Saudi Coalition Asks To End Refueling Deal With US For Yemen War

Yemen forces push towards Hodeida as death toll mounts

Sweden joins calls for stronger action to end Yemen war

The Saudi's move followed a report in the Washington Post that the U.S. was to stop refuelling aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition, amidst ongoing worldwide outcry over Riyadh's actions in Yemen, particularly after a series of coalition strikes in which scores of civilians, including several children, were killed.

Mattis went on to say that the United States would continue cooperating with the Saudi-led coalition and Yemen to "minimise civilian casualties and expand urgent humanitarian efforts throughout the country", while it would also support UN effort's to solve the crisis.

Currently, the Pentagon provides refueling capabilities for about 20 percent of coalition planes flying sorties over Yemen.

Saudi Arabia, in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA), said it had made a decision to request an end to US aerial refueling for its operations in Yemen because it could now handle it by itself.

Riyadh also has nine KC-130 Hercules aircraft that can be used, it added.

Mattis in August noted that USA support was conditioned on a Saudi commitment to doing "everything humanly possible" to avoid any loss of innocent life and Riyadh supporting a United Nations -brokered peace process to end the civil war.

The move to end refuelling cooperation may be an attempt to forestall action on the arrangement that USA politicians had promised to table next week.

Still, a halt to refueling could by itself have little practical effect on the war.

USA officials told Reuters only a fifth of Saudi-led coalition aircraft require in-air refuelling from the United States.

Fighting in Hodeidah has intensified in the last week as Yemeni government forces and their Saudi and UAE allies try to wrest control of the city from the Houthi rebels, who are backed by Iran.




The Pentagon would not confirm the Post's story.

He said the ceasefire call was an attempt "to save face after the humiliation" caused by the murder of Washington Post columnist Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi policy, that has strained Riyadh's relationship with the West.

Global focus on the conflict, which sees a Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi rebels, has sharpened in recent weeks as the country is pushed ever closer to an official starvation, which the United Nations warns will be the worst the world has seen for 100 years.

The statement also said there is concern over 900 detainees in the central prison in Hodeidah and six pre-trial detention facilities after it was hit on Monday by two mortar shells, injuring five and cutting off power and water to the prison.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened on the side of the government the following year.

The UN has warned that thousands of people have been trapped by the fighting.

Cease-fires in Yemen's civil war have rarely held, and peace talks have repeatedly broken down in the past.

"We have decided that in the present situation we will not give new licenses for the export of defense material or multipurpose goods for military use to Saudi Arabia", Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement.

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity Friday to discuss the decision before its announcement, said the end to refueling wouldn't stop American training and military assistance.

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