18:38 GMT18 May 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United States supports Saudi Arabia's decision that the Saudi-led coalition, engaged in the Yemeni conflict, should refuel its aircraft independently, without US support, US Secretary of Defence James Mattis said in a statement on Saturday.

    "We support the decision by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, after consultations with the U.S. Government, to use the Coalition’s own military capabilities to conduct in-flight refueling in support of its operations in Yemen," the statement, published on the department's website, read.

    Mattis went on to say that the US would continue cooperating with the Saudi-led coalition and Yemen to "minimise civilian casualties and expand urgent humanitarian efforts throughout the country," while it would also support UN effort's to solve the crisis.

    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.

    The coalition's request came amid the backdrop of US media reports that Washington planned to cease its refuelling support to the coalition amid mounting criticism of the devastating Yemeni conflict, raging since 2015, and the killing of Saudi opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey.

    READ MORE: Yemen's Hodeidah Port Stays Open Despite Upsurge in Fighting — UN Spokesman

    The coalition supports the Yemeni government in the conflict, carrying out airstrikes targeting the other warring party, the Houthi rebel movement. The conflict has resulted in a huge civilian death toll, leading to an acute humanitarian disaster and outbreaks of cholera across the country. The situation has provoked global concern and criticism.

    The killing of Khashoggi triggered an escalation of criticism against Saudi authorities. The journalist went missing after visiting the Saudi Consulate in early October, while Riyadh eventually acknowledged that he had been killed inside the building.


    Saudi-Led Coalition in Yemen Asks US to Stop Refueling Its Aircraft - Reports
    Yemen’s Houthis Say Attacked Saudi Air Base in Response to Airstrikes - Reports
    Yemen Ceasefire Calls Intensify as US Support For Saudi Arabia Fades
    US Forces Hit Al-Qaeda in Yemen With 2 Unreported Airstrikes in September
    Yemen War, James Mattis, US, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
    Community standardsDiscussion