Washington’s reported attempt to ease diplomatic tensions with UAE was revealed by Axios news site
Axios reported that US Secretary Antony Blinken offered an apology to Abu Dhabi Crown Princess Mohammed bin Zayed in a meeting held last month. Blinken’s apology was apparently meant to fix the American-Emirati relationship over Washington’s response to January’s attack on the UAE by the Houthi rebels.
During the meeting, Blinken admitted that the Biden administration’s response to the attack was not prompt enough and said he was sorry, according to Axios sources.
“The Secretary made clear that we deeply value our partnership with the UAE and that we will continue to stand by our partners in the face of common threats,”An unnamed top State Department official shared the information with Axios. He declined to speak on behalf of his boss’s private diplomatic exchange.
Three people were killed and six others injured when drones from Yemeni rebels attacked the Emirati capital in January. According to the rebels, the attack was in revenge for the UAE supporting the bombing of war-torn Yemen. Saudi-led Coalition responded to the strike in Yemen with additional airstrikes, injuring more than 100 people.
Washington at the time condemned Abu Dhabi’s attack that day. “We will work with the UAE and international partners to hold [Houthis] accountable,”In an official statement, Jake Sullivan was declared the US National Security Advisor. “Our commitment to the security of the UAE is unwavering and we stand beside our Emirati partners against all threats to their territory,”He added.
However, the Emiratis were reportedly disappointed by Washington’s reluctance to designate Yemen’s Houthi movement as a terrorist organization and to send more military aid.
The United Nations said earlier that Houthis would be deemed a terrorist group by the UN. The United Nations expressed concern that granting such a title would hinder aid delivery to Yemen, which is currently in humanitarian crisis.
According to WSJ, McKenzie, a US general, was refused a meeting with Emirati leaders during his February visit to UAE.
Seeking to defy the US even further, Abu Dhabi has refused to vote in favor of a UN resolution condemning the Russian military operation in Ukraine while also abstaining from the General Assembly’s vote on the exclusion of Moscow from the Human Rights Council.
The Emirati Ambassador in Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba acknowledged that there were tensions between their two countries back in March. “It is like any relationship. You have strong days, when your relationship is stable and healthy, as well as days that are difficult. Today, we’re going through a stress test, but I am confident that we will get out of it and get to a better place.”
However, Blinken’s reported effort to reconcile with the Crown Prince has apparently worked. The same Abu Dhabi diplomat told Axios after the March meeting that Blinken had helped him to reconcile with the Crown Prince. “move the relationship between the UAE and the US back on the right track.”
The Emirates remain Washington’s key military ally in the region with nearly 2000 US soldiers and airmen stationed at Abu Dhabi’s al-Dhafra airbase. Both countries supported Saudi Arabi’s ongoing war against the Houthis in Yemen, though the US ceased “offensive”Operation there in the last year was completed and the UAE withdrew all its troops on the ground by early 2020. But the UAE still supports anti-Houthi militants on the ground. The US continues to support Saudi Arabian allies by supporting them with arms sales and intelligence sharing.
Yemen’s civil war – which pits the Houthis against the Saudi-backed government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and several other factions – is currently in its eighth year having claimed the lives of some 233,000 people. UN has described the conflict as “the most serious humanitarian crisis in human history.” “world’s worst humanitarian crisis”Yemenis number 20 millions and are suffering hunger, malnutrition, and other problems.
An UN-brokered ceasefire for Yemen was announced by the UN in April. This truce coincides with Ramadan, the Muslim Holy Month. A few days later Hadi, the exile president, handed over power to a new presidency council.