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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 April 2019

Anwar Gargash says Donald Trump's Yemen veto is 'positive signal' of US support for allies

The president blocked a resolution passed by Congress to end US military assistance in Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, speaks during a press conference at his office in Dubai on June 24, 2017. AFP
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, speaks during a press conference at his office in Dubai on June 24, 2017. AFP

Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, has welcomed US President Donald Trump's veto of a Congress resolution to end American involvement in the Yemen war.

"President Trump’s assertion of support to the Arab Coalition in Yemen is a positive signal of US resolve towards America’s allies. Common strategic interests are best served with this clear commitment," he wrote on Twitter.

"Coalition continues to work without interruption to support peace through UN led Stockholm Agreement & its commitment to the humanitarian & political dimensions of the Yemen crisis unshakable. President Trump’s important decision is both timely & strategic."

The veto – the second in Mr Trump's presidency – was expected, and Congress lacks the votes to override it. But passing the never-before-used war powers resolution was viewed as a milestone for politicians, who have shown a renewed willingness to assert their war-making authority after letting it atrophy for decades under presidents from both parties.

"This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future," Mr Trump wrote to explain his veto.

Mr Trump said the measure was unnecessary because, except for counterterrorism operations against ISIS militants and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the US is not engaged in hostilities in or affecting Yemen.

He said there were no US military personnel in Yemen accompanying the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthis, although he acknowledged that the US had provided limited support to the coalition, including intelligence sharing, logistics support, and – until recently – in-flight refueling of non-US aircraft.

The president also said the resolution would harm bilateral relations and interferes with his constitutional power as commander-in-chief.

He said the US is providing the support to protect the safety of more than 80,000 Americans who live in certain areas of the coalition countries subject to Houthi attacks from Yemen.

"Houthis, supported by Iran, have used missiles, armed drones and explosive boats to attack civilian and military targets in those coalition countries, including areas frequented by American citizens, such as the airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia," Mr Trump said. "In addition, the conflict in Yemen represents a 'cheap' and inexpensive way for Iran to cause trouble for the United States and for our ally, Saudi Arabia."

About 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen over the past four years, according to the World Health Organisation, although rights groups say the toll could be five times higher.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been accused of acts that could amount to war crimes and regularly fire drones at Saudi cities.

Updated: April 17, 2019 12:37 PM

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