US and Britain call for immediate ceasefire in Yemen

US and Britain call for immediate ceasefire in Yemen

The United States and Britain have called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Yemen after crisis talks in London this afternoon.

The call comes following an air strike on a funeral gathering in the Yemeni capital Sanaa that killed 140 people according to a United Nations' estimate.

Fighting between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government - which is supported by a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf states – has been underway for more than 18 months.

Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia admitted responsibility for the funeral attack and blamed incorrect intelligence and improper procedures.

The United States has supported the coalition against the Houthis over the past year with intelligence, weapons and mid-air refuelling aircraft.

The American military also struck directly against the rebels over the past week - marking an escalation of US involvement in the conflict.

On Wednesday, The Pentagon announced it had struck and destroyed three Houthi-controlled radar sites in the country. 

The Pentagon said the sites were involved in two missile attacks over the past four days on the destroyer USS Mason, which is operating between Yemen and east Africa.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and the British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson today held meetings in London with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and senior UAE officials.

Mr Kerry said he could not emphasize enough “the urgency of ending the violence in Yemen."

Mr Kerry said now is the time to, “implement a ceasefire unconditionally and then move to the negotiating table."

Mr Johnson said the conflict in Yemen was "causing increasing international concern; the fatalities that we're seeing there are unacceptable."

"There should be a ceasefire and the U.N. should lead the way in calling for that ceasefire," he said.

The officials have also held crisis talks on Syria with French, Italian and German ministers today as part of a renewed push to broker peace in the worn-torn country.