Secretary of State John Kerry and his Saudi counterpart Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir today dismissed media reports citing US officials earlier this week announcing that certain arms sales were being halted to the Saudis over civilian deaths in Yemen.
Jubeir insisted that the report “contradicts reality,” and that he hadn’t been informed of any changes. Kerry said the announcement was meant to slightly change future deals in the long term, and did not represent a restriction on current military support.
With growing international concerns about the huge civilian toll of Saudi airstrikes, and US government lawyers openly fretting that the US would be held legally liable for their involvement, the US has made several announcements seemingly designed to downplay their role, and provide at least some plausible defenses for future lawsuits.
Kerry again indicated that the US is “pressing” the Saudis on a ceasefire, suggesting the next one could happen in a couple of weeks. So far, however, the ceasefires don’t end Saudi airstrikes, and don’t lead to any peace talks, meaning they are of little to no value beyond US officials being able to put their stamp on supporting a pause of a war they are intensely involved in.