President Joe Biden speaks to staff of the U.S. State Department during his first visit to the agency in Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 4.
Biden is set to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen, national security adviser Jake Sullivan announced Thursday.
Instead, the U.S. hopes to end the five-year war in the Arabian peninsula’s poorest country through diplomacy, with Biden naming a career diplomat, Timothy Lenderking, as a special envoy to Yemen.
Saudi Arabia began the offensive in 2015 against a Houthi faction that had seized territory in Yemen and had begun launching cross-border missiles at Saudi Arabia. Riyadh responded with an air campaign that has killed large numbers of civilians, with survivors displaying parts of weapons that showed they were made in the United States.
The conflict has added to the hunger and poverty in Yemen.
Biden’s ending of U.S. support for the Saudi military offensive would fulfill a campaign promise. He is expected to announce the move during a visit to the State Department Thursday afternoon.
In his first major foreign policy address, Biden plans to spell out his intent to reengage the U.S. in world affairs and upend former President Donald Trump’s “America First” credo, which often saw Trump quarreling with traditional U.S. allies while showing warmth toward authoritarian rulers.
Biden plans to argue that diplomacy should be at the heart of America’s foreign policy.