(Bloomberg) -- The US urged its Gulf allies to work together on efforts to end a years-long conflict in Yemen that has bolstered Iran’s clout.

“We definitely want to see that the region is pulling in the same direction with regard to Yemen,” US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking said in an interview with Bloomberg News, asked about divisions between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“The longer the conflict is open-ended the more it leads to the possibility of errant regional behavior, and we certainly look at the Iranians as one outside actor that has played a negative role in Yemen over the last 7-8 years, fueling the conflict and aiding and abetting the war effort,” Lenderking added.

A deepening feud between Saudi Arabia and the UAE over Yemen is complicating a bid to turn a tentative truce with the Iranian-backed Houthi group into a formal cease-fire agreement and advance UN-mediated peace talks.

Both countries have come under attack from the Houthis, including missile strikes in September 2019 that briefly knocked out about half of Saudi oil production and a January 2022 Houthi missile strike on Abu Dhabi.

The US diplomat welcomed talks this week in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly between rival Saudi and UAE-backed Yemeni leaders and said Washington is engaging with the Gulf powers.

“There is a genuine effort to bring this conflict to a close,” he said, also pointing to the visit to Saudi Arabia for negotiations by the Houthi rebels as a sign of progress.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.