Biden ending US support for Saudi-led offensive in Yemen
President Joe Biden announced on Feb. 4 the United States was ending support for a grinding five-year Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen that has deepened suffering in the Arabian peninsula's poorest country, calling the move part of restoring a U.S. emphasis on diplomacy, democracy and human rights.
"The war has created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe," Biden told diplomats in his first visit to the State Department as president. "This war has to end."
The Yemen reversal is one of a series of changes Biden laid out Thursday that he said would mark a course correction for U.S. foreign policy. That's after President Donald Trump, and some Republican and Democratic administrations before his, often aided authoritarian leaders abroad in the name of stability.
The announcement on Yemen fulfills a campaign pledge. But it also shows Biden putting the spotlight on a major humanitarian crisis that the United States has helped aggravate. The reversing of policy also comes as a rebuke to Saudi Arabia, a global oil giant and U.S. strategic partner.
Saudi Arabia responded on Feb. 5-4, welcoming an assurance by Biden that the United States would continue cooperation on the kingdom's defense. In a statement on the official Saudi press agency, the kingdom said it appreciated international diplomatic efforts, affirming "its firm position in support of a comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis." The kingdom also stressed its humanitarian aid to Yemenis.
The ending of U.S. support for the offensive will not affect any U.S. operations against the Yemen-based al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, group, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.
Biden also announced an end to "relevant" U.S. arms sales but...