TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – The US said that the Saudi-led coalition and Yemenis should meet in Sweden in next 30 days in order to begin talks to end the war that has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.
The US said talks to end the war in Yemen must start in November, pressuring Saudi Arabia to dial back its aggressive foreign policy following the murder of a vocal critic of the kingdom.
In separate remarks, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis said the Saudi-led coalition and Houthis must move toward a political resolution to a war that has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. Mattis said the warring parties should meet in Sweden in 30 days.
The killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a former Saudi court insider, has focused international attention on the policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
In addition to the war in Yemen, the 33-year-old has led an unprecedented political and economic embargo against neighboring Qatar and engaged in diplomatic confrontations with Germany and Canada, Bloomberg reported.
“The time is now for the cessation of hostilities,” including missile and drone strikes by Houthis against Saudi Arabia and its ally the United Arab Emirates, Pompeo said in a statement. “Subsequently, coalition air strikes must cease in all populated areas in Yemen.”
The statements are the strongest yet from US officials against the war in Yemen since the Saudi campaign began.
“The question becomes what enforcement measures the US has in mind?” said David B. Roberts, an assistant professor at King’s College London who studies the (Persian) Gulf.
Mattis in a speech on Tuesday said Saudi Arabia and the UAE were ready for talks.
“We’ve got to move toward a peace effort and we can’t say we’re going to do it some time in the future,” he said. “We need to be doing this in the next 30 days.”
Warring parties must “meet in Sweden in November and come to a solution, not talk about subordinate issues,” Mattis said at the US Institute of Peace event. Discussions should focus on demilitarizing the Yemeni border and placing Houthi missiles “under international watch and parked somewhere where they can be accounted for.”
The killing of Khashoggi has led to growing pressure from both parties in Congress for the US to punish Saudi Arabia, including even halting weapon sales to Riyadh, something President Donald Trump has ruled out.
“Both the Trump administration and the Saudis have little choice but to accept the inevitable and agree to a cease-fire,” said Fawaz A. Gerges, professor of Middle Eastern politics at the London School of Economics.
The exact number of fatalities from Yemen's brutal civil war is unknown, with the tally frozen at 10,000 for two years, an independent research group has announced that the death toll for combatants and civilians between January 2016 and October 20, 2018 is at least 56,000.