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Kerry to discuss ‘humanitarian pause’ in Yemen with Saudi Arabia

Published: Updated:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday he will be discussing with Saudi Arabia the implementation of a “humanitarian pause” in military operations in Yemen in order to facilitate aid operations.

“I will be there in Saudi Arabia tonight. We will be discussing the nature of the pause and how it might be implemented,” Kerry told reporters in Djibouti. “We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation that is unfolding in Yemen.”

“I am convinced of their desire to implement a pause,” Kerry said of the Saudi authorities, who are leading a coalition fighting anti-government rebels in Yemen.

“We hope that the coalition will join in working with the U.N. and the rest of the global community in order to find a way to deliver aid,” he said.

“For the time being the immediate crisis is the humanitarian one,” Kerry added, also announcing $68 million in humanitarian assistance to Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab countries launched air strikes in Yemen in late March against Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies after they seized control of large parts of the country including the capital Sanaa.

The United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Johannes van der Klaauw, told AFP in Djibouti on Saturday that an arms embargo was affecting delivery of supplies, urging a humanitarian pause “at least for a couple of days.”