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Former Yemeni president calls on al-Bashir to withdraw Sudanese troops

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Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf greets Sudanese troops stationed in Saudi Arabia on 29 Nov 2017 (ST photo)
November 29, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh allied to Iran-backed Houthi rebels has advised Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir to withdraw troops from Yemen, saying they do not threaten the Islamic Holy Mosques.

The call comes among growing rumours about a silent crisis between the Sudanese President al-Bashir and Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman over Khartoum’s neutrality from the ongoing conflict with Qatar.

It was purported that the Saudi Crown Prince blocks a financial assistance to Sudan pledged by King Salman, demanding that al-Bashir severe diplomatic ties with Doha, a request that the latter rejects.

Sudan is part of a Saudi-led military coalition backing Yemeni forces loyal to the exiled government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who are trying to oust Iran-allied Houthi fighters and troops loyal to their ally, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

When Bashir decided to participate in the Operation Decisive Storm he justified his agreement to take part in the tough ground operations against the Houthi group with the desire to defend the security of Saudi Arabia, and the Two Holy Mosques.

"There is no risk for the Holy Land of Yemen. The Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina (far from where the war is taking place). Pull out this great army, unless you want to get rid of them, this is would be another thing," Ali Saleh said in a speech in Sana’a on Tuesday.

"If they let you down in Darfur and want them to be returned to you in boxes, this is another matter ... Withdraw (your forces) and you are a brother, a friend and a colleague, please withdraw them".

Sudan participates in the Arab coalition forces with an estimated ground force of about 7,000 soldiers. In October 2015, security officials told Associated Press (AP) that Sudan plans to send a total of 10,000 soldiers.

In May 2017, Sudanese military sources dismissed media reports that 80 Sudanese troops have been killed in Yemen saying only 21 were killed, including 4 officers.

The Sudanese Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf inspected the Sudanese troops stationed near the Yemen border south-west of Saudi Arabia before to return to Khartoum on Wednesday.

Ibn ouf participated in the first meeting of the Council of Ministers of Defense of the Islamic Military Coalition to Combat Terrorism held in Riyadh.

(ST)

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