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US and UK call for all participants to agree to cease-fire in Yemen's civil war

A Yemeni child suffering from a diphtheria infection receives treatment Wednesday at a hospital in the capital Sanaa. Yemen's brutal conflict has since 2015 left some 10,000 people dead and has created what the UN has dubbed the world's worst humanitarian crisis. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Representatives from the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom have called for Saudi Arabia and other participants to end the civil war in Yemen before the end of November.

What did they say?

In a news release Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. was calling “on all parties to support UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen based on the agreed references.”

“The time is now,” Pompeo said, “for the cessation of hostilities, including missile and UAV strikes from Houthi-controlled areas into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Subsequently, coalition air strikes must cease in all populated areas in Yemen.”

Also on Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the U.S. government wanted to see “everybody around a peace table based on a cease-fire, based on a pullback from the border and then based on ceasing dropping of bombs that will permit the [United Nations] special envoy, Martin Griffiths ... to get them together in Sweden and end this war” within 30 days.

On Wednesday, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Jeremy Hunt also called for an end to the hostilities, which he called an “incredibly worrying situation.”

Saudi Arabia has been a U.S. ally for years, but Republicans and Democrats have been calling for the U.S. to put more pressure on the kingdom after the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

How bad is the war in Yemen?

The Yemeni civil war has been dragging on since 2015. Saudi Arabia has been propping up the Yemeni government, while Iran has been helping Houthi rebels who are trying to overthrow that government. The U.N. has accused the Saudi-led coalition of hitting civilian targets, including schools, medical facilities, and weddings.

According to a United Nations report on Oct. 23, 8.4 million people in Yemen depend on food assistance, and roughly 75 percent of the Yemeni population needs at least some sort of aid. Another U.N. report from Oct. 15 said that Yemen could be experiencing the “worst famine in 100 years.”

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