Mattis calls for Yemen ceasefire, peace talks within 'next 30 days'

EU may decide to halt Saudi arms sales over Khashoggi murder Merkel & Macron agree in Istanbul

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have called on all participants in the Yemen civil war to agree to a ceasefire in the next 30 days.

Two senior USA official have called for a ceasefire in Yemen and for parties to come to the negotiating table within the next 30 days.

Tuesday's statements by top U.S. leadership signals a drastic shift from a mute White House approach to the three-year-old conflict, which has claimed over 10,000 lives and plunged Yemen into humanitarian disaster.

Voices rejecting the war efforts in the United States have gained momentum after the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month. And we can't say we're going to do it sometime in the future.

Mr Mattis, speaking at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, said the US had been watching the conflict "for long enough".

The Top US official, who earlier headed Central Intelligence Agency, expressed that a peace effort was needed, saying we need to be doing this in the next 30 days.

The calls were later repeated by Pompeo who said Washington calls on all parties to support UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen.

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In a statement, Pompeo said missile and drone strikes by Iran-allied Houthi rebels against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should stop, and the Saudi-led coalition must cease air strikes in all populated areas of Yemen.

"It is time to end this conflict, replace conflict with compromise, and allow the Yemeni people to heal through peace and reconstruction", the secretary of state said. He also urged Houthi rebels to cease firing missiles into Saudi Arabia.

Mr Pompeo said peace talks planned by Mr Griffiths for November would aim to "implement confidence-building measures to address the underlying issues of the conflict, the demilitarisation of borders and the concentration of all large weapons under global observation".

The war between Houthi and the Yemen government started in September 2014, as the Houthi assaulted the capital city of Sanaa and controlled it along with of other northern cities, including the port city of Hodeidah, after they advanced from the northern stronghold of Saada.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in the conflict between embattled Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, whose government is recognised by the United Nations, and the Houthis in 2015. "This is the only way the U.S. can withdraw its support for the Saudis in Yemen", said Shireen al-Adeimi, an assistant professor at Michigan State University.

Almost 10,000 people have since been killed and the country now stands at the brink of starvation. Three years of Saudi-led bombardment and a blockade of Yemen has led to a catastrophic situation in the country, with 22 million people, or 80 percent of the population, in dire need of humanitarian aid.

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