Top US general visits Yemen

Gen. Joseph Votel meets Yemen's chief of staff, discusses developing Yemen's coast guard, naval forces, special forces

Top US general visits Yemen

The top general overseeing U.S. military operations in the Middle East met Wednesday with Yemen's chief of staff in the interim capital, Aden.

According to Yemen’s official SABA news agency, Gen. Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and Major General Taher al-Aqili discussed developing Yemen's coast guard, naval forces and special forces to “tackle the threat of terrorist militias and fight smuggling”. 

The two also discussed the situation in Yemen and the government's attempt to restore the state.

"Yemen will not be the starting point of terrorist groups but will be a part of international peace and security," al-Aqili said.

"The U.S. supports the legitimate government in Yemen and wants peace and stability in the country," Votel noted. 

  Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by conflict since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country.

  The conflict escalated the following year when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a wide-ranging air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains in Yemen.

  The violence has devastated the country’s infrastructure, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.