Pompeo says Yemen rebels not complying with truce deal

Riyadh: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday accused Yemen’s rebels of failing to comply with a ceasefire agreement for the flashpoint city of Hodeida reached at UN-sponsored talks in Sweden.

“The work that was done in Sweden on Yemen was good, but both sides (need) to honour those commitments,” Pompeo said in Riyadh following talks with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Today, the Iranian-backed Huthis have chosen not to do that.”

The US embassy in Riyadh said Monday that Pompeo and Prince Mohammed “agreed on (the) need for continued de-escalation and adherence to (the) Sweden agreements”, especially the ceasefire in the lifeline port city of Hodeida.

“A comprehensive political solution is only way to the end the conflict,” the embassy tweeted.

Pompeo’s visit to Riyadh comes as US President Donald Trump faces Congressional pressure to end logistical support to Saudi Arabia, which is leading a military coalition in Yemen on the side of the government.

The rebel-held port city — through which more than 80 percent of imports and humanitarian aid pass — was for months the main front line in the Yemeni conflict after government forces launched an offensive to capture it in June.

The United Nations has said the Hodeida truce has largely held since it came into force on December 18 but there have been delays in the agreed pullback of rebel and government forces.

The Huthis control most of Hodeida while government forces are deployed on its southern and eastern outskirts.

Since the Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the government in March 2015, the conflict has killed nearly 10,000 people and unleashed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.