Following widespread criticism of the U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s war, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged all parties in the conflict to agree to a ceasefire “in the next 30 days.”
“Thirty 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 (UN) 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 an event at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington.
The defense secretary’s comments were echoed by Pompeo, who likewise called on “all parties to support UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen,” adding that consultations under Griffiths must begin next month in a third country.
The two men also agreed that the Saudi-led coalition and Iran-tied Houthis must end their aerial bombings and cease hostilities.
“We’ve got to move toward a peace effort here, and you can’t say we’re going to do it sometime in the future. We need to be doing this in the next 30 days. We’ve admired this problem for long enough down there, and I believe that the Saudis and the Emirates are ready, and in fact had the Houthis not walked out of the last effort that Martin Griffiths had going, we’d probably be on our way there right now,” Mattis said.
Their comments were met with praise and applauded by the president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband, who said that they represent the greatest breakthrough in the four-year conflict. He pointed out, however, that it is vital that the calls for ceasefire be followed through.
The U.S. military refuels about 20 percent of the Saudi’s warplanes and provides training meant to help minimize civilian casualties.