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US calls for Yemen ceasefire 'within 30 days'


IANS Washington
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have called on all parties in the Yemen civil war to agree to a truce "in the next 30 days" amid criticism of Washington's support for the Saudi-led coalition in the conflict.
"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 to get them together in Sweden and end this war," Mattis said at an event at the US Institute of Peace here on Tuesday.
A similar call was later made by Pompeo, who said: "The US calls on all parties to support Griffiths in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen."
Mattis and Pompeo both insisted that the US-backed Saudi-led coalition and the Iranian-aligned Houthis stop their respective aerial and missile attacks, CNN reported.
The Trump administration has been criticized by activists and some members of the Congress for its support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen.
UN human rights experts say coalition forces may have committed war crimes in Yemen and humanitarian organisations say their partial blockade of the country had helped push 14 million people to the brink of famine.
The murder of the US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the kingdom agents in Istanbul earlier this month also strained ties between Washington and Riyadh.
David Miliband, the President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, called Pompeo's statement "the most significant breakthrough in the war in Yemen for four years".
The US military provides the Saudi coalition with training meant to help minimize civilian casualties as well as aerial refuelling of coalition warplanes.
Mattis said the "goal right now was to achieve a level of capability by those forces fighting against the Houthis, that they were not killing innocent people".

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First Published: Oct 31 2018 | 7:34 PM IST

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