Yemen War 'Practically Over,' Top U.A.E. Diplomat Says

U.A.E. backs the exiled government against the armed Houthi movement, which Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. fear is a proxy for their regional arch-rival, Iran.

An Emirati gunner watches for enemy fire from the rear gate of a United Arab Emirates Chinook military helicopter flying over Yemen, Sept. 17, 2015.
Adam Schreck/AP

REUTERS – The United Arab Emirates' involvement in more than a year of war in Yemen is "practically over", a top diplomat was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

The U.A.E. is key member of a Saudi-led military coalition which intervened in Yemen in March 2015. It backs the exiled government against the armed Houthi movement, which Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. fear is a proxy for their regional arch-rival, Iran.

"Our position today is clear: the war is practically over for our troops," Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash was quoted as saying in a closed-door speech by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed's official twitter account.

"We are looking at political arrangements and our political role now is to empower the Yemenis in the liberated areas."

A Houthi missile killed more than 60 Gulf Arab troops stationed in central Yemen in September, including 52 Emiratis, the worst loss ever suffered by the U.A.E. military.

U.A.E. troops led a Yemeni government offensive against al Qaeda fighters in April, expelling them their base in the southern port city of Mukalla.

While Saudi Arabia is backing a push on the Houthi-held capital Sanaa in Yemen's northwest, the U.A.E. has focused on stabilizing the southern city of Aden which has suffered repeated attacks by Al-Qaida and Islamic State militants.