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US to keep aiding Saudis in Yemen: Pompeo

AFP , Saturday 1 Dec 2018
SAUDI and USA
File Photo: Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman and US's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (AFP)
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed Saturday that the United States would continue supporting Saudi Arabia's military campaign in Yemen, despite rising outrage over the cost of the war.

Speaking from a Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, Pompeo acknowledged that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen -- where millions are at risk of starvation -- had reached "epic proportions" but said Washington and Riyadh were offering aid.

"The program that we're involved in today we intend to continue," Pompeo told CNN when asked about military assistance to the Saudi-led coalition.

The US Senate on Wednesday took an initial vote to cut off the war support, with 14 members of President Donald Trump's Republican Party defying appeals from Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

A final vote could come in the next week, setting the stage for a fresh battle if Trump vetoes the bill.

Pompeo, who met in Buenos Aires with his Saudi counterpart, has backed the war as a way to counter Iran, which has ties to Yemen's Houthi rebels.

Pompeo reiterated his insistence that there was no "direct evidence" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Khashoggi, who lived in the United States and wrote for The Washington Post.

Prince Mohammed is taking part in the Buenos Aires summit.

Trump has said it is vital to preserve the decades-old alliance with Saudi Arabia, as the kingdom is the top buyer of US weapons and key oil supplier.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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