U.S. ends refueling support in Yemen war as pressure builds on Saudi Arabia
[Reuters] WASHINGTON/CAIRO - Saudi Arabia and the United States have agreed to end U.S. refueling of aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi insurgents in Yemen, ending a divisive aspect of U.S. support to a war that has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.
The move, announced by the coalition on Saturday and confirmed by Washington, comes at a time when Riyadh, already under scrutiny for civilian deaths in Yemen air strikes, is facing global furor and potential sanctions over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2.
The United States and Britain late last month called for a ceasefire in Yemen to support U.N.-led efforts to end the nearly four-year long war that has killed more than 10,000 people and triggered the world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis.
"Recently, the Kingdom and the Coalition increased its capability to independently conduct inflight refueling in Yemen. As a result, in consultation with the United States, the Coalition has requested the cessation of inflight refueling support for its operations in Yemen," it said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia has a fleet of 23 planes for refueling operations, including six Airbus 330 MRTT used for Yemen, while the United Arab Emirates has six of the Airbus planes, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya al-Hadath channel reported on Saturday.
Riyadh also has nine KC-130 Hercules aircraft that can be used, it added.
Posted by: Besoeker 2018-11-10