Former US hostage in Yemen welcomed by Trump at White House
An American citizen held hostage in Yemen for 18 months has been welcomed back to the United States by President Donald Trump, who thanked the United Arab Emirates for its efforts in securing Danny Burch's release.
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday, the US president said that the UAE was instrumental in getting Burch out of Yemen.
Burch was working in the country as an engineer at Yemeni Safer oil company when he was abducted in September 2017 by Houthi rebels, Reuters reported.
"He was in Yemen, in a very horrible situation - a captive, a prisoner. You can call him whatever you want, but it wasn't good," said Trump, who was joined on Wednesday by Burch and his family, as well as US Vice President Mike Pence and other US lawmakers.
"We had some great help from UAE and all of our friends. But we got Danny out," Trump said.
The president also personally thanked the UAE's crown prince, Muhammad bin Zayed, in a phone call on Wednesday for "recovering [Burch] from captivity in Yemen and reuniting him with his family", the White House said in a statement.
"They also discussed regional security issues and efforts to promote stability in the region," the White House said, about the two leaders' discussion.
Burch's return to the US comes amid ongoing pressure on the Trump administration to end its support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, of which the UAE is a prominent member.
US lawmakers from both major parties have pushed for an end to US support for that coalition, invoking a never-before-used War Powers Act in a resolution that was passed in the House of Representatives earlier this year.
Saudi Arabia launched its military offensive in Yemen in 2015 to root out the Houthis, who had taken over the capital, Sanaa, and ousted the country's Saudi-backed president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
The war in Yemen has killed thousands of people and led to widespread disease and malnutrition.
Experts and former US officials recently told MEE that the devastating conflict would end if Washington stopped assisting the Saudi-led coalition.
US help to the coalition has included mid-air refuelling of fighter jets, aid with a naval blockade and help coordinating military operations, among other things.