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UAE will continue fighting in Yemen, says minister

Anwar Gargash said he was misquoted [AFP]

Date of publication: 16 June, 2016

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The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on Thursday said his country would continue fighting in Yemen until the Saudi-led coalition announces the end of the war.

The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, on Thursday said his country's troops would continue fighting in Yemen until the Saudi-led coalition announces the end of the war.

The minister on Wednesday was quoted as saying the "war is over for our troops" during a speech in Abu Dhabi, however Gargash on Thursday said he had been misquoted.

"We are at war and I am saddened that my comments have been misquoted and interpreted to serve a foreign agenda that does not have good intentions towards the people of the region, especially the people of the Gulf," Gargash was quoted as saying by the Saudi owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

On his Twitter account, the minister in Arabic wrote: "Our armed forces, as I indicated in my lecture, has carried out its fighting role with bravery and professionalism, and this role will continue with Saudi Arabia until the coalition announces the end of the war".  

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had carried the minister's earlier comments on his official Twitter account late Wednesday.

Some observers believe that the change in the UAE's position overnight might be due to pressure from their coalition ally, Saudi Arabia.

The UAE has been among the most active members of a Saudi-led coalition that intervened more than a year ago to help forces loyal to Yemen's internationally recognised government roll back gains by Houthi rebels, who still control the capital, Sanaa, and much of northern Yemen.

The UAE, which has one of the best-equipped militaries in the region, suffered numerous losses over the past year of fighting in Yemen, including four pilots killed in two separate helicopter crashes this week. 

Government media reports say more than 80 Emirati soldiers have been killed since operations there began on March 26, 2015.

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