Pompeo calls for Yemen peace talks in November

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday issued his strongest statement yet on the civil war in Yemen, calling for peace talks next month.

“The time is now for the cessation of hostilities, including missile and UAV strikes from Houthi-controlled areas into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” Pompeo said. “Subsequently, Coalition air strikes must cease in all populated areas in Yemen.”

{mosads}He also called for a substantive meeting in November to discuss the issues underlying the conflict. 

“A cessation of hostilities and vigorous resumption of a political track will help ease the humanitarian crisis as well,” Pompeo said.

His remarks came on the same day that Defense Secretary James Mattis hastened the timeline for a ceasefire in Yemen, putting more pressure on neighboring Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. has been backing the Saudi-led coalition, which is fighting a proxy war with Iran.

“The longer-term solution, and by longer term I mean 30 days from now, we want to see everybody around a peace table, based on a ceasefire, based on a pullback from the border and then based on ceasing dropping of bombs that will permit the [U.N.] special envoy Martin Griffiths — he’s very good, he knows what he’s doing — to get them together in Sweden and end this war,” Mattis said at the United States Institute of Peace.

Saudi-U.S. relations have been rocky ever since U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Saudi Arabia initially said the Washington Post columnist left the consulate alive. The country’s explanation changed several times before it said Khashoggi was murdered, and that the killing was premeditated.

Mattis on Tuesday said Khashoggi’s death is a separate issue from the Yemen civil war.

“The murder of Khashoggi is, I would separate it out from the Yemen situation,” Mattis said. “That stands unique, by itself. The president said we want to get to the bottom of it. We will get to the bottom of it.”

Tags Houthi James Mattis Mike Pompeo Saudi Arabia Yemen yemen civil war

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