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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."

Go deeper

Trump's assault on Chinese tech left loose ends galore

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's haphazard war on Chinese tech has left the Biden administration with a raft of unfinished business involving efforts to restrict Chinese firms and products in U.S. markets.

Why it matters: The Chinese and American tech industries are joined at the hip in many ways, and that interdependence has shaped decades of prosperity. But now security concerns and economic rivalries are wrenching them apart.

Biden's thin, short path

President Biden has a thin, short path to success in his first six to nine months, top advisers tell Axios. His success, or failure, will dictate whether he can hold off both Republican critics — and activist Democrats who want him to go bigger, faster.

The big picture: Biden has to get vaccinations moving and the stimulus bill pumping, so the economy will start rocking, advisers said. That’s why he loaded his White House with veteran loyalists focused almost exclusively on these two topics.

Most states aren't prioritizing prisons for COVID vaccines

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Most states have not made much of their incarcerated populations eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The big picture: Jails and prisons have seen big outbreaks and a higher death rate than the general public, but with supplies still limited, most governors aren't putting prisoners at the top of the list for vaccines.