US gets payment from Saudi-led coalition for refueling

First payment made, yet remainder of $299M expected, says Pentagon.
WASHINGTON: The U.S. received its first reimbursement payment from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, after Washington failed to charge for fuel and refueling charges, the Pentagon said Thursday.

“The U.S. has received initial reimbursement for the additional refueling expenses following notification to the Saudi-led Coalition of the billing error,” Pentagon spokeswoman Rebecca Rebarich told Anadolu Agency in a statement.

The Pentagon said in December it was seeking seeking $37 million for fuel and $294 million for mid-air refueling services conducted by American forces, totaling $331 million owed by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“The process of reimbursement is continuing, and we continue to expect full reimbursement of refueling expenses, which has been revised to approximately $299,000,000 for fuel, refueling and flight hours,” Rebarich said.

The charges to Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been for their campaign in Yemen to fight Houthi rebel forces.

Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country and the crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition, with support of the U.S., launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

The UN describes the situation as one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times.

Tens of thousands of people, including civilians, are believed to have been killed and the UN estimates 14 million Yemenis are at risk of famine.–AA

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