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US may halt refueling of aircraft from Saudi-led coalition

US may halt refueling of aircraft from Saudi-led coalition 102444661 463565054

Mohammed Hamoud | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Houthi rebels take security measures with tanks around the parliament in Sanaa, Yemen, in February 2015.

The United States may halt refueling of aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday, a move that would end of the most divisive aspects of U.S. assistance to Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, acknowledged the matter was under consideration by both countries and suggested that the decision could ultimately be made by Saudi Arabia, given its own refueling capacity.

It was not immediately clear what had prompted the change, which comes at a time of international outrage over the murder of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and after Democratic and Republican lawmakers threatened to take action in Congress next week over the refueling operations.

The Pentagon declined to comment.

“We continue to have discussions with the Saudis. We have nothing to report at this time,” Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebarich said.

Critics have long questioned U.S. involvement in the war, which has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than 2 million and led to widespread famine in Yemen since it began in 2015.

The United States had previously defended its assistance to the Saudi-led coalition on the grounds it was aimed at ending the conflict with a negotiated resolution.

Senators Todd Young, a Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, called on Friday on the Trump administration to stop refueling Saudi coalition aircraft.

“If the administration does not take immediate steps… we are prepared to take additional action when the Senate comes back into session,” Young and Shaheen said.

Source : CNBC

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