Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday he had certified to Congress that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were working to avoid harming civilians in Yemen, clearing the way for continued US help for its ally Saudi Arabia.

Pompeo said in a statement he had advised Congress on Tuesday that “the governments of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations of these governments.”

US lawmakers, concerned about a growing humanitarian crisis, included a measure in this year’s defence spending bill that required Pompeo to certify by Wednesday whether Saudis and the UAE were taking meaningful measures to reduce civilian casualties and allow humanitarian aid.

Without the certification, the law would prohibit the United States from refuelling ally Saudi Arabia’s planes.

US Defence Secretary James Mattis said he backed Pompeo’s finding that Saudi Arabia and UAE “are making every effort to reduce the risk of civilian casualties and collateral damage to civilian infrastructure resulting from their military operations to end the civil war in Yemen.”