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Saudi, UAE acting to reduce risks to Yemen civilians, says US

September 13, 2018 00:00:00

Mike Pompeo

WASHINGTON, Sept 12 (AFP): US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday he has "certified" that coalition partners Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are acting to reduce risks to civilians from their military operations in Yemen.

Pompeo said he delivered the certification on Tuesday to Congress, as required by US law to continue American refueling of Saudi and UAE warplanes in the conflict, which has led to the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

In a statement, Pompeo said both countries "are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations of these governments."

The United Nations estimates that as many as 10,000 people have died in the conflict, most of them civilians, since the Saudi-led coalition launched military operations in 2015 in support of the internationally recognized government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Government forces are fighting Iran-backed Huthi rebels who seized control of Sanaa in 2014.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a separate statement endorsing the certification, which he said has been illustrated by coalition support for United Nations-led efforts to end the conflict.

"The Trump administration has been clear that ending the conflict in Yemen is a national security priority," Pompeo added in his statement.

He said Washington would work closely with the coalition to ensure Saudi and UAE support for UN peace efforts and to allow unimpeded access for commercial and humanitarian relief supplies to reach Yemenis.

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