Mattis Urges 30-day Cease-fire in Yemen

Published November 29th, 2018 - 10:33 GMT
A Yemeni man walks past burning tires in Aden on Sept. 6. (Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP)
A Yemeni man walks past burning tires in Aden on Sept. 6. (Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP)

Secretary of State Jim Mattis has called for a 30-day cease-fire in Yemen's civil war and the start of peace talks, within a month's time.

The Pentagon chief's remarks signal a clear desire by the United States to bring and end to the fighting that's plagued Yemen for the last few years.

"Thirty days from now we want to see everybody around a peace table based on a cease-fire, based on a pullback from the border and then based on ceasing dropping of bombs that will permit the [United Nations] special envoy, Martin Griffiths to get them together in Sweden and end this war," Mattis said in a speech Tuesday at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed.

"The United States calls on all parties to support U.N. Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen," he said. "Substantive consultations under the U.N. Special Envoy must commence this November in a third country."

Mattis and Pompeo have met with congressional legislators to discourage efforts to vote on a resolution ending U.S. support of the Saudi-led coalition of Arab nations, who are fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels for control of the Yemeni government, The Hill reported.

Mattis believes proceeding with the resolution would undercut President Donald Trump's ability to find a resolution to the war through negotiation with the Saudi government.

The Senate resolution would require Trump to withdraw all U.S. troops in "or affecting" Yemen within 30 days. The United States provides the Saudi coalition with training designed to minimize civilian casualties, and had provided aerial refueling of coalition warplanes.

Relations between the United States and Riyadh have been delicate since the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month. Senators have also shown concern that Saudi Arabia is not adequately preventing civilian deaths in the four-year-old Yemeni war.

The United Nations and other groups have pointed to the war as the cause of a famine potentially affecting 14 million people, or half the Yemeni population. Humanitarian supplies have not been allowed to arrive in the country, and its main port of Hudayah has been under siege for months by Houthi troops and Saudi bombardment.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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