In an unusual public demand of Saudi Arabia, President Trump has called on Saudi leaders to ease the blockade of Yemen to allow for humanitarian aid to assist the war-torn and decimated country.
“I have directed officials in my administration to call the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to request that they completely allow food, fuel, water and medicine to reach the Yemeni people who desperately need it,” Trump said in a brief statement Wednesday.
“This must be done for humanitarian reasons immediately.”
As of November, according to The Hill, 5,295 civilians have been killed and another 8,873 injured in the war, United Nations figures claim. The United States has supported Saudi Arabia and the GCC-led intervention into the civil war in Yemen to restore to power the UN recognized leader of the country, President Hadi.
It is first time since the beginning of the Trump Administration that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia found themselves publicly in disagreement on two separate regional political issues at once.
The Saudi government joined a chorus of world leaders in condemning the Trump Administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The U.S. decision reversed decades of US policy on the sensitive issue for Saudi Arabia, a major benefactor of Palestinians and inspiration for the Arab Peace Initiative, launched in 2002.
The Saudi Royal Court issued a statement saying that the kingdom followed “with deep sorrow” Trump’s decision and warned of “dangerous consequences of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem,” according to Reuters. The statement also urged the U.S. administration to reverse its decision and adhere to international will.
Saudi Arabia described the decision as an “unjustified and irresponsible step” and said it represents “a bias against rights of Palestinian people,” according to Reuters. Saudi Arabia also said the move represents “a big step back in efforts to advance the peace process” and said it was “a violation of the U.S. Neutral position regarding Jerusalem.”
At least 16 Palestinians have been wounded in clashes in the occupied West Bank, during protests against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The official public statements put out by the two governments used respectful language to convey heavier messages of disagreement on regional issues, highlighting a concern on both sides to keep overall relations strong between the two allies. Saudi leaders has praised decisions taken by President Trump, who made Saudi Arabia his first international visit as president in April.