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Malaysia to withdraw troops from Saudi Arabia: Official

Kuala Lumpur to ‘reconsider’ previous government’s decision to send troops to oil-rich kingdom

Malaysia to withdraw troops from Saudi Arabia: Official

By Emre Aytegin

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia / ANKARA, Turkey

Malaysia’s new government plans to withdraw all Malaysian troops from Saudi Arabia, according to recent remarks by Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu.

In a Wednesday statement carried by the Malaysian National News Agency, Sabu warned that maintaining a military presence in the oil-rich kingdom risked dragging the country into a regional conflict.

With this in mind, the defense minister said, Malaysia should reconsider its policy of keeping its soldiers there.

He went on to stress that Malaysian troops were not taking part in ongoing Saudi military operations in Yemen or those being waged against the Daesh terrorist group.

“Malaysia has always maintained its neutrality; it has never pursued an aggressive foreign policy,” Sabu asserted.

“Our membership in the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War is the best example of this,” he added.

Therefore, Sabu said, the new government would “reconsider” former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s decision to send Malaysian troops to Saudi Arabia.

It remains unclear, however, exactly how many Malaysian troops are currently deployed there. 

*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this story from Ankara

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