'The US will continue to support the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen as it attempts to rival Iranian influence and Islamic extremism in the region, the State Department has said.
Since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was a Washington Post columnist, at Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate, the Trump administration has come under fire for its four-year-involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen — leading the country to the brink of famine with about 85,000 young children said to have died from starvation.
Last month, the Senate voted to move forward a resolution ending US military support in the conflict, which includies arm sales and intelligence sharing with the Sunni Muslim coalition’s quest to expel Iranian-backed Houthis from the country and restore an internationally recognised government.
“Obviously 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,” Timothy Lenderking, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for Arabian Gulf affairs, said at a security forum in the United Arab Emirates.
“We do believe that the support for the coalition is necessary. It sends a wrong message if we discontinue our support,” he added.
The US has, however, halted its refuelling of aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition, which has been blamed for killing thousands of Yemeni civilians since the start of the conflict.
UN-sponsored peace talks in Saudi Arabia between the warring parties began last week. Mr Lenderking said the peace talks were a “vital first step” in ending the conflict that has killed thousands of people.'
Read more: Trump regime to continue support for Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen
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