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U.S. Official Says Future Yemen Should Hold No Iranian-Backed Threat

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom welcomes Yemeni delegates at the opening press conference on U.N.-sponsored peace talks for Yemen in Sweden.

While fully supporting peace talks among the warring parties in Yemen, the U.S. does not want any Iranian influence to linger on in the country, a State Department official said in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Timothy Lenderking, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Arabian Gulf Affairs speaking at a security forum said that the Yemen which emerges from the civil war should not contain any Iranian-backed danger for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

This means that while the U.S. recognizes the Houthi rebels as part of any settlement to the war in Yemen, they should not remain a close ally of Iran and facilitate Iranian influence next door to U.S. allies.

The United States is encouraging the Yemeni government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, and the Iran-aligned Houthi movement to fully engage in peace talks taking place in Sweden, Lenderking said.

He also reiterated that the U.S. strongly opposes discontinuing support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. The Trump administration is under pressure bu the U.S. senate to stop supporting the Saudi war effort.

Yemen's Houthi rebels and the Saudi led coalition are taking part in U.N. sponsored talks in Sweden as a confidence-building step to pave the way for an end to hostilities.

Reporting by Reuters, AFP