Saudi coalition halts refueling deal with US for Yemen war
A refuelling arrangement between the United States and the Saudi-led coalition operating in Yemen was ended on 10 November, halting a key part of Washington's involvement in the conflict.
Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said he supported Saudi Arabia's ‘decision’ after the official Saudi Press Agency said the coalition asked for the ‘cessation of inflight refuelling support’ from the United States.
‘Recently the Kingdom and the coalition has increased its capability to independently conduct inflight refuelling in Yemen,’ the SPA said.
‘As a result, in consultation with the United States, the coalition has requested cessation of inflight refuelling support for its operations in Yemen.’
Mattis said: ‘We support the decision by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.’
In August the Defense Secretary warned that US support for the coalition was ‘not unconditional,’ noting it must do ‘everything humanly possible to avoid any innocent loss of life.’
The Pentagon had provided refuelling capabilities for about 20% of coalition planes flying sorties over Yemen.
Mattis last month made a surprise call for a ceasefire in Yemen and urged warring parties to enter negotiations within the next 30 days.
The United Nations has now pushed that deadline back to the end of the year.
The US sees Saudi Arabia as a key ally, especially in terms of providing a counter to Iranian influence in the region.
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