United Arab Emirates denies Yemen overreach with more troops

CAIRO — The United Arab Emirates has denied allegations of overreaching in Yemen after it deployed forces and seized the airport on Yemen's island of Socotra, listed by UNESCO as a world natural heritage site.

In the first official UAE comment, its foreign ministry said on Sunday that any military presence in Yemen is aimed at shoring up the country's internationally recognized government.

The ministry said the UAE has "no interests in Yemen" other than that.

The UAE is a major pillar in a Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Shiite rebels known as Houthis under the banner of restoring the authority of the Yemeni president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The Emiratis, however, have carved out a zone of influence in southern Yemen over the past two years, setting up prisons and militias.

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