US welcomes winding down of strikes in Yemen

A Saudi soldier sits on top of an armor vehicle as he aims his weapons, on the border with Yemen. (File photo: AP)

The White House Thursday welcomed a pledge from a Saudi-led coalition to wind down the air war in Yemen, an announcement that could dial back tensions between Riyadh and Washington before President Barack Obama visits.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest welcomed a coalition statement that the year-old campaign against Iran-backed Houthi militias was nearing the “end of the major combat phase.”

“The violence there that is plaguing that country has caught too many innocent civilians in the crossfire,” Earnest said.

“We would welcome and do welcome the statement from coalition spokesperson Saudi General Ahmed al-Assiri who indicated today that major operations in Yemen are coming to an end and that the coalition will work on ‘long-term plans’ to bring stability to the country.”

Al-Assiri earlier said that “in any military campaign you have phases.” “Today,” he said, “we are in the end of the major combat phase.”

Obama’s administration also urged a negotiated settlement to the conflict.

“We have long made the case that Yemen is in dire need of a political solution, and that that political solution needs to come as soon as possible,” Earnest said.

“That’s why we have continued to urge all parties return to UN facilitated peace talks.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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