McKenzie: Helping Saudi Arabia militarily is a high US priority
Tuesday – 27 Shawwal 1442 AH – 08 June 2021 AD Issue No. [
Commander of US Central Command in the Middle East General Kenneth McKenzie
Washington: Moaz Al-Omari
McKenzie said during a press conference yesterday, in response to a question to Asharq Al-Awsat, that “helping Saudi Arabia in defending itself, confronting Houthi missiles and strikes, and improving its integrated air and missile defenses is a high American priority,” because the Saudis are subjected to “continuous bombardment by the Houthis in Yemen.” With ballistic missiles, small drones and ground attack cruise missiles.”
He considered that “these strikes are not useful, at a time when everyone is working to try to find an end to the conflict in Yemen, so we are working hard with the Saudis to enable them to defend themselves,” stressing that he is happy with the results from continuing the continuous work with the Saudis in this regard.
When asked about the results of the investigations into the arms shipment seized by the United States in the northern Arabian Sea last month, he stated that the investigations are still ongoing, and the specialized team is still working on the investigations, and they will be announced in partnership with regional allies, he said.
He added, “The ship contained a large number of weapons in very suspicious circumstances, and we are still completing the investigations, so we do not want to say anything to the public before the investigations are completed, although there is a lot of evidence that tells us about what the shipments are and where they are heading, but at some point.” We will definitely come out with that, and we will do it in coordination with our regional partners, because the time has not yet come.”
He believed that the Houthis are not ready enough to end the war in Yemen, and to abide by the peaceful initiatives that call for a ceasefire, explaining that “they do not want to take advantage of the opportunity, and I am convinced that the Saudis want to end the conflict in Yemen and the war. The Saudis are ready to discuss, but the Houthis are not ready and do not want to take advantage of the moment, and I hope that they will take responsibility and participate in the political process and end the conflict.”
The envoys of the United States and Britain to Yemen had called on the Houthi militia to end its attack on Marib, after 21 people were killed by shelling on Marib. The British ambassador to Yemen, Michael Aaron, wrote on Twitter that “the Houthis’ serious participation in the United Nations efforts to reach a nationwide ceasefire would prevent such tragic losses.”