U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in Saudi Arabia Tuesday for the first stop on his week-long trip to the Middle East and North Africa. Speaking on the plane to reporters, Mattis hailed the U.S.-Saudi Arabia relationship.
Defense Secretary James Mattis: "We’re on our way. First stop, Saudi Arabia. As you know, this is a nation that has been a key security ally since 1944, when FDR and the king began this relationship. They remain a pillar of our security framework for the region and for American interests."
In Riyadh, Secretary Mattis called for a political solution to the ongoing war in Yemen, where the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Houthi rebels. More than 10,000 people have been killed, the majority killed by the Saudi bombing campaign, and the war has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.
While in Riyadh, Mattis also called North Korea’s recent failed missile test "reckless." The Guardian is reporting the U.S. military is considering plans to shoot down future North Korean missile tests and that Mattis has briefed Congress on the possible escalation.