US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III held a phone conversation with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The talks came amid heightened tension following Yemen’s Iranian-supported Houthi group’s insistent attacks towards the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in recent times.
According to the statement issued by the US Department of Defense, the two officials discussed the latest Houthi escalation against the UAE that caused civilian casualties. The Houthi attacks also targeted the US and Emirati forces located at Al Dhafra Air Base.
During the conversation, Secretary Austin informed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed that the Pentagon would send the “guided-missile destroyer USS Cole to partner with the UAE Navy before making a port call in Abu Dhabi.”
He also told the Crown Prince that fifth-generation fighter aircraft, including US-produced F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lighting II combat jets, would be deployed to the UAE in terms of providing support “against the current threat.”
The decision came as a “clear signal that the United States stands with the UAE as a longstanding strategic partner,” the ministry statement added.
The US move also marks a shift in the Biden administration’s policies towards the ongoing war in Yemen. In his first days at the office, President Biden halted his country’s support for the Saudi-led Arab Coalition’s operations in Yemen. He also revoked Trump’s decision to designate the Houthi group as a foreign terrorist organization.
However, US President Joe Biden announced last month that the re-designation of the Houthis as a “foreign terrorist organization” was being considered.