Published: Sun, November 11, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Mattis Supports Riyadh's Refusal of US Refuelling of Coalition Aircraft in Yemen

Mattis Supports Riyadh's Refusal of US Refuelling of Coalition Aircraft in Yemen

The coalition expressed hope in its statement that his efforts would lead to a negotiated settlement, including an end to Houthi missile attacks that have targeted Saudi cities and vessels off the port of Hodeidah.

Earlier in the day, Saudi media reported that the coalition had requested the United States to halt aerial refuelling of the coalition's aircraft, specifying that the decision had been made following consultations with Washington.

Saudi Arabia, in a statement released by its embassy in Washington, said it had chose to request an end to United States aerial refueling for its operations in Yemen because it could now handle it by itself.

The decision (to suspend licenses) was taken after "a broad assessment of recent developments in Saudi Arabia and the unclear situation in Yemen", the foreign ministry said in its statement.

The Saudi-led coalition that is bombing Yemen has asked for the "cessation of inflight refueling support" from the United States, a statement from the Saudi press agency said on Saturday.

The Shiite Huthi rebels on Friday launched fierce barrages of mortar fire as they battled to slow an advance by pro-government forces deeper into the port city of Hodeida, military sources said.

Medics at hospitals in government-held territory said 11 soldiers were killed.

Save the Children reported nearly 100 air strikes - five times as many as in the whole first week of October - at the weekend.

Hodeidah has become a key battleground in the war in which the coalition intervened in 2015 to restore the internationally recognised government ousted by the Houthis.

At least 61 combatants have been killed in clashes in Yemen's flashpoint Hodeida, medics and a military source said Sunday, and dozens of wounded taken to hospitals outside the city.

Backed by Saudi air raids, loyalist troops for the first time entered residential neighbourhoods on Thursday, using bulldozers to remove concrete road blocks installed by the rebels.

On October 30, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and James Mattis, the Pentagon chief, had called for a ceasefire within 30 days and demanded that the warring parties meet the UN's Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in Sweden.

Almost 10,000 people have since been killed and the country now stands at the brink of starvation.

Other rights groups believe the toll may be five times as high.

The move comes at a time of global outrage over the murder of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and after Democratic and Republican politicians threatened to take action in Congress next week over the refuelling operations.

Nor will it alone change the trajectory of Yemen's war, they said, or its growing humanitarian crisis, which now includes more than 14 million people on the brink of starvation, more than half of Yemen's population. "The U.S. and the Coalition are planning to collaborate on building up legitimate Yemeni forces to defend the Yemeni people, secure their country's borders, and contribute to counter Al Qaeda and ISIS [Daesh] efforts in Yemen and the region".

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