Washington | WTNS | Feb 05:Joe Biden said on Thursday that the United States was ending its support for offensive operations in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, saying the war “has to end,” but pledged to continue U.S. support for Saudi Arabia.
In his first foreign policy speech as president, Biden signaled that the US would no longer be an unquestioning ally to the Gulf monarchies, announced a more than eightfold increase in the number of refugees the country would accept, and declared that the days of a US president “rolling over” for Vladimir Putin were over.
“America is back,” Biden declared in remarks delivered at the state department, capping a whiplash fortnight of dramatic foreign policy changes since his 20 January inauguration. “Diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy.”
Biden said the conflict in Yemen, which has killed more than 100,000 Yemenis and displaced 8 million, had “created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe”.
“This war has to end,” Biden. “And to underscore our commitment, we’re ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arm sales.”
However, he said the US would continue to provide defensive support to Saudi Arabia against missile and drone attacks from Iranian-backed forces. US forces will also continue operations against al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula.
In order to rebuild American “moral leadership” Biden said he would also restore the US refugee programme, and announced an executive order that would raise the number of refugees accepted into the US in the first fiscal year of the Biden-Harris administration to 125,000. That is higher than the 110,000 accepted in the last year of the Obama administration, which had dwindled to less than 15,000 in the Trump administration.