Published: Wed, July 10, 2019

UAE says it is reducing troops in war-torn Yemen

UAE says it is reducing troops in war-torn Yemen

Over the same period, Iranian-allied rebels in Yemen, known as Houthis, upped their attacks on Saudi Arabia, using bomb-laden drones and missiles to target a Saudi airport, killing a civilian and wounding dozens others.

A Saudi-led coalition has been engaged in a military campaign in Yemen since 2015, after the Houthis overran Sanaa and ousted Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is backed by Riyadh.

Yemen's conflict began with the 2014 takeover over of northern and central Yemen by the Houthi rebels, driving out the internationally-recognised government from the capital, Sanaa. "This is part of the process and naturally a process within the coalition that's been discussed extensively with our partners, the Saudis", he said.

The UAE withdrew part of its heavy artillery from Khokha but was - along with the Saudi-led coalition and the government - still overseeing the military situation in Yemen's western coast, he said on Monday.

"The UAE more likely intends to split Yemen into two countries of South and North where it will have influence and dominance over the southern part".

"The UAE announcement appears to be disingenuous and doesn't reflect a honest desire to end the war in Yemen, partly because it was leaked in an anonymous fashion without an official announcement", Thabit said. The official declined to disclose how many troops have left Yemen and how many remain.

The official declined to give figures on how many troops have been withdrawn or how many remain in Yemen, but said the UAE remains committed to the Saudi-led coalition there.

At least one person has been killed and 56 wounded in Saudi Arabia in three such Houthi attacks since June 12, according to Saudi authorities. Diplomats said Abu Dhabi preferred to have its forces on hand should US-Iran tensions escalate further.

However, Saudi Arabia said "it intercepted what appeared like a drone over Abha airport,".

The UAE supports US sanctions on Iran, but has also stressed that war with Iran is not in the region's interest.

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