US to Saudis: Temper actions on Yemen, Qatar, Lebanon

US secretary of state advises kingdom to be 'a bit more measured' and 'thoughtful' in its actions in the Middle East.

    The Trump administration is asking Saudi Arabia to temper its actions with regard to Yemen, Qatar and Lebanon amid reports of new civilian deaths in Yemen.

    Speaking in Paris on Friday, Rex Tillerson, US secretary of state, called on Saudi Arabia to be "measured" in its military operations in Yemen.

    He declared strong American support for the kingdom's internal reforms, which include Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's purge of powerful princes, businessmen and military officers as part of a stated anti-corruption campaign.

    At the international level, however, Tillerson urged Saudi restraint.

    "With respect to Saudi Arabia's engagement with Qatar, how they're handling the Yemen war that they're engaged in, the Lebanon situation, we would encourage them to be a bit more measured and a bit more thoughtful in those actions to, I think, fully consider the consequences," he said.


    He once again demanded a "complete end" to the Saudi-led blockade of Yemen so that humanitarian aid and commercial supplies could be delivered.

    Tillerson's comments came as Yemeni officials said air raids launched by a Saudi-led military coalition had killed at least 23 civilians, including women and children, in the country's north.

    Abdel Elah al-Ezi, head of the health directorate in Saada, said Friday's raids were carried out in different areas of the Yemeni city. 

    Saada is a stronghold of the Iran-aligned Shia Houthi rebels battling the internationally recognised Yemeni government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

    The rebel-run Saba news agency reported the attacks, as did tribal officials.

    The Saudi-led military coalition has been at war with the Houthi rebels for over two years, resulting in food shortages, malnutrition and cholera outbreaks across Yemen.

    Yemen has been in a state of civil war since 2014, when the Houthi rebels took Sanaa.


    The Saudi coalition has been operating there since March 2015.

    The conflict has killed more than 10,000 civilians and driven the Arab world's poorest country towards a humanitarian disaster.

    In his remarks in Paris, Tillerson said he "would encourage" the Saudis "to be a bit more measured and a bit more thoughtful in those actions, and fully consider the consequences".

    Tillerson was to hold talks with top French officials and Saad Hariri, Lebanon's prime minister who unexpectedly resigned from his post in November while in Saudi Arabia.

    Tillerson's comments also come after US President Donald Trump released a statement on Wednesday saying he had directed officials in his administration "to call the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to request that they completely allow food, fuel, water, and medicine to reach the Yemeni people who desperately need it.

    "This must be done for humanitarian reasons immediately".

    What is next for Yemen after Saleh's killing?

    Inside Story

    What is next for Yemen after Saleh's killing?

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    We visualised 1.2 million votes at the UN since 1946. What do you think are the biggest issues facing the world today?

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.