U.S. Blinken, Saudi foreign minister discuss Yemen, defense

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a visit by U.S. President Joe Biden to the State Department in Washington, U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed diplomatic efforts to end the war in Yemen and bolstering Saudi Arabia’s defenses in a call with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud on Wednesday, the U.S. State Department said.

Saudi state media and the state department said the two ministers also discussed the need to find a political solution to the war in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia leads a coalition which intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi group. U.N. officials are trying to revive peace talks to end the war, which the U.N. says has created the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

On Wednesday, Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group said it carried out a drone attack on Saudi’s Abha airport, which the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi forces in Yemen said caused a fire in a civilian aircraft.

The two officials “discussed joint efforts to bolster Saudi defenses against attacks on the Kingdom,” the State Department said in a statement.

U.S. President Joe Biden last week named veteran U.S. diplomat Tim Lenderking as a U.S. special envoy to Yemen in a bid to step up American diplomacy to end the war.

The new administration in Washington has also announced an end to its support for Saudi-led military operations in Yemen.

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