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Pompeo, Mattis Underscore Strength of American-Saudi Ties

Pompeo, Mattis Underscore Strength of American-Saudi Ties

Sunday, 16 December, 2018 - 06:15
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (AFP)
Washington - Moaz al-Omari
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis stressed the strength of ties between Washington and Riyadh, saying the alliance between them serves both sides and safeguards American people.

They added Friday that the US Senate’s vote to cease support for the Yemen war is up for debate in the American administration.

"We certainly have great respect for what the legislative branch does and we're in constant contact with members on Capitol Hill so we understand their concerns," Pompeo told reporters.

“We are in constant contact with members on Capitol Hill so that we understand fully their concerns and do our best to articulate why our policies are what they are and how we can ensure we are getting the right policy for the United States of America and to keep our country safe.”

He added the Saudis serve as a bulwark in combating aggression from Iran that threatens the United States, and that President Donald Trump would not relent on policies aimed at protecting Americans.

He said there was a "real risk to the United States of America" from Iran, which is allied with Houthi militias in Yemen.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people that the Iranians killed and been involved in their deaths all across the Middle East. There’s real risk to the United States of America, you’ll recall that the Iranians and their explosive devices killed hundreds of American soldiers. President Trump is determined to make sure that we protect America all the while holding accountable those who committed the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” he said.

Mattis said that the Defense Department respects the Senate vote and noted recent progress in seeking to end Yemen’s civil war.

The conflict is on the verge of ending according to a political solution, he remarked in wake of the Sweden talks that concluded on Thursday that saw the legitimate Yemeni government and Houthis make progress in resolving the war.

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