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Anwar Gargash Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The UAE on Sunday called its alliance with Saudi Arabia a “strategic necessity” prompted by regional challenges including Yemen where both countries are leading a military coalition fighting Iran-allied Al Houthi militants.

“The Emirates’ participation in the Resolve Storm Operation as part of the Arab alliance [in Yemen] came in response to an invitation from the [Saudi monarch] Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,”UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said on Twitter.

“Our continuation in Yemen as part of this alliance, led by sisterly Saudi Arabia, is linked to this invitation,” he added.

In March, 2015, the Arab alliance intervened in Yemen in response to a call from the country’s internationally recognised government after Al Houthis overran the Yemeni capital Sana’a and advanced on the southern city of Aden, the temporary seat of the government.

Earlier this month, Yemeni Southern Transitional Council forces, ostensibly part of the Arab coalition, wrested control of Aden from the Yemeni government. The UAE has vehemently denied claims it supports the STC, who seeks self-rule for Yemen’s south from the north.

“Based on our strategic ties with sisterly Saudi Arabia, it is the one that decides the continuation of our role in supporting stability in Yemen as part of the Arab coalition or not,” Dr Gargash tweeted.

“Our link with Riyadh is existential and more inclusive, especially in the surrounding hard circumstances and in light of our firm conviction in Riyadh’s pivotal and leading role,” he added.