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Helicopter crash in Yemen leaves 12 Saudi soldiers dead

Helicopter crash in Yemen leaves 12 Saudi soldiers dead

Mattis began a visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to discuss efforts to strengthen commitments to the US-Saudi security partnership.

He added that "It has gone on for a long time".

Political analyst Hamdan Al-Shehri said the worldwide community should be clearer in identifying the party that keeps obstructing a peaceful solution to the Yemeni crisis. "The Houthis and ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh are like puppets controlled by Iran; they do what the Iranians tell them to do".

The government asserted that any step made towards peace in Yemen should include a UN intervention that forces rebels to accept peace according to UN Resolution 2216.

The coalition said it was now investigating the cause and circumstances of the crash. "It is in our interest to see a strong Saudi Arabia", Mattis said at the start of talks, pointing to the country's "military security services and secret services".

Prince Mohammed told Mattis that Saudi Arabia and the United States are working to counter challenges in the region, including "the malign activities of Iran" and to bring stability "to the most important straits".

The Saudi-led coalition has been waging a military campaign to dislodge Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels, who seized Yemen's capital Sana'a and other parts of the country in 2014, forcing the country's internationally-recognized government to flee into exile.

He will then travel to Egypt, Israel, Qatar and Djibouti.

United States officials speaking on condition of anonymity said the situation in Yemen came up in their meetings with Saudi officials, including with King Salman and Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defence Mohammed Bin Salman.

"We are not leaving this region", Mattis said.

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