US Strongly Opposes Ditching Support for Arab Coalition in Yemen

US Strongly Opposes Ditching Support for Arab Coalition in Yemen

Monday, 10 December, 2018 - 07:30
FILE PHOTO: A pro-government army soldier carries Yemen's national flag as he walks at the strategic Fardhat Nahm military camp, around 60km (40 miles) from Yemen's capital Sanaa, February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Ali Owidha/File Photo
Abu Dhabi - Asharq Al-Awsat
The United States wants to continue support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s war and will remain engaged in efforts to combat Iranian influence and Islamist militancy in the Arab state, a State Department official said on Sunday.

“There are pressures in our system ... to either withdraw from the conflict or discontinue our support of the coalition, which we are strongly opposed to on the administration side,” said Timothy Lenderking, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Arabian Gulf Affairs.

“We do believe that the support for the coalition is necessary. It sends a wrong message if we discontinue our support,” he told a security forum in the United Arab Emirates, Reuters reported.

The US official’s reassurances of continued support comes as Sweden hosted the first UN-led peace talks in two years between the warring parties and as Gulf Arab leaders held an annual summit in Riyadh on Sunday.

Lenderking said peace talks launched last week were a “vital first step” in ending the conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and left millions facing starvation.

He said there were no illusions the process would be easy, but that there were signs of constructive talks and that Washington wants concrete results from the meetings focused on confidence-building measures and a transitional governing body.

“Looking down the road we seek a stable and unified Yemen that fosters rather than drains regional and global stability.”

Lenderking said that experts forecast there could be 1 million former combatants that need to be disarmed once a peace deal is reached, requiring security sector reform as well as restoring crippled infrastructure and shoring up the economy.

“Early recovery efforts are underway but full scale reconstruction can only occur in a peaceful environment. For that reason we want to close the space for malign Iranian influence.”





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