League of Arab States pledges to support Yemen

Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League (L) with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa on Oct. 6. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League (L) with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa on Oct. 6. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

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SANAA — League of Arab States Secretary General Amr Moussa was in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Oct. 6 to discuss the deteriorating security situation there, and possible help that Arab governments could provide. The visit came a day after Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit’s visit to demonstrate united Arab support for the government of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Upon his arrival, Moussa said that the Arab League fully supports Yemen's unity, despite the fact that the government is facing growing violence in the north against Shiite Hawthi rebels and renewed clashes in the south with a powerful separatist movement.

After his meeting with President Saleh, Moussa said the president welcomed dialogue with all Yemenis, at home and abroad, provided that they are committed to the country's unity and stability. International security analysts are increasingly concerned that Yemen could quickly devolve into a failed state if violence in the north and south escalates.

U.N. officials assert that violence in the north has already generated a large-scale humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have either been internally displaced due to the fighting, or have crossed the border into Saudi Arabia, only to be sent back. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is particularly concerned that if Yemen sinks further into chaos, the security of the entire Arabian Peninsula could be undermined, making it an attractive target for Al-Qaeda militants, who are entering Yemen in increasing numbers to exploit the internal disturbances.

Moussa declined to specify whether the League of Arab States would attempt to mediate either of the two conflicts, but told President Saleh and Yemeni officials that "any initiative or proposal related to mediation efforts should serve stability and unity. Comprehensive national dialogue is the path to follow."

In their expressions of support to President Saleh, both Egypt and the League of Arab States said they would not allow any foreign interference in the country.