Yemen peace talks set for December, Mattis says

Peace talks to end the conflict in Yemen will take place in Sweden in the next few weeks, Secretary of Defen...

Posted: Nov 22, 2018 5:53 AM
Updated: Nov 22, 2018 5:53 AM

Peace talks to end the conflict in Yemen will take place in Sweden in the next few weeks, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Wednesday, as experts cautioned that there's no guarantee Saudi Arabia will take the steps needed for that to happen.

The conflict of nearly four years between a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and Houthi rebels backed by Iran has killed around 57,000 people, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, a crisis mapping project. The UN has put the death toll at 10,000, but that estimate has not been updated for years, during which the country has edged to the brink of starvation, with 14 million lives at risk in what the UN describes as possibly the worst famine in 100 years.

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Government organizations - Intl

International relations

International relations and national security

Jamal Khashoggi

James Mattis

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Misc people

Peace process

Political Figures - US

Saudi Arabia

Treaties and agreements

United Nations

Unrest, conflicts and war

Yemen

International assistance

The conflict, which began as a civil war after the ouster of a strongman leader, gathered force when Saudi Arabia and allies entered the war to counter what they saw as Iranian influence. The Gulf coalition received logistical and intelligence support from the US, UK and France, which have also been selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Mattis said that both the Houthi rebels and the internationally recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi had agreed to attend.

'You need a major change'

"It looks like very, very early in December up in Sweden we'll see both the Houthi rebel side and the UN-recognized-President Hadi's government will be up there," Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. "The Saudis and the Emiratis are fully on board," he added.

The defense secretary credited the United Nations Special Envoy on Yemen, Martin Griffiths, as well as Sweden, for helping to get the talks going.

The United Kingdom has also filed a draft resolution at the UN that emphasizes an end to hostilities and access for humanitarian aid. The draft calls for a two-week break in fighting to allow aid into the besieged country.

Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Wilson Center, said President Donald Trump's statement of support for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the face of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder suggests the US won't lean hard on Riyadh.

"You need a major change in Saudi policy to tamp down the violence in Yemen and yesterday's statements suggests to me we're not going to use the leverage we have," Miller told CNN. "We have massive leverage with the Saudis, but I see zero indication that Trump is prepared to weigh in heavily."

Mattis spoke to reporters Wednesday not long after the international aid group Save the Children announced that between April 2015 and October 2018, about 85,000 children under the age of five starved to death in Yemen because of the Saudi coalition blockade of a central port, violence and other disruptions.

The announcement Wednesday came as intense fighting has again erupted in the strategic port city of Hodeidah, a vital entry point for UN and other humanitarian aid and the center of the conflict between the US-backed Saudi-led coalition and the Iranian-aligned Houthis.

On Wednesday, Mattis said that the Saudis and the Emirates have ceased offensive operations around Hodeidah. He said that while "there has been still fighting, I would characterize it probably as a reduced level."

Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for an end to the hostilities and for peace talks at the end of October. Pressure for the US to scale back its support for Saudi Arabia is growing following Democratic victories in the House in the midterm elections and is likely to intensify after Trump's statement on the Saudi crown prince and Khashoggi's murder.

'A tragedy'

Lawmakers are calling for the US to stop providing Saudi Arabia with logistical support in Yemen or selling it arms -- a push Trump strongly rejected in his statement and in remarks to reporters Tuesday.

Bruce Riedel, director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution, noted that Trump's statement undercut his administration's diplomatic efforts to end the Yemeni violence. Some officials had been using the Khashoggi murder as leverage to get the Saudis to end the war.

Now, Riedel noted, that leverage is off the table as Trump's statement basically absolved Saudi Arabia and laid the blame at Iran's feet. Personal dynamics could also play a factor in making it hard to pressure the Kingdom to end the war. Trump doesn't like to admit he's made a mistake, Riedel noted, and the prince's ego is wrapped up in achieving a positive outcome for Saudi Arabia in the conflict.

"Khashoggi's murder is a tragedy," Riedel said. "The Yemen war is much more than a tragedy. When do you take a stand on moral issues?"

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 88°
Florence
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 87°
Fayetteville
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 87°
Decatur
Few Clouds
87° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 88°
Scottsboro
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 90°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 89927

Reported Deaths: 1580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11650225
Mobile8998191
Montgomery6198143
Madison493225
Tuscaloosa391263
Baldwin317522
Shelby300232
Marshall294730
Unassigned263351
Lee249140
Morgan220615
Etowah191425
DeKalb167713
Elmore158437
Calhoun15359
Walker145763
Houston130912
Dallas128023
Russell12201
Franklin118420
Limestone118313
St. Clair118212
Cullman111311
Colbert107612
Lauderdale105312
Autauga101020
Escambia96515
Talladega89013
Jackson8163
Chambers81438
Tallapoosa80478
Dale77619
Butler75135
Blount7223
Covington70420
Coffee7035
Chilton6976
Pike6547
Barbour5625
Lowndes54624
Marion53524
Marengo51514
Clarke4849
Hale44925
Bullock43711
Perry4284
Winston42811
Wilcox4029
Monroe3884
Randolph38810
Conecuh37110
Bibb3643
Pickens3639
Sumter36118
Washington31011
Macon30813
Lawrence3060
Crenshaw2843
Choctaw27312
Henry2433
Greene24011
Cherokee2337
Geneva2260
Clay2165
Lamar1942
Fayette1695
Cleburne1141
Coosa902
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 109627

Reported Deaths: 1073
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby21296285
Davidson19320199
Rutherford604251
Hamilton562147
Knox392634
Williamson323022
Sumner316069
Unassigned29244
Out of TN282312
Wilson206420
Montgomery171111
Bradley170510
Sevier17025
Trousdale15726
Putnam154713
Robertson143216
Hamblen121713
Tipton11049
Blount10987
Maury10665
Washington10382
Madison88912
Bedford86210
Macon83413
Hardeman79411
Sullivan7809
Lake7440
Bledsoe6681
Loudon6493
Fayette6178
Anderson5995
Dickson5871
Gibson5582
Cheatham5445
Dyer5427
Rhea4971
Jefferson4892
McMinn47920
Lawrence4746
Obion4274
Henderson4260
Carter4245
Lauderdale4216
Coffee4112
Warren4004
Hardin3987
Cocke3911
Cumberland3756
Greene3695
Haywood3695
Smith3613
Monroe3569
Roane3561
Giles3449
Hawkins3244
McNairy3105
DeKalb3041
Franklin2854
Marshall2632
Weakley2603
Lincoln2511
Carroll2263
Hickman2260
Crockett2233
Wayne2141
Claiborne2120
Henry2110
Campbell2071
Marion2064
Chester1921
White1913
Grainger1680
Polk1661
Johnson1600
Decatur1591
Unicoi1360
Overton1341
Union1180
Cannon1170
Jackson1071
Grundy1012
Humphreys1013
Scott1010
Meigs960
Sequatchie940
Benton921
Morgan791
Fentress740
Hancock741
Perry740
Stewart700
Clay620
Lewis561
Houston550
Moore420
Van Buren320
Pickett221

 

 

Community Events