Yemen president sacks defence and army chiefs amid Hodeida offensive
10 November, 2018, 20:35 | Author: Myra Gill
Earlier this year, Mattis had defended U.S. military support to Saudi-led coalition forces in Yemen, when lawmakers weighed forcing the Pentagon to end Washington's involvement. "As a result, in consultation with the United States, the coalition has requested cessation of support for it's operations in Yemen", the SPA said.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis backed the decision and said the US Government was consulted.
Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition that has been fighting the Huthi rebels since 2015 to shore up the internationally recognised government, is active nearly daily in Yemen.
The announcement came amid global outrage over Riyadh's killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in October, though Norway did not mention the murder specifically. The experts documented 6,475 deaths from March 2015 until last June, but said the real figure is likely to be significantly higher. Mattis said the United States would play a continuing role to help the Saudi-led coalition and Yemeni forces minimize civilian casualties and expand humanitarian efforts.
The decision came after a request from the coalition members for a cessation of U.S. refueling as they have increased their own independent capabilities to refuel aircraft inflight, the coalition said.
That appeal came just days after the United States, in a significant shift, piled pressure on its Saudi ally to end the war by calling for a ceasefire and peace talks.
"We feel that the current situation above all else warrants a resolution that gives both the special envoy and OCHA the support they need to take a step towards ending the conflict in Yemen and the suffering of the Yemeni people", the trio said in an email to the council seen by AFP. However, several previous attempts by Griffiths to arrange peace talks this year have failed as one side or the other refused to attend.
News of the halt to US refuelling operations was swiftly dismissed by the Houthis as a media ploy that came in response to global pressure on Washington and Riyadh over the Yemen war. "If there is a halt to the airstrikes, then we can proceed to political negotiations".
The Yemeni Joint Resistance forces on Friday took full control of the May 22 Hospital in the western suburbs of Hodeidah in Yemen, amid a major collapse of the Houthi militia's defences, Wam news agency reported on Saturday.
He told them cutting off support could jeopardize cooperation on counterterrorism and reduce American influence with Saudi Arabia.
As much as 80 percent of humanitarian supplies, fuel and commercial goods that Yemenis depend on are delivered through the port city.
Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, has stood on the brink of starvation and faced disease outbreaks in a conflict that has killed at least 10,000 people. The Houthis have also been accused of firing Iran-made missiles into Saudi Arabia and at coalition ships. The Houthis also have imprisoned opponents and indiscriminately laid land mines.
On Wednesday, pro-government forces said they had made further advances on Hodeidah after fierce battles that have killed almost 200 fighters in the past week. Global aid agencies warn any disruption to the port could sever that crucial lifeline.
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