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Kerry to Discuss 'Humanitarian Pause' in Yemen with Saudis

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday he will talk to Saudi Arabia about the implementation of a "humanitarian pause" in military operations in Yemen in order to facilitate aid operations.

"I will be there in Saudi Arabia tonight. We will be discussing the nature of the pause and how it might be implemented," Kerry told reporters in Djibouti. "We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation that is unfolding in Yemen."

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Ministry: Three Killed in Bombardment of Saudi Border City

Three people were killed in a cross-border mortar bomb and rocket attack by Iran-backed Yemen rebels on a city in southern Saudi Arabia, Riyadh's interior ministry said.

It did not specify if those killed were civilians or troops.

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Qatar Says Yemen's Hadi Wants Peace Talks May 17 in Riyadh

Yemen's exiled president wants talks between his country's rival political forces to begin in the Saudi capital on May 17, Qatar's foreign minister said after a regional summit on Tuesday.

This is the first time a date has been mentioned for the proposed talks, which the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council insists must be held in Riyadh, which is leading a coalition launching air strikes on Iran-backed Yemen rebels.

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Saudi King Warns of Iran Threat as GCC Leaders Meet in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia's King Salman said Tuesday that Gulf leaders must stand up to Iran, as Yemeni rebels backed by Tehran attacked a Saudi border town with mortar shells.

Salman's call came at a meeting of Gulf monarchs in Riyadh that was also attended by French President Francois Hollande, who said his country was "by the side" of Gulf nations.

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In Saudi, Hollande Calls on Kingdom to Abolish Death Penalty

French President Francois Hollande called on Tuesday for abolition of the death penalty, speaking in Saudi Arabia which this year has seen a large rise in the number of executions.

The ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom has executed 78 locals and foreigners, compared with 87 during all of 2014, according to an AFP count.

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Yemen Rebels Shell Saudi Town, Prompting Warning

Mortar shells fired by Iran-backed rebels in Yemen struck the Saudi border town of Najran on Tuesday, prompting a Saudi-led military coalition to warn it would hit back.

The al-Ekhbariya state television showed images of parked cars with windows blown out, chunks torn out of the sidewalk, a building peppered with shrapnel, and one room completely charred and with a hole in the roof. 

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Fabius: France, Saudi Discussing Multi-Billion-Euro Projects

France and Saudi Arabia are discussing economic projects worth tens of billions of euros, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday.

"If concluded, these 20 projects would be worth tens of billions of euros," Fabius told reporters in Riyadh.

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Saudi King Sacks Senior Aide for Photographer 'Slap'

Saudi Arabia's King Salman sacked a senior aide on Tuesday, shortly after a video posted online appeared to show the official slapping a photojournalist, state media said.   

Salman replaced the head of royal protocol Mohammed al-Tobayshi with Khalid al-Abbad, according to a decree published by the SPA official news agency.

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Reports: Indonesia to Stop Sending Domestic Workers to Lebanon

Indonesia will stop sending new domestic workers to 21 Middle Eastern countries, including Lebanon, reports said Tuesday, after the recent execution of two Indonesian women in Saudi Arabia angered Jakarta.

Other countries affected by the ban are Saudi Arabia -- a major destination for Indonesian maids -- United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran and Egypt.

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Analysts: Reality on Ground in Yemen Unchanged Weeks into Air War

Saudi-led air strikes against rebels in Yemen have destroyed much of their military capabilities, but almost six weeks into the campaign the situation on the ground remains unchanged, analysts said.

Last month, the kingdom declared the strikes against the Iran-backed rebels that began on March 26 a success and announced the end to daily air raids, saying operations had entered a second phase focused on political efforts, aid deliveries and "fighting terrorism."

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