Arab coalition working to reduce civilian deaths in Yemen — US State Department

US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speak in the Press Briefing Room at the US Department of State in Washington, DC. (File photo / AFP)
Updated 14 September 2018
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Arab coalition working to reduce civilian deaths in Yemen — US State Department

WASHINGTON: The Arab coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen is taking steps to reduce civilian casualties, the US State Department said on Thursday as it defended a certification to Congress by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to avoid limits on US aid to Saudi Arabia.
“They are taking steps, in the view of the US government and this administration, in the right direction,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing. “We see them taking steps...Do we see them doing what they can to mitigate civilian casualties? Absolutely we do,” she added.
Her comments came a day after Pompeo told Congress that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were working to reduce civilian casualties.
Pompeo said in a statement that he told Congress that the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE were taking concrete steps to reduce the risk of harming civilians and civilian infrastructure due to the operations of the Yemeni Legitimacy Alliance.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis confirmed that he fully supported and approved Pompeo’s certification, adding that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are making every effort to reduce the risk of civilian casualties and collateral damage.
Mattis also said the United States is working with the UN special envoy to achieve a negotiated end to the fighting.


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 50 min 10 sec ago
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”