have a peaceful transition to a new Yemen.

Every attempt that was undertaken by the Yemenis was thwarted by the Houthis who have rejected every agreement that they entered into and rather than engage in a peaceful dialogue and in a peaceful transition to a stable and democratic Yemen they have always chosen the path of violence. They moved their forces from Sada towards Sana’a. They captured the capital city. They imprisoned the legitimate President in his own home as well as the Prime Minister and other members of the cabinet.


The Houthis have then taken over the armed forces of the Yemeni state. They are in control of ballistic missiles, heavy weapons, as well as military bases and ports. The Yemeni President, the legitimate President of Yemen, President Hadi was able to escape Sa’ana and relocate to Yemen. Other ministers were able to also escape Sa’ana and move to southern Yemen, the city of Aden, where they continue to run the operations as the legitimate government.

The Houthis continued to acquire or seize more territory. They moved and captured the city of Taiz, the airport in Taiz. They bombed the Presidential Palace.

And so we tried in the GCC to respond to a request dated March 7, 2015 by President Hadi in which he requested the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, convene a conference in Riyadh under the auspices of the GCC in order to bring all Yemeni political factions together who have a desire to see a stable and secure and peaceful Yemen.

The Houthis once again rejected this initiative and continued to embark on the use of force in order to assert their dominance over Yemen.

On the 27th – sorry, in a letter dated the 24th of March, 2015, President Hadi requested on the basis of Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, the assistance and support by all means necessary, including force, to allow his government to defend itself against the Houthis and prevent the takeover of Yemen by the Houthis.

He has also based his decision on the Arab League Charter’s collective self-defense mechanism which allows member states to request assistance from other countries in order to defend themselves, and so in response to this and after an obligation to save the people of Yemen and to save Yemen from a takeover by a radical militant group, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its GCC allies as well as its allies outside the GCC have made the decision to respond to the legitimate request by the legitimate President of Yemen and to provide the assistance needed.

And so the operations have begun in Yemen. The objective is limited to defending and protecting the legitimate government of Yemen and preventing its collapse to the Houthis, and we hope that the wisdom will prevail among the Houthis and that they will become part of the political process rather than continue their radical approach to try to take over Yemen and destroy it.

Having said this, we pray that god almighty will provide support for our brave soldiers and the brave soldiers of the coalition and that he may grant them success in their noble mission.

With that, I will be happy to take a couple of questions and then I will leave you. Yes.

[QUESTION] Yes Ambassador. Have you consulted with the Obama Administration and what’s the American response on the military action that the GCC and other countries are taking?

[Al-Jubeir] As I mentioned, this decision did not come lightly and this decision was thought out very deeply, and we have consulted very closely and very intensely with many of our allies and partners around the world, and in particular the United States.

We have had very fruitful and very productive discussions with the U.S. and we are very pleased with the outcome of those discussions, and I would like to just leave it at this and have you talk to our American friends about the details of how they see it from their side. But overall we are extremely pleased and extremely appreciative of the support that we have received from our allies around the world, and in particular from the United States.

[QUESTION] Mr. Ambassador, could you detail the military operations that are underway right now? Are we talking about bombing or troop movements?

[Al-Jubeir] Let me be very general because there will be military briefings provided by the headquarters of the coalition in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on a regular basis so I don’t want to get into that detail. But what I can tell you is the operations that were launched today were airstrikes and I will just leave it at that and let the military explain to you the details.

The objective as I mentioned is to defend and support the legitimate government of Yemen and prevent the radical Houthi movement from taking over the country.

[QUESTION] Can you confirm to us where President Hadi is and can you tell us if the U.S. is helping you with intelligence for the airstrikes?

[Al-Jubeir] I’m going to leave the appraisal details to the military and the support that the U.S. is providing to our friends in the Administration to discuss. All I can tell you is that we’re very pleased with the cooperation, the consultation, the exchange of information that exists between us and our coalition partners, and between us and the United States.

With regards to the location of President Hadi, I would refer you to the Yemenis on this for now. Yes.

[QUESTION] Ambassador, you said that the objective is to defend the legitimate government of Yemen, so when will this end? When President Hadi is in control of Yemen?

[Al-Jubeir] We have a situation in Yemen where we have a legitimate government that has agreed to a process that is supported by the international community, that is enshrined in several United Nations Security Council resolutions that calls for all Yemeni parties to take a certain path that would lead them from where they were to a new state with a new constitution and elections and checks and balances and so forth. Everybody has agreed to this.

We have spoilers who have disrupted this process. These spoilers have been named in a Security Council resolution. The United Nations Security Council has also condemned these actions and asked that they abide by this process, and so until they abide the choice is very simple. They abide by this process and become legitimate players in Yemeni politics, but they certainly will not be allowed to take over the country.

[QUESTION] So you will bomb them until … in this process?

[Al-Jubeir] We will do whatever it takes in order to protect the legitimate government of Yemen from falling and from facing any dangers from an outside militia. We have a situation where you have a militia group that is now in control or can be in control of ballistic missiles, of heavy weapons, and of an air force. I do not recall in my reading of history of any militia that had an air force or had control over an air force. So this is a very dangerous situation and we must do everything we can to protect the people of Yemen and to protect the legitimate government of Yemen.
I’m sorry let me take –

[QUESTION] Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. Could you tell us specifically what countries are in the coalition outside of the GCC? And which ones are participating in airstrikes? And are the airstrikes limited to Sana’a or are there other areas?

[Al-Jubeir] I will wait until our partners in the coalition have an opportunity to make the case themselves. What I can tell you is that we have air assets from a number of countries in the Kingdom and we have military assets that are on their way to the Kingdom to participate in these operations.

With regards to the geographic distribution for where the operations are, they are not limited to one particular city or one particular region.

Okay, maybe one or two questions.

[QUESTION] Has Saudi made moves to protect Hadi or to get him out of the country?

[Al-Jubeir] This whole operation is designed to protect the legitimate government of Yemen of which President Hadi is the President. We are committed to ensuring the safety and security of Yemen and its people. Yemen is a neighboring country. It is a fraternal country. We have great historical ties with Yemen on all levels.

What happens in Yemen has a direct impact on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Yemen, as you know, faces many challenges and it is our desire and determination to support Yemen in facing all of its challenges whether those challenges pertain to economic underdevelopment, whether they pertain to terrorism, whether they pertain to security, whether they pertain to political stability, we are committed as we have said over the years to helping Yemen move towards a better future.

And so these operations are designed to do that. As you know, Yemen is a country that is very rugged. It is the headquarters of al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula. A number of plots that have been disrupted emanated out of Yemen that were a threat to world peace.

Yemen is also a country that has two very long coastlines so it’s very open to the world. And so having Yemen fail cannot be an option for us or for our coalition partners, and so we are determined to protect the legitimate government of Yemen and we are determined to do our best in order to work towards the safety and security of the Yemeni people then towards peace and prosperity in Yemen in the future.

Thank you very much. Okay, last one.

[QUESTION] Mr. Ambassador, can you be more precise about when the military operations, the airstrikes began? And also are there any U.S. military assets involved in the operations?

[Al-Jubeir] The operations began approximately 7:00 Washington time, east coast time, PM.

And the U.S. is not participating in military operations.

Thank you very much.

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Saudi Arabia has launched military operations in Yemen, as part of a coalition of over ten countries in response to a direct request from the legitimate government of Yemen.


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Statement by Saudi Ambassador Al-Jubeir on Military Operations in Yemen

WASHINGTON [March 25, 2015] – Today, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir hosted a press conference at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia and issued the following statement:

“Saudi Arabia has launched military operations in Yemen, as part of a coalition of over ten countries in response to a direct request from the legitimate government of Yemen. The operation will be limited in nature, and designed to protect the people of Yemen and its legitimate government from a takeover by the Houthis. A violent extremist militia. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries tried to facilitate a peaceful transition of government in Yemen, but the Houthis have continuously undercut the process by occupying territory and seizing weapons belonging to the government. In spite of repeated efforts by the GCC, G10 countries and the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General to seek a peaceful way to implement the GCC initiatives and the outcomes of the national dialogue that define the political transition in Yemen, the Houthis have reneged on every single agreement they have made and continue their quest to take over the country by violent means. They captured the capital city of Sana’a, they placed the legitimate president, prime minister and cabinet members under house arrest, they seized the security services and they continue to expand their occupation of the country.”

“In a letter dated March 7, 2015, President Hadi of Yemen made a request of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz to convene a conference under the auspices of the GCC to which all Yemeni political factions seeking to preserve security and stability in Yemen would be invited. The Houthis rejected this invitation and continued their violent onslaught in Yemen to the point where they were threatening to occupy the city of Aden, which had become the temporary capital for the legitimate government of President Hadi after he was able to escape from Sana’a. In a letter, dated March 24, 2015, President Hadi requested, based on the principle of self-defense, enshrined in Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, as well as in the Arab League charter’s collective defense mechanism, a request for immediate support – by all means necessary – including military intervention to protect Yemen and its people from the continued Houthi aggression and to support it in fighting al Qaeda and ISIL.”

“Based on the appeal from President Hadi, and based on the Kingdom’s responsibility to Yemen and its people, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with its allies within the GCC and outside the GCC, launched military operations in support of the people of Yemen and their legitimate government.”

“May God Almighty protect the brave soldiers and may He grant them success in their noble mission.”

[See also: SUSRIS Special Section – Turmoil in Yemen-2015]



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