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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 March 2019

Donald Trump thanks UAE for aiding in Yemen hostage release

The US president said the emirates played a key role in securing the freedom of Danny Burch

A picture of Danny Burch released to media by his wife Nadia Forsa. Courtesy: Burch family
A picture of Danny Burch released to media by his wife Nadia Forsa. Courtesy: Burch family

US President Donald Trump has thanked the UAE for helping to secure the release of an American oil company worker who was held hostage in Yemen.

The president said Danny Burch has been reunited with his wife and children following 18 months in captivity.

In a message to his 58 million followers on Twitter, the president said: "I appreciate the support of the United Arab Emirates in bringing Danny home".

A White House statement from the president further said that "Danny’s recovery reflects the best of what the United States and its partners can accomplish".

Oil engineer Mr Burch was working for the Safer Yemeni oil company when he was seized in September 2017. He had worked in Yemen since 2003, according to his family.

"They did it in broad daylight in front of everyone," his wife Nadia Forsa, who is Yemeni, told The New York Times at the time.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also thanked the Emiratis, Robert O'Brien, the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the FBI's hostage recovery team for working to free Mr Burch.

"Today, he is safe and secure, and is reunited with his wife and children," Mr Pompeo said. The US has yet to state who his captors were, citing family privacy.

Mr Trump said 20 American hostages have been freed since he became president. Governments often urge families and the media not to make public the details of kidnappings and hostage-taking until their release.

The Arab Coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Houthi militia seized much of the country. The international community has called for the reinstatement of Abdrabu Mansur Hadi's recognised government.

The war has lead to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and pushed the country to the brink of famine.

Updated: February 26, 2019 12:31 PM

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