Saudi troops arrive in Yemen's disputed Socotra island reportedly for joint drills

Saudi troops arrive in Yemen's disputed Socotra island reportedly for joint drills

Saudi troops arrive in Yemen's disputed Socotra island reportedly for joint drills

He added: "All Yemeni national resistance are participating in the operations along the effective participation from the Sudanese forces with high morale and complete harmony and coordination, and with the land, sea and air support from the UAE Armed Forces operating within the Saudi-led Arab Coalition'". The UAE has built up local army units in Yemen, increasing its influence along the Red Sea coast, but also opening up a rift with the country´s exiled government.

The Yemeni government said the UAE force had seized control of the Socotra airport and port once they were deployed, in a move that the government described as "unjustified". "We will work together in the face of the Houthi coup and the Iranian agenda that threatens the security of Yemen, the Arab world and the whole region", bin Daghr was quoted by Saba News as saying.

Socotra has largely been irrelevant to the Saudi invasion, to the point that islanders have at times complained of being "forgotten".

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"Yes, Yemenis are poor but they fight for their sovereignty,"The UAE foreign ministry, in a statement on Socotra, said it backed Yemen´s legitimate government and sought "to establish peace and stability and to support developmental projects for the island´s residents".

The Saudi troops will conduct joint training exercises on the island alongside UAE and Yemeni forces, coalition spokesman Turki Al Malki said.

The deployment was said to have been coordinated with the Yemeni government.

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This suggests the Saudis are trying to calm mounting tensions between the Yemeni government and the UAE, which occupied Socotra militarily recently, expelling the Yemeni officials.

The UAE is a major pillar in the Saudi-led coalition. The operation to take the port, north of Al Khawkha in Hodeidah province, is part of a large-scale military offensive to dismantle Houthi militias and to liberate Yemeni cities.

Socotra, a UNESCO world natural heritage site and a strategic location on one of the world's busiest maritime routes, had been spared involvement in the Yemeni conflict, which has claimed almost 10,000 lives since March 2015 and triggered what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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