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Biden announces end of U.S. support for Yemen military operations

Biden announces end of U.S. support for Yemen military operations
President Joe Biden addresses staffers at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Thursday said he's ending U.S. support for offensive military operations in Yemen.

He made the remarks during his first official visit to the State Department as commander in chief.

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"This war has to end," Biden said. "We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.

"At the same time, Saudi Arabia faces missile attacks and [unmanned aerial vehicle] strikes and other threats from Iranian-supplied forces in multiple countries. We are going to continue to help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people."

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki, at her briefing Thursday, also acknowledged the change of course for operations in Yemen, which has been fighting a civil war for years. The United States has supported Saudi-led operations there.

Biden said he has spoken to some of the United States' closest allies in Britain, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, NATO, Japan, South Korea and Australia to solidify bonds of cooperation.

He also asked Tim Lenderking, deputy assistant secretary of state for Iran, Iraq and regional affairs, to lead the effort to end the war in Yemen.

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"I have asked my Middle East team to ensure our support for the United Nations' initiative to impose a cease-fire, open humanitarian channels and restore long-dormant peace talks," Biden said.

Biden thanked department employees when he arrived on Thursday afternoon.

"It's been a difficult few years." he told Foreign Service officers. "You not only have great intellectual policy, you have incredible courage."

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