US official reaffirms commitment to Arab Coalition's Yemen operation

Timothy Lenderking tells Abu Dhabi conference he 'strongly opposes discontinuing support'

Yemeni pro-government forces cheer as they ride in the back of a pickup truck mounted with a machine gun as they drive in an industrial district in the eastern outskirts of the port city of Hodeida on November 18, 2018, as they continue to battle for the control of the city from the Huthi rebels.  / AFP / STRINGER
Powered by automated translation

A United States official has reaffirmed the country's commitment to supporting the Arab Coalition's operation in Yemen, amid calls to distance itself from the campaign to beat back Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Arabian Gulf Affairs, Timothy Lenderking, said the country "strongly opposes" discontinuing support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

"Obviously there are pressures in our either withdraw from the conflict or discontinue our support of the coalition, which we are strongly opposed to on the administration side," Mr Lenderking told the UAE Security Forum 2018 in Abu Dhabi.

"We do believe that the support for the coalition is necessary. It sends a wrong message if we discontinue our support," he said.

The United State's support for the Arab Coalition has come under increased scrutiny from within the US following the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.

Last month, the United States Senate voted to advance legislation to end the country's support for the war in Yemen.

The United States, along with the United Kingdom and France support the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen.

Mr Lenderking also said UN-sponsored peace talks between the warring parties that started last week in Sweden, the first in two years, were a "vital first step" in ending the conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people.


Read more:

Yemen's warring parties still at odds over key agenda items as talks enter third day

Exclusive: Mesa to include nine countries while prioritising Iran threat


The coalition intervened in the conflict in 2015 after Houthi-rebels took over the capital Sanaa, forcing the internationally recognised president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to flee.

The war has led to a dangerous humanitarian crisis, which the UN warns could be one of the worst famines in history.