US urges political solution to Yemen war

Safvan Allahverdi

WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday said urgent steps need to be taken for a political solution to end the civil war in Yemen.

Speaking to Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman at the Pentagon, Mattis said Washington is committed to cooperating with the Saudis and the UN, adding that the appointment of a new UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is an opportunity to accelerate a political solution to resolve the conflict.

“We have been working very hard with the new U.N. envoy to end the fight in Yemen and we believe that Saudi Arabia is part of the solution, they have stood by the United Nations recognized government and we are going to end this war, that is the bottom line,” he noted.

“And we are going to end it on positive terms for the people of Yemen but also security for the nations in the peninsula.”

The meeting at the Pentagon came after Salman met with President Donald Trump at the White House Tuesday.

Mattis also praised Saudi’s humanitarian effort in Yemen, saying that amounts of humanitarian aid that Saudis provide is “critical” to help innocents  civilians who are stuck in the conflict, which has killed more than 10,000 civilians since it started in March 2015.

In a response to Mattis, Salman said Saudi Arabia cooperation with the UN would continue to grow.

Yemen has been wracked by chaos since 2015, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa, forcing the Saudi-backed government to set up an interim capital in the coastal city of Aden.

The conflict escalated one year later when a Saudi-led coalition began a wide-ranging military campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains. (AA)