Mattis holds UAE talks after warning over US support for Yemen war

Mattis holds UAE talks after warning over US support for Yemen war
The Pentagon chief previously warned the US backing Yemen's war was "not unconditional".
2 min read
08 September, 2018
James Mattis has previously defended Washington's role in the ongoing war [Getty]

Pentagon chief James Mattis held talks in Abu Dhabi late Friday, after warning that US support for its military intervention in Yemen was not unconditional.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed tweeted that his talks with Mattis covered "the enhancing of defence and military ties" and "issues of mutual interest". He did not give further details.

Friday's remarks follow Washington's warning on 28 August that it could end its support for Saudi Arabia and the UAE's intervention in Yemen, which began in March 2015. The Gulf allies have come under intense international outcry over the deaths of dozens of children in coalition air raids last month.

Twin strikes south of the rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida on 23 August killed 26 children, the UN said.

A 9 August strike in the Houthi rebel heartland of Saada province killed 51 people, 40 of them children, according to the Red Cross.

The US provides weapons, aerial refuelling and intelligence and targeting information to the coalition.

"It is not unconditional," Mattis said. "Our conduct there is to try and keep the human cost of innocents being killed accidentally to the absolute minimum".

The war in Yemen has left more than 10,000 people dead and unleashed what the UN describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Eight million of Yemen's 28 million are on the brink of famine. 

In 2014, the Houthis drove the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi out of the capital to Aden, prompting the intervention of Saudi Arabia and its allies the following year.

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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