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Tillerson Urges Saudi Arabia to Curb Military Role in Yemen

By VOA News December 08, 2017

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Saudi Arabia Friday to curb its military intervention in Yemen, a country in the throes of a humanitarian crisis triggered by a two-year civil war.

"We would encourage them to be a bit more measured and a bit more thoughtful," Tillerson said of Saudi Arabia after the Arab kingdom imposed a blockade on Yemen last month.

The secretary's comments in Paris came two days after President Donald Trump directed his administration to pressure Saudi Arabia to lift the blockade to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid and commercial shipments.

Also Friday, the White House issued a new statement calling on "all parties to immediately cease hostilities, reenergize political talks and end the suffering of the Yemeni people."

The White House also condemned "the Houthis' brutal repression of political opponents" in Sanaa, including the slaying of former ally, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and "their reckless missile attacks against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates," the press secretary said in a statement.

The White House also urged the Saudi-led coalition to "facilitate the free flow of humanitarian aid and critical commercial goods, including fuel, through all Yemeni ports and to restore commercial flights through Sanaa Airport."

Trump's tougher position on Saudi Arabia over its role in Yemen follows criticism from humanitarian groups that his administration has largely ignored the escalating humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Tillerson discussed the Yemeni civil war and other Middle East issues Friday at a meeting in Paris of the International Lebanon Support Group, which includes the U.N. Security Council member nations of Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

The group also discussed ways to stabilize Lebanon by pushing Saudi Arabia and Iran to stop meddling in its politics and urging the Lebanon-based Hezbollah political party and militant group to restrict its regional activities.

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