Riyadh: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have agreed on the importance of de-escalation in military operations in Yemen amid United Nations’ peace efforts to end the conflict.
“On Yemen, agreed on need for continued de-escalation and adherence to Sweden agreements, especially cease-fire and redeployment in Hudaydah,” the US embassy in Riyadh tweeted on Monday after a meeting between Pompeo and Prince Mohammed.
The Iranian-allied Houthi rebels and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government agreed during peace talks in Sweden in December on a ceasefire in Hodeidah and to withdraw troops from the strategic Red Sea port city.
Pompeo is in Saudi Arabia on the latest leg of his regional tour, with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the blockade of neighbouring Qatar expected to be high on the agenda.
The top US diplomat arrived in the Saudi capital early on Monday, and is also set to meet King Salman bin Abdul Aziz.
Pompeo met Qatari officials a day earlier in Doha, where he called for an end to the 19-month blockade of the Gulf state by a quartet of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the UAE.
The bloc accuses Qatar of supporting groups it has proscribed as “terrorist groups”, a charge Doha vehemently denies.
“We are all more powerful when we are working together and disputes are limited,” Pompeo said at a joint news conference with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani on Sunday.
Attempts at mediation between Qatar and the blockading nations have stalled, as highlighted by the recent resignation of US envoy Anthony Zinni – who quit because of an apparent “lack of will” on behalf of “regional leaders” for regional reconciliation.