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 yesterday.
Since the Oct 2 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate, the US administration has come under pressure at home over the nearly four-year-old conflict.
The Senate last month voted to advance a resolution to end US military support, which includes arms sales and intelligence sharing, for the Western-backed Sunni Muslim coalition that intervened in 2015 against the Iranian-aligned Houthis to restore the internationally recognised government.
"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.
The United States last month halted US refuelling of aircraft from the coalition, which has been blamed for air strikes that have killed thousands of civilians in Yemen.
The US official's reassurances of continued support comes as Sweden hosts the first UN-led peace talks in two years between the warring parties and as Gulf Arab leaders hold an annual summit in Riyadh yesterday, expected to discuss the war.