The United States and its allies and partners hope a U.N. team will negotiate an end to the conflict in Yemen, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said today.
"We see Iranian-supplied missiles being fired by the Houthis into Saudi Arabia -- and this is something, with the number of innocent people dying inside Yemen, that has simply got to [be] brought to an end," Mattis told reporters on his plane while en route to Saudi Arabia.
The goal is for a U.N. team to try to resolve the conflict "politically, as soon as possible," Mattis said.
Last month, the commander of U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, described Yemen as a "critically unstable state engrossed in a civil war."
The situation, as Votel explained in a written statement to the House Armed Services Committee, has produced a "significant humanitarian crisis and growing instability ripe for exploitation" by violent extremist organizations, most notably al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and IS-Yemen, an affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
"The lack of a comprehensive peace agreement that leads to a durable resolution of the conflict under a unified Yemeni government further contributes to continued uncertainty in the country," Votel explained.
(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)