New Yorkers protest. Photo: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress this week that he believes Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are working to "reduce the risk of harm to civilians" in Yemen. Pompeo's assertion received support from Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Why it matters: Pompeo was under pressure to deliver a response by Wednesday on the issue of the Saudis' and Emiratis' actions in Yemen, in order to continue aerial refueling support for the coalition, per the Washington Post. The U.S. has been providing support for the coalition in Yemen since 2015, despite reports of possible war crimes and mounting civilian casualties.

Pompeo's statement:

"I certified to Congress yesterday that the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations of these governments."

Statement from Secretary Mattis:

"I endorse and fully support Secretary Pompeo’s certification to the Congress that the governments of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are making every effort to reduce the risk of civilian casualties and collateral damage to civilian infrastructure resulting from their military operations to end the civil war in Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition’s commitment is reflected in their support for these UN-led efforts."

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