Blinken reiterates commitment to helping Gulf partners against Houthi threats

Secretary of state reupped US commitment in a call with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan spoke on Friday about the Biden administration's commitment to protecting its Gulf partners. Reuters

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a call on Friday with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, reiterated Washington's commitment to helping Gulf partners improve their defence capabilities against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the State Department said.

“The secretary condemned the January 17 Houthi attack on both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that struck civilian sites in the UAE, including Abu Dhabi’s international airport, and killed and wounded civilians,” the State Department said in a readout of the call.

“Secretary Blinken reiterated the US commitment to help Gulf partners improve their capabilities to defend against threats from Yemen and elsewhere in the region and underscored the importance of mitigating civilian harm.”

The UN Security Council earlier on Friday unanimously condemned this week’s strikes on Abu Dhabi by Yemen's armed Houthi rebel group as “heinous terrorist attacks” and called for the perpetrators to face justice.

Meanwhile, the US Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking held meetings Riyadh about the recent escalation. The US state department said Mr Lenderking met with representatives of the permanent members of the UN security council and the special envoy of the United Nations secretary general for Yemen, Hans Grundberg. In a tweet, the US State Department said “they condemned Houthi attacks against civilians in the UAE, expressed deep concern about Yemen's civilian casualties, and called for de-escalation and support for the UN-led peace process”.

The US State Department issued a statement late Friday night voicing concern about the deaths of Yemeni civilians. Mr Blinken posted a tweet stating that “the escalation in fighting and attacks across Yemen must come to an end. We urge all parties to commit to a peaceful, diplomatic solution to ending the conflict”. He added “the Yemeni people deserve to live in peace and determine their own future”.

Updated: January 22, 2022, 1:07 AM