Obama, Saudi King discuss urgency of stopping Yemen fighting

US President Barack Obama (left) shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's King Salman at the start of a bilateral meeting at Erga Palace in Riyadh.
US President Barack Obama (left) shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's King Salman at the start of a bilateral meeting at Erga Palace in Riyadh. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama and Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Tuesday discussed the "urgent" need to end fighting in Yemen, hours after Saudi-backed loyalists retook control of Aden airport.

After discussion about a recently inked nuclear deal with Iran, the White House said Obama and Salman "also spoke about the urgency of stopping the fighting in Yemen and the importance of ensuring that assistance can reach Yemenis on all sides of the conflict."

The White House has repeatedly pressed for an end to the conflict in which Saudi Arabia has led a coalition air and naval campaign south of its border.

It has also called for talks to end the crisis.

Leading Sunni power Saudi Arabia has been deeply concerned about Iranian influence in its impoverished southern neighbor.

Riyadh launched a devastating air campaign in March against the rebels and their allies in the armed forces.

Aden airport had been in the hands of the rebels since soldiers of the 39th Armored Brigade defected on March 25.

The fighting has raged despite a UN-declared six-day ceasefire that was supposed to have taken effect shortly before midnight Friday.