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Washington provided Saudi Arabia, UAE with ‘appropriate military sales’: US envoy

“I think this step on Yemen definitely solidifies even further the US relationship with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and I think that’s a very important dimension,” US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking said.

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A senior US diplomat said Monday that Washington had provided Saudi Arabia and the UAE with “appropriate military sales” to prevent more attacks from Yemen and the Iran-backed Houthis.

The relationship between Washington and its Gulf allies, specifically Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, has been hampered by the Biden administration’s efforts to “recalibrate” ties.

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“The US has provided very strong assurances,” US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking told Bloomberg TV.

Lenderking added that this was “backed up by appropriate defensive military sales and that should serve as a strong deterrent for further attacks from Yemen.”

Calling the US moves “a very strong positive for the region,” Lenderking said: “I think this step on Yemen definitely solidifies even further the US relationship with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and I think that’s a very important dimension.”

Lenderking was recently in the region and took part in the peace talks between warring factions in Yemen, which led to a two-month ceasefire.

Shortly after taking office, US President Joe Biden and his top officials repeatedly called Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state, removed the Houthis from the terror blacklist, and froze arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Biden said he was considering re-designating the Houthis as a terrorist organization after the group targeted the UAE and ramped up its attacks on civilian targets in Saudi Arabia and on Saudi Aramco.

In recent months, the US president has dispatched senior officials to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, imploring Riyadh to increase oil output due to soaring energy prices in the US and across Europe.

Both Gulf countries rebuffed these calls and voiced their commitment to agreements reached between oil-producing nations in OPEC+.

Read more: Biden eased pressure on the Houthis one year ago; has it worked?

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