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Thursday, December 24, 2009

UAE, Bahrain back Kingdom

MANAMA/RIYADH: Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday pledged their full support to the action taken by Saudi Arabia to secure its southern borders.

The backing from the two Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries came following a meeting between UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and his Bahraini counterpart Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa in Manama.

Meanwhile, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah received a message from Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Wednesday, the Saudi Press Agency said.

The agency said Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi handed over the message to King Abdullah during a meeting at the king’s Janadriya ranch. It did not say anything about the content of the message.

The news agency said the meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Intelligence Chief Prince Muqrin and Yemeni Ambassador to Riyadh Muhammad Ali Al-Ahwal.

The meeting took place a day after Saudi Arabia gave ultimatum to Yemeni infiltrators to leave the Kingdom’s territory within 24 hours or face death. “They have 24 hours to surrender, or we will destroy them,” said Prince Khaled bin Sultan, assistant minister of defense and aviation, on Tuesday.

Prince Khaled said 73 Saudi soldiers were killed, 470 wounded and 26 went missing since fighting broke out in November between Saudi forces and Yemeni infiltrators.

This is the first time the Kingdom has given a death toll for the fighting between Saudi forces and Yemeni intruders, which began more than a month and a half ago. On Nov. 3, rebels killed a Saudi border guard and occupied two villages inside Saudi territory.

Prince Khaled said Saudi forces would remain in the area until the last intruder is expelled. “What we are doing now is bringing things to normal. We have also made arrangements to prevent infiltration and other crimes,” the minister told reporters.

The annual GCC summit, which was held in Kuwait City last week, had reaffirmed its support to Saudi Arabia against any attempt to undermine its security and sovereignty.

“We are fully behind Saudi Arabia against the cross-border assaults launched by armed infiltrators against the Saudi territories,” the communiqué issued at the end of the summit said. They also extended full backing to the unity, security and stability of Yemen.

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah opened the summit on Dec. 14 voicing full support for Saudi Arabia in its fight against the infiltrators.

“We renew our strong condemnation of these aggressions (against Saudi Arabia) and declare full support for whatever actions Saudi Arabia takes to defend its territory,” the emir said.

Source : Arab News

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