WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States may halt refuelling of aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday, a move that would end one of the most divisive aspects of U.S. assistance to Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, acknowledged the matter was under consideration by both countries and suggested that the decision could ultimately be made by Saudi Arabia, given its own refuelling capacity.
It was not immediately clear what had prompted the change, which comes at a time of international outrage over the murder of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and after Democratic and Republican lawmakers threatened to take action in Congress next week over the refuelling operations.
The Pentagon, State Department and White House declined to comment.
"We continue to have discussions with the Saudis. We have nothing to report at this time," Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebarich said.
Critics have long questioned U.S. involvement in the war, which has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than 2 million and led to widespread famine in Yemen since it began in 2015.
The United States had previously defended its assistance to the Saudi-led coalition on the grounds it was aimed at ending the conflict with a negotiated resolution.
Senators Todd Young, a Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, called on Friday on the Trump administration to stop the refuelling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft.
"If the administration does not take immediate steps... we are prepared to take additional action when the Senate comes back into session," Young and Shaheen said.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; writing by Makini Brice; editing by David Alexander and Sonya Hepinstall)
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Updated Date: Nov 10, 2018 07:05:21 IST