Morocco joins Saudi coalition in Yemen: ministry

Yemenis walk in an empty street in the southern city of Aden on March 26, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saleh al-Obeidi)

Rabat (AFP) - Morocco has joined the Saudi-led military coalition that has intervened to support Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi in his fight against Iran-backed Shiite rebels, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

Rabat has "put at the disposition" of the coalition Moroccan warplanes already based in the United Arab Emirates, from which they have been participating in US-led strikes against the Islamic State group, a statement said.

Morocco had "decided to provide all forms of support to the coalition to sustain legitimacy in Yemen through the political, intelligence, logistical and military dimensions," the statement added.

The objective was to help "remove Yemen from the crisis in which it is mired," as well as to "stand up to all foreign conspiracies woven against the country, and against Gulf and Arab security."

The ministry pointed out that Morocco has a "multidimensional strategic partnership" with the Gulf Cooperation Council, which groups the six Gulf monarchies, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

In 2011, the GCC invited Morocco and Jordan, also monarchies, to join the group. While that did not materialise, the group subsequently created a $5 billion (4.6 billion euros) fund on behalf of the two countries.