Saudi king hosts Abu Dhabi crown prince amid Yemen offensive

President Trump shakes hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House in March

The move comes amid an ongoing worldwide outcry over Saudi actions in Yemen, particularly after a string of high-profile coalition strikes that have killed scores of civilians, many of them children.

The United States effectively gave a green light to the Saudi-led offensive when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on September 12 certified continued American support for the coalition's air campaign against the Houthis.

Saudi King Salman hosted Abu Dhabi´s crown prince on Saturday, state media said, as a military coalition led by the two Gulf allies pushes an offensive to seize the strategic Yemeni port city of Hodeida.

The United States is halting refueling of aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen, the USA and Saudi Arabia said on Friday, ending one of the most divisive aspects of U.S. assistance to the Saudi war effort.

Beyond refueling, the United States provides limited intelligence support to the Saudi-led coalition and sells it weaponry used in Yemen's war. "The U.S. will also continue working with the coalition and Yemen to minimize civilian casualties and expand urgent humanitarian efforts throughout the country".

The Saudi Press agency released a statement on Saturday explaining that the coalition was able to "increase their capacity" for refueling their aircraft and would do so independently going forward.

The move comes at a time of global outrage over the murder of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and after Democratic and Republican lawmakers threatened to take action in Congress next week over the refueling operations.

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said Friday that the United States supports Saudi Arabia's "decision" to cease American aerial refueling.

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In August this year, he warned that U.S. support for the coalition was "not unconditional", noting it must do "everything humanly possible to avoid any innocent loss of life".

Another nine loyalist fighters were reported killed by medics at a hospital in government-held Mokha, south of Hodeida.

The World Health Organisation estimates almost 10,000 people have been killed since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the government's war against the Houthis, driving the insurgents from the Red Sea coastline but failing to retake Hodeida.

United Nations Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths is aiming to convene the country's warring parties for peace talks by the end of the year.

The coalition expressed hope in its statement that his efforts would lead to a negotiated settlement, including an end to Houthi missile attacks that have targeted Saudi cities and vessels off the port of Hodeidah.

The US sees Saudi Arabia as a key ally, especially in terms of providing a counter to Iranian influence in the region.

Almost 10,000 people have since been killed and the country now stands at the brink of starvation.

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