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As debate rages in Washington and around the world about how to slow or end the war in Yemen, the country continues to teeter on the edge of a debilitating famine.

Expand chart
Data: FEWS NET; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The big picture: The UN has said for months that Yemen is on the brink of famine, and the heads of major humanitarian organizations say the U.S. will share responsibility "for the deaths of many more Yemeni civilians" if significant action isn't taken, per CNN.

Where things stand ...

Yesterday, the Senate voted to advance a resolution that would pull U.S. support from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. That was a rebuke to President Trump, who has stood by the Saudis, but the resolution is a long way from passage.

Secretaries Mattis and Pompeo have called for a ceasefire in Yemen by Dec. 1, but that deadline is unlikely to be met. However, the sides are expected to begin talks next week in Sweden.

  • Dan Schneiderman of the International Crisis Group, and a former Yemen director at the White House National Security Council, told Axios: "It's important to remember that the Sweden talks are consultations — pre-talk talks rather than a full-blown peace process. So our expectations shouldn't be that they will end with a deal."
  • The Saudis plan to attend, per Reuters, as do the Houthis if "their safe exit and return is guaranteed." Previous talks broke down in September before they could really begin.

Meanwhile, things in Yemen are continuing to get worse.

  • Declan Walsh files from Sanaa for the New York Times: "The problem isn’t a lack of food; it’s that few people can afford to buy what food is available."
  • David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee, told Axios in a statement: "If we wait for famine to be declared, it will already be too late. ... The question is whether Congress and the Administration will do the right thing. Yemen can no longer wait."

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.

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