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News | March 3, 2023

U.S. Leaders Deepen Maritime Cooperation during Yemen Visit

By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

The U.S. ambassador to Yemen accompanied the U.S. Navy’s top commander in the Middle East during a visit to Yemen, March 2, which included meetings with leaders from the Yemen Coast Guard and local government officials.

U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Steven Fagin and Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), met senior Yemeni coast guard and government representatives in Al Ghaydah, a provincial capital city in southeastern Yemen. The leaders discussed regional maritime security efforts and future opportunities to deepen bilateral and multilateral naval cooperation.

In 2013, Yemen became the 30th member of CMF, which currently includes 38 member-nations and partners. The organization is the largest naval partnership in the world, consisting of four combined task forces that operate in waters across the Middle East.

Last October, the Yemen Coast Guard joined ships from Japan, the Republic of Korea and Spain during a counter-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden that was led by Brazil under Combined Task Force 151.

“I’ve been particularly pleased with Yemen Coast Guard’s leadership and involvement in multilateral counter-piracy exercises,” said Cooper. “Additionally, our bilateral coordination has aided the interdiction and seizure of illegal weapons and ammunition into the country.”

Since 2021, U.S. and partner maritime forces have seized 15,000 illegal arms unlawfully shipped to Yemen. The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons to the Houthis in Yemen violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216 and international law.

The leaders also discussed the launch of a new small-boat operations course for Yemeni coast guard personnel to bolster partner capacity and interoperability. Regional partners will facilitate the course in the coming months at CMF’s headquarters in Bahrain.

CMF member-nations regularly conduct professional exchanges to build partner capacity and interoperability. The partnership helps ensure maritime security and stability across approximately 3.2 million square miles of international waters that encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.