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Top officials from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, key players in a coalition fighting Yemeni rebels, have discussed military cooperation following a positive response by Riyadh to a truce offer from the insurgents. Saudi's deputy defence minister Prince Khalid bin Salman met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in the UAE capital to discuss "coordination and joint action in defence and military affairs", Emirati state news agency WAM reported on Monday. The two officials, who spoke late Sunday, also discussed the "challenges" facing the Gulf region and "their implications on the security" of the region, WAM said.

Last week, Prince Khalid said on Twitter that a truce offer made last month by Yemen's Huthi rebels was "perceived positively" by the kingdom and hoped it would be "implemented effectively". Since 2015, Riyadh has led a military coalition in support of Yemen's internationally recognised government against the Iran-backed Huthis. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, according to humanitarian organisations, and left Yemen faced with what the UN terms the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The Huthis offered to halt all attacks on Saudi Arabia as part of a peace initiative to end the devastating conflict, later repeating their proposal despite continued air strikes from the Saudi-led coalition.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2019


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