Saudi Arabia, US play down reports of curbs on military support
Saudi Arabia and the United States on Sunday played down media reports that Washington had decided to limit military support, including planned arms sales to the kingdom, over its war in Yemen, Reuters reported.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that Riyadh had not been officially informed of such decisions, which he described as contradicting the reality, while visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested the issue related more to a long procurement process than restrictions on military support.
U.S. officials have said Washington decided to curb backing for Saudi Arabia's campaign in Yemen, including halting the supply of some precision-guided munitions, because of concerns over widespread civilian casualties.
Yemen's 20-month-old war has killed more than 10,000 people and triggered humanitarian crises, including chronic food shortages, in the poorest country in the Arabian peninsula.
Jubeir, speaking in Arabic, told a joint news conference with Kerry: "This news that has been leaked contradicts reality. The reality is that converting regular bombs to smart bombs would be welcome because smart bombs are more accurate.
"The kingdom has received nothing official from the American government in this regard," he said in answer to a question on reported delays of U.S. weapons supplies.
Kerry appeared to play down the reports of delays to weapons supplies, suggesting procurement was often a slow process, and adding he had worked hard to move sales "forward".