Saudi Arabia military offensive in Yemen
The Saudi army seen deployed along the Saudi border with Yemen Reuters

Yemen President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi has thanked Saudi Arabia for its month-long military campaign in Yemen against Shiite Houthi rebels and for upholding "legitimacy" in the country.

In his televised remarks, he said: "I extend on my behalf and on behalf of the Yemeni people sincere thanks and appreciation for the Arab and Muslim brothers and our partners in the coalition for supporting legitimacy."

Hadi is currently in exile in Saudi Arabia, the Sunni powerhouse in the region, after escaping the intensifying conflict. He fled to the southern Yemeni city of Aden in February before eventually reaching Saudi Arabia.

His comments have come after Riyadh announced it is switching gear in its military intervention in Yemen. Announcing the end of the aerial campaign - known as Operation Decisive Storm - against the Houthi rebels, Saudi Arabia said it is beginning Operation Renewal of Hope to protect civilians.

"The coalition has completed the 'Decisive Storm' campaign at the request of the Yemeni government and the President of Yemen," the Riyadh government's military spokesperson Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri said.

"The primary goals of the campaign have been achieved and sovereignty has been protected. We are able to confirm that the Houthis are no longer a threat to Yemenis or neighbouring countries."

Saudi authorities have insisted that the military would be used if necessary, although the focus has largely shifted to finding a political solution to the crisis. Riyadh has also ruled out an immediate ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's regional Shiite rival Iran, which is widely seen to be backing the Yemeni Houthis, has urged for immediate humanitarian assistance in Yemen.

"Positive developments in Yemen should be followed by urgent humanitarian assistance, intra-Yemeni dialogue and broad-based govt. Ready to help," Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted.

Welcoming the move, an official statement from Tehran's foreign ministry added: "Before this, we said the crisis in Yemen had no military solution, and... a halt to killing innocent and defenceless people is absolutely a step forward," according to the quasi-official ISNA outlet.