Washington: US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis is applauding Saudi Arabia for its humanitarian aid to war-torn Yemen. Speaking at the start of a Pentagon meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, Mattis said the US was committed to working with the Saudis and the United Nations to accelerate a political solution to the civil war.
Mattis says the appointment last month of a new UN envoy to Yemen is an opportunity to speed up the push for a political resolution to the conflict, which has killed more than 10,000 civilians since it started in March 2015.
He called the Saudis “part of the solution,” adding that “we are going to end this war” on terms that are positive for the people of Yemen and their neighbours on the Arabian Peninsula.
Mattis also told Prince Mohammad there was an urgent need to find a political solution to Yemen’s war. “We must also reinvigorate urgent efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to the civil war in Yemen and we support you in this regard,” Mattis said, offering his firm backing to Riyadh.
Just hours after the prince left the White House on Tuesday, the US Senate rejected a bipartisan bid designed to curtail US support for the war, which includes air-to-air refueling of Saudi jets as well as target and intelligence sharing.
Speaking through a translator, Prince Mohammad told Mattis that cooperation between the Pentagon and the kingdom had “improved tremendously”.