US confirms ‘de-conflicting’ with Russia, seeks political solution for Yemen

The “deconfliction” hotline between the US and Russia is still operational, US Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters on the way to Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to discuss defeating ISIS in Syria and ending the war in Yemen.

Mattis is in the Middle East on a weeklong tour, starting with Saudi Arabia, where he landed Tuesday. He is scheduled to meet with the Saudi leadership, including King Salman, and discuss the war effort against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and the bloodbath in Yemen.

“We are deconflicting with the Russians,”Mattis told reporters en route to Riyadh, adding, “We are not coordinating with the Russians.”

“We continue to deconflict with the Russians for safety of flight, to avoid any kind of misunderstanding, or any kind of inadvertent running into each other” as the two militaries carry out strikes against targets in close proximity, the Pentagon chief said.