US ‘committed to helping Saudi Arabia defend its territory, people’

Washington: US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Wednesday and emphasised US commitment to helping Saudi Arabia defend its territory and people, the Pentagon said.

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Austin and Prince Mohammad discussed regional security, particularly efforts to end the war in Yemen, and “ongoing bilateral efforts to improve Saudi Arabias defences,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

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Iran-aligned Houthi militia has kept up cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia and are pressing an offensive to seize Yemen’s gas-rich Ma’arib region.

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Austin “noted Saudi Arabias recent successes in defeating Houthi attacks on the Kingdom” and thanked the crown prince for working with US special envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking to end the Yemen war, Kirby said.

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Last month, Lenderking criticised the Houthis for not engaging seriously in stalled efforts to secure a ceasefire. He also urged the coalition to remove restrictions on all Yemeni ports and airports.

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