Afghanistan President: We Want Peace, not War with Pakistan

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani addresses the Council on Foreign Relations in New York

Riyadh – Five months have gone and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani still awaits promises of Pakistan to end destruction in his country.

People and government of Afghanistan still accuse Pakistan of terrorism and supporting Taliban’s terrorist members.

President Ghani came to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to participate in the Arab-Islamic-US summit and ask Arab and Islamic states to intervene and put an end to bloodshed, especially that several ISIS terrorists and al-Qaeda commanders were captured on Afghani-Pakistani border. He added that many terrorists reside in Pakistan and are working on collecting funds.

During his interview with Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Ghani rarely smiled until he mentioned that over million Afghani citizens began returning to their country from Pakistan and Iran. He added that people of Afghanistan began to expel terrorists of al-Qaeda and ISIS outside districts.

When asked about the Arab-Islamic-US summit, the Afghan President described it as a transitional point against extremism.

“This summit is the first major step towards regaining the glory of Islam as an international civilization based on science, peace, and tolerance. We are the lawful leaders of the Islamic world and we have the conviction and courage to express the aspirations and values of our people,” said Ghani.

He added that after the summit, the West realized that Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Arab and Islamic leaders defend the moderate Islam against extremism.

Ghani stressed that the minority of extremists can’t represent the billion and a half Muslims, adding that the leaders along with US President Donald Trump are adamant to devote their sources and energy to eradicate the dangers and ensure that all Muslims are together in the face of political extremism and terrorism.

The President also explained that the attendees at the summit agreed to the funding and support of extremism in the Islamic world.

King Salman and President Trump also inaugurated Eatedal center, international cooperation center to combat extremism.

The president said that it is crucial to determine a unified definition of terrorism and standards that assign which countries support terrorism. He further stressed the importance of creating a mechanism and team work to track and halt terrorism funding.

Both King Salman and President Trump spoke of the role of Iran in supporting terrorism during the summit, Ghani stated that it is not only limited to Iran. Afghanistan had repeatedly complained that Pakistan supports and funds terrorism.

He explained that the main issue here is that a war has already begun and it is not media war, adding that Pakistan is unaware of that issue.

“We want peace between the two countries, not war,” insisted the president.

When asked if Pakistan indeed supports terrorist groups, Ghani asked about the location where former leader of al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden died. He also mentioned the terrorist attack in Mazar-i-Sharif Mosque attacking 140 Afghani soldiers. He stated that the soldiers were praying and unarmed and Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Taliban is settled in Pakistan and are gathering money,” added the president.

He said that being on the front lines with Pakistan, Afghanistan made many sacrifices as well as the NATO. He expressed his hope that Arab-Islamic-US Summit would result in a strong support for Afghanistan to ensure its stability.

Ghani stressed that his country is prepared to terminate terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Qaeda and affiliated groups.

When asked if Taliban hides behind religion, Ghani believes that sadly that is the situation, but Custodian of Two Holy Mosques stated that we should differentiate between Islam and that who use the religion for other purposes.

He added that Taliban’s presence in the area makes it easier for the organization to execute terrorist attacks just like Qaeda and ISIS.

What is important is that Pakistan and Taliban realize that Arab and Islamic countries and the US have reached a point where they distinguish a Muslim from a terrorist.

Regarding the terrorist attack that killed the ambassador of UAE and others in Kandahar, President Ghani hoped Pakistan would provide names of persons involved in that operation.

Concerning the national reconciliation between the government and Taliban, the president admitted that it succeeded in three points: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar returned and accepted the Afghani laws, over a million Afghani citizens returned to their country from Pakistan and Iran, and people of Afghanistan began fighting terrorist organizations in districts.

President Ghani addressed Taliban saying if they choose to make peace, they will achieve what they want through politics and law. He hoped Taliban would distance itself from terrorists.

“We will prevail because we speak of cooperation, civilization, dialogue and hope in face of fear, destruction, and hatred,” explained the president adding that joint understanding and coherent policies are required to reach the goal.

He reiterated that the Afghani constitution grants every citizen their rights and, as a president of the republic, his duty is to prevent bloodshed.

Ghani added that during his stay in Riyadh, he met with US officials and discussed the strategic relations between the two countries. He also met on Wednesday with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.

The president welcomed Saudi Arabia’s role in the national reconciliation between the government and Taliban.

An Agenda that would Reshape the Regional Landscape

Riyadh – On his first official visit since taking office in January, US President Donald Trump will arrive in Riyadh on Saturday to take part in three successive summits, in the presence of leaders of Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, and the Arab and Islamic world.

Sources involved with the preparations told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the outcome of the three summits would pave the way for reshaping the landscape in the Middle East, on the basis of extensive partnership between the US and its regional allies.

Sources expected an agreement to be reached over the formation of an Arab-Islamic-US partnership to counter terrorism and extremism, on the security, political and intellectual levels. They added that Washington would assume a greater role in restricting Iran’s policies of destabilization.

As for the unprecedented Arab-Islamic-US Summit, the sources stressed that it would provide “an overarching umbrella to resume the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians”.

The period that will follow the three summits will mark the end of an era that began with the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the US withdrawal from Iraq and the eclipse of an Arab role in regional tensions, according to the sources.

They also noted that the United States, in partnership with its allies, would regain its central role in several regional cases, mainly the war against terrorism that would encompass the security, political, financial and intellectual dimensions. This war would be launched in parallel with cultural and economic initiatives targeting the youth in the Arab and Islamic world.

Consolidating partnerships between the US and the Gulf would restore power balance in the Middle East and put an end to Iran’s expansionism projects, the sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

They added that the Arab-Islamic-US Summit would correct the former US Administration’s policies of stalling and shy initiatives, which have opened the way for Russia to have a greater influence in the region.

Afghan MP: Iran Aims to Destroy Afghanistan, Spread Chaos

Afghanistan

Kabul – Afghan Parliamentarian Hajj Mulawi Terh Kheil Mohammadi said that neighboring powers, including Iran and Pakistan, were interfering in his country’s internal affairs.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper at his residence in Kabul, Mohammadi said that a tripartite meeting held between Russia, Iran and Pakistan in Moscow has featured talks on the situation in Afghanistan, although his country was not present at the meeting.

The Afghan parliamentarian took heavy security measures at the entrance of his residence, including checkpoints and armed convoys, due to many threats against him, as he says.

He noted that Iran was interfering in all forms in Afghanistan’s affairs.

“All forms of interference are present; they do everything to destroy Afghanistan and spread chaos,” he stated.

Mohammadi said that foreign forces have seized Iranian-made weapons with militants in some Afghan areas, adding that the head of the Afghan Intelligence has travelled to Tehran for this purpose and objected to this blatant interference.

Mohammadi expressed concerns over confessional influence in his county’s educational, media and cultural sectors. He said that a massive explosion has hit a major university for Quran and Islamic studies, which attracts more than 4,500 students, leaving several people killed and many others injured.

He said that explosions in Afghanistan were aimed at destabilizing the country and stirring divisions among its people.

Deadly attacks ripped across Afghanistan on Tuesday, with two suicide bombings near the Afghan Parliament in Kabul, an explosion at a Kandahar province government compound and a suicide bombing in Helmand province — strikes leaving dozens of people dead and wounded, according to Afghan officials.

Five Emirati humanitarian workers were also among those killed in the Kandahar attack, the official Emirati news agency WAM reported.

Asked whether Iran or pro-Iranian groups have claimed responsibility of the explosions that ripped through Afghanistan, Mohammadi said: “Iran did not assert its responsibility of the university explosion, but all indications point to it.”

Commenting on the presence of sectarian divisions within Parliament, Mohammadi said that some deputies were working on confessional agendas, noting in this regard that several MPs have attempted to prevent the issuance of a statement that denounces a ballistic missile attack on holy sites in Mecca last year.

Mohammadi said that the Iranian government was “directly and generously” supporting Shiite and sectarian groups in Afghanistan at all levels. He added that the Persian State had a major influence over a university and several media outlets.

“Some deputies are working against the interests of the country and the Afghan people,” he noted, adding that some internal parties had confessional and sectarian agendas.

Asked about divisions within the Afghan parliament, Mohammadi said that the parliament was formed of different groups, adding that several parties were trying to meddle with its affairs.

“We live under delicate circumstances, whether on the security level or the political and economic levels,” the MP said, adding that conflicts between the government and parliament would not allow for a healthy management of the country’s affairs.

Afghan High Peace Council: Imminent Meeting between Government and Taliban

Kabul- Sheikh Ahmed Gailani, chairman of the Afghanistan High Peace Council, said that efforts will be made during the upcoming period to hold a meeting between the government and Taliban for the purpose of achieving reconciliation.

Gailani said that hopes are pinned on Riyadh’s role in the success of the reconciliation because Saudi Arabia is the state of Islam and the Two Holy Mosques.

“There have been solid relations between the kingdom and Afghanistan since the post-Soviet invasion of Afghanistan – Saudi Arabia continued to support the Afghan people during this period, after it and until the lining up of the transitional government,” Gailani told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He added that the Afghan government asked the kingdom to take part in the reconciliation process because it represents an important national topic.

Members of the High Peace Council affirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that negotiations with the Taliban have officially stopped but there are ongoing personal meetings.

They added that some small groups from the Taliban wish to start negotiations with the Afghan government.

They added that the Arab world is distanced from the Afghan case but Saudi Arabia can work effectively on adopting negotiations between the government and the opposition and influencing countries neighboring Afghanistan.

According to them, the Afghan people are longing for stability after more than 35 years of wars.

Furthermore, member of the High Peace Council Mohammed Naimi said some neighboring countries wish that war continues in Afghanistan because this serves their interest.

On whether Iran and Pakistan are among these countries, Naimi said: “We can’t specify but there are neighboring states trying to interfere in the affairs of Afghanistan.”

Atmar: ‘We Fear ISIS Militants Fleeing to Afghanistan’s Borders’

Afghan’s National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar.

Kabul- Afghan’s National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar confirmed that his country has opened a new page for security, economic and political cooperation with Riyadh, emphasizing that Saudi Arabia’s security is that of Afghanistan.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Atmar said that the Islamic world has been facing four different terrorist entities.

“The total number of militants in these four entities is estimated to be between 40-45 thousand militants, including foreigners,” he said.

There is no Islamic country in the region or worldwide without such enemies. These terrorists seek strongholds from which they could benefit in any country.

Therefore, these groups, whether Afghan, Pakistani of from Central Asia, need an Afghan group to settle in the country, establish a stronghold and provide communication means with Taliban.

Atmar stressed the importance of the Islamic coalition to fight terrorism under the leadership of Saudi Arabia as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques seeks to unite Islamic countries.

Atmar explained that President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani has boosted political relations with King Salman to push forward bilateral cooperation to the highest levels.

He said that Afghan-Saudi relations are not against any country but against terrorism and terrorists.

Atmar accused Pakistan of providing shelters for leaders and parties fighting against the Afghan people, noting that terrorists have bases in lands controlled by Pakistan where they head from to Afghanistan and carry out terrorist acts.

He added: “It is enough to say that Mullah Mansoor was killed by the U.S. on the borders as he was attempting to enter Pakistan.”

Atmar said that his country considers Pakistan a friend and based on this friendship “we have committed ourselves to not supporting any opposition or enemy in Afghanistan’s lands, and we look for a common stance from Pakistan.”

The National Security Advisor also addressed ISIS’ threat. He said that pressuring the terrorist organization’s militants will let them flee their strongholds in Syria and Iraq to the Afghan-Pakistani border.

In this case, ISIS will not only affect Pakistan but it will also affect China, Central Asia and Iran and will extend to neighboring Arab countries.

He said that there are many pro-ISIS militants east Afghanistan carrying out terrorist attacks.

For this reason, he added, we always ask for cooperation against terrorism since terrorist acts carried out by these militants threaten the whole world, not only Afghanistan.

Atmar explained that the number of Taliban militants joining ISIS is still very limited.

Moreover, he warned Pakistan and Iran from going beyond the peace process in their relationship with Taliban, saying that any such step will exclude the country from Afghanistan’s friendship zone.

Afghan President: Pakistan’s Best Interest Lies with Afghan Government

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference in Kabul

Kabul- President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani stressed that all the Afghani people want national reconciliation — for this reason, Taliban should split up from all terrorist extremist groups.

Ghani hailed relations with Saudi Arabia, during an interview with Asharq al-Awsat, describing them as strong and essential. He added that Afghanistan is cooperating with all Islamic countries, on top of them Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Speaking of relations with Pakistan, he affirmed that the best interest of Pakistan lies with the Afghani government – he also added that the deal with Gulbadin Hekmatyar is going well, noting that he doesn’t know his location.

Asharq al-Awsat newspaper asked Ghani, “Negotiations with Taliban reached a deadlock, what role do you expect Saudi Arabia to play?”

The Afghan president reiterated the importance of Taliban separating itself from terrorist groups that represent a threat to Islamic nations and the world as well. “We hope that Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, exert pressure on extremist leaders to push them toward reconciliation,” he added.

“What achievements were made by the national unity government during these two years?” Asharq al-Awsat asked.

“We can talk about four titles: on the political level, authority was moved from the elected president to the newly elected one in a peaceful way for the first time in Afghanistan’s history… The second point is the security transition since there were 150,000 soldiers from foreign forces on the Afghani territory before having a president and now there are only 12,000,” he said.

Ghani continued: “We were facing a serious economic crisis… In 2014, our economic level deteriorated but we succeeded in recovering—the fourth point is the administrative corruption that we have worked on putting an end to it.”

When asked to evaluate the danger of ISIS on Afghanistan’s future, he said that the threat extends to the whole region. “Unfortunately, when you look at the history of these groups you see that each their lifespan is on average between 20 to 40 years and we need a minimum of 20 years to stop them,” Ghani continued.

“Are you concerned regarding foreign interventions in Afghanistan’s internal affairs?” asked the newspaper.

“Millions of Afghans resorted to neighboring countries at the beginning of the crisis and some moved to different cities in Afghanistan. By the end of 2016, one million Afghans returned to their countries and we welcomed them,” Ghani replied.

He continued, “Unfortunately, some countries differentiate between a good and a bad terrorist – those who conduct operations outside their countries are good terrorists and vice versa.”

On the economy level, Ghani said that it won’t take long until Afghanistan becomes self-reliant, especially that it enjoys plenty of resources… “We have 29 rivers in Afghanistan – all what we need is good management of these rivers,” he added.

Afghanistan’s president also said that there are wide swathes of land that can be used in agriculture, and then later on crops can be exported to Gulf and other countries in a way that achieves economic security.

Rula Ghani, the current First Lady of Afghanistan and wife of the incumbent President of Afghanistan, praised the fact that the Afghan women have reached some goals and achieved what they deserve, not to mention their engagement in the economic, social and political fields.

Moscow Highlights Strategic Partnership with Riyadh, Readiness to Contribute to the Construction of 16 NPP in KSA

During a press briefing for forum ATOMEXPO 2016, held lately in Moscow, a Russian Nuclear Energy Expert told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is considered by Russian State Atomic Corporation ROSATOM as an important foreign partner in the field of nuclear energy. He also pointed out that Moscow is ready to contribute to the construction of 16 nuclear power plants in Riyadh, in accordance with the agreement on nuclear energy cooperation signed last year.

As First Deputy CEO for Corporate Development and International Business of ROSATOM, Kirill Komarov stated: “We know very well how Saudi Arabia plans to develop its nuclear program. And we know this not only as external observers; we are planning to play an active part in it. Last year we signed an intergovernmental agreement with Saudi Arabia on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. And what is more important, we established a joint coordinating committee, and have already held the first meeting, I was in Riyadh this March.”

He also added that ROSATOM has already started to exchange views with Saudi colleagues on how Russia can participate in the program for the development of peaceful nuclear energy in the Kingdom. “Indeed it is a very serious and ambitious program, which involves the construction of up to 16 units on the territory of Saudi Arabia”, Mr. Komarov noted.

Representative of Russian State Corporation paid a particular attention to the new trend in the energy market. Komarov said that the decision of Saudi Arabia, “a recognized leader in the oil market”, to develop nuclear energy is deeply symbolic, since a possession of raw materials is no longer enough in the modern world for the dynamic development of the national economy. “It is extremely important for us that the entire Middle East today turns to the development of nuclear energy. Designers often say that purple is the new black this season. I can tell you that nuclear power is the new oil this season”, Mr. Komarov added.

First Deputy CEO for Corporate Development and International Business also noted that implementation of the national nuclear energy program will bring to Saudi Arabia as a nuclear newcomer country, and develop its industry, science, education and economy.

In particular, from an economic point of view it is possible due to predictable pricing, which is important for such a large investment project as generating power. As it was noted during the First Plenary Session of the Forum “Atomic Power Engineering as the Basis for Carbonless Power Balance” by Sergey Kiriyenko, General Director of ROSATOM: “If the cost of hydrocarbon power generation is 60% of the price of raw materials, it means it is directly dependent on the fall or rise of prices of hydrocarbons, then the nuclear generation cost is 4-5% of uranium price and the fluctuation of the price of uranium has practically no effect on the final cost of production”.

Special attention at the Forum was paid to the definition of the role of nuclear energy in a low carbon energy mix of the future. In particular, Sergey Kiriyenko noted that the International Energy Agency estimated that nuclear power plants today prevent effluents to the atmosphere of 56 megatons of СО2. “In Russia only NPPs by 2030 will prevent releases of 711 million tons of СО2. That’s too much. Therefore, nuclear power plant construction programs are launched by countries where there is sunlight 365 days a year or there are plenty of hydrocarbons,” he said.

Russia is considered one of the leading countries in building nuclear reactors. In 1954, it constructed the first peaceful nuclear reactor with production capacity of 5000 kilowatt. Russia has constructed so far about 70 nuclear reactors differing in size and capacity, which renders the country a leader in the field of nuclear energy across the world.

Rosatom has always given special importance to nuclear research, which it embarked upon 70 years ago.It is currently formulating a new cooperation agreement to construct a multifunctional nuclear research center in Bolivia.

Saudi Arabia Funds UN Supervision of Ceasefire in Yemen

Directives have been issued in the kingdom to financially support truce and coordination committees supervised by the United Nations in order to reach a ceasefire in Yemen and consolidate it, Saudi sources confirmed on Sunday.

The Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed Al-Jaber, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “directives have been issued by the Saudi leadership to provide financial support to the United Nations for the committees to enable them to consolidate the ceasefire inside Yemeni territories and prevent any breaches by the two parties.”

He also stressed that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are keen to achieve security, stability and peace in Yemen, and want the ongoing Yemen consultations in Kuwait to be successful.

In the meantime, Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr said that Iran is behind sectarian projects in Yemen that aim to sow discord.

He continued by saying that “wherever you find hatred, you find Iran” and stressed that the Iranian project in Yemen will not succeed.

During a meeting with representatives of the Tihamah region in Riyadh on Sunday evening, Bin Daghr stressed that despite the Yemeni government’s quest for peace, it will not make any concessions at the Kuwait consultations with regards to U.N. Resolution 2216.

Bin Daghr emphasised that legitimacy will prevail, and that it is supported regionally and internationally, with Saudi Arabia at the forefront.

He also said that if it weren’t for the historic decision taken by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz to implement Operation Decisive Storm, Iranian-backed militias would have engulfed Yemen.

The New Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia entered a new era yesterday with the approval of an ambitious plan that includes almost all sectors. It aims, in particular, to diversify the economy and utilise new sources of income other than oil by 2030.

The economic reform plan known as “Saudi Vision 2030” was approved by the Saudi Arabian Council of Ministers in a session during which the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz called on male and female citizens to work together to realise the plan which he described as “ambitious”. King Salman also stressed that since coming to power he has pursued “comprehensive development emanating from our religious fundamentals, investing our country’s capabilities and potentialities, benefiting from our country’s location, and its characteristics of resources and advantages to achieve a better future for the country and its people along with adherence to our pure religion and maintaining the originality of our society and its basic fundamentals.” He also expressed his hope that Saudi Arabia would become a “model for the world”.

On his part, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz said that everyone in Saudi Arabia must get involved in implementing the ““Saudi Vision 2030” that will come to fruition with the help of Allah the Almighty in the coming years.”

The Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman outlined the new plan and stressed that it represents a road map for achieving Saudi Arabia’s goals for development. Prince Mohammed bin Salman added that “Vision 2030”
is a starting point for a stronger and better Saudi that will achieve everybody’s ambitions. He continued by saying that the aim of “Vision 2030” is not to lower the price of oil; rather, it aims to take advantage of the abilities that are not being made use of.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman also explained that a number of programmes will be announced in the coming months. The first of these programmes will concern national transformation which will seek to achieve the goals of the plan in the services sector.

The Deputy Crown Prince also talked about the company Aramco which he said would be part of the “Saudi Vision 2030” and added that the plan includes the sale of less than 5 percent of Aramco shares through an initial public offering (IPO) in order to achieve a number of objectives, the most notable being transparency. He also mentioned that “People used to be unhappy that files and data of Aramco are undeclared, unclear and not transparent. Today they will be transparent. If Aramco gets IPO-ed that means it has to announce its statements of accounts”.

Yemenis Thank King Salman on the Anniversary of Operation “Decisive Storm”

Yemenis holding a large banner with King Salman's Picture to thank HRH for his efforts to restore legitimacy to their country.
Yemenis holding a large banner with King Salman’s Picture to thank HRH for his efforts to restore legitimacy to their country.

Riyadh- After a year of launching the “Decisive Storm” by the Arab Coalition to restore legitimacy to Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia, March 25 marks the 1st anniversary of this storm.

Yemen has faced extremely complicated military, security, political and economic developments due to the coup, which was led by Houthi militia and their ally, ousted former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

A massive march was launched on Friday in a number of Yemeni liberated cities located in the east and central of the country. Participants in the march carried huge pictures of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and several leaders of the Arab coalition states.

Meanwhile, Yemeni activists also launched a campaign entitled “#Thanks_Salman”.

The activities that were held in different cities of Yemen in gratitude and appreciation for the sincere stances and the great role being played by the Kingdom under the leadership of King Salman by supporting legitimacy in Yemen and confronting the operations of the Houthis and Saleh militias.

On the other hand, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Spokesman of Coalition Forces, Advisor at Defense Minister’s Office, Brigadier Ahmed bin Hassan Al-Asiri said that Yemen’s file has been prepared to be discussed by all Saudi Ministries since September 14, 2014, directly after Sanaa was seized.

He added that there was a careful military follow-up, including several scenarios that were put to save the situation there. One of these scenarios was the Saudi intervention to save the legitimacy, following a request from Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Al-Asiri explained after a year of the coalition forces’ intervention that “Yemen was kind of abducted last year and Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was put under house arrest in Sanaa, then Aden, where he was attacked by military aviation.” “However, this year is different as Hadi is still present with a completely legitimate government, which is internationally recognized by the virtue of International Security Council’s resolution 2216,” he added.

Al-Asiri also pointed out that Houthi coup is internationally criminalized under UN resolution, and the legitimate government controls 90 percent of the Yemeni lands and is in Yemen managing its interior military operations.

Asiri explained for Asharq Al-Awsat that humanitarian aid are arriving to all Yemeni cities and provinces, including areas besieged by Houthis.

He added: “Saudi-Yemeni borders are safe and stable, and Iran’s effect in the country in negligible regardless of its ongoing attempts.

The Advisor at Defense Minister’s Office confirmed for Asharq Al-Awsat that major military operations are over and the current stage is consisted of response operations for the close air support, mainly determined by Yemeni national army.

In addition, Spokesman of Coalition Forces mentioned that before launching the Decisive Storm’s military operations, “we had evidences proving the presence of members from Hezbollah and Iran in Yemen, and today we have doubts that the aid containers arriving at the port of Hodeida are carrying smuggled weapons for the Houthis.”