US stops refuelling Saudi aircraft in Yemen after atrocities

 smh.com.au  11/10/2018 3:27:14 AM  3

US stops refuelling Saudi aircraft in Yemen after atrocities

Washington: The United States will stop refuelling Saudi Arabian aircraft fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to a statement released by the Saudi kingdom.

US officials said earlier on Friday that the Pentagon was taking steps to end the arrangement.

A woman holds her malnourished son in Hajjah, Yemen last month.

A woman holds her malnourished son in Hajjah, Yemen last month.Credit:AP

Other US officials said the refuelling change does not affect the US military assistance and training to improve the Saudi airstrikes, which have reportedly caused thousands of civilian deaths.

As a result, any decision to halt the US refuelling will likely have little impact on the fight, but will allow the Trump administration to say it has taken action against the Saudis for the devastation in Yemen.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said Saudi Arabia was already providing four-fifths of its refuelling, and its capacity was growing.

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The Saudi statement said it had "increased its capability to independently conduct inflight refuelling," and therefore "requested cessation of inflight refuelling support for its operations in Yemen".

The US action comes amid growing congressional anger against Saudi Arabia, a key ally and the country where President Donald Trump made his first visit abroad after taking office.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has attracted the ire of the US in the wake of the October 2 killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of the crown prince, inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Turkey says Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered at the consulate in Istanbul by a 15-member assassination squad, including agents close to the prince.

AP

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