Secretary of Defense James Mattis met with Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday at the Pentagon as part of an effort to strengthen one of America's most important strategic alliances.
The 32-year-old prince, who spoke through a translator, said his nation's cooperation with the United States would continue to grow.
"Under the leadership of you, Mr. Secretary, the cooperation has improved tremendously between the two ministries of defense, and we will continue doing so in the future," the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.
Mattis emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship and noted efforts to address malignant Iranian activities and the civil war in Yemen, which neighbors Saudi Arabia to the south.
In 2015, a Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen against Iran-aligned Houthis, who ousted the recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The now-three-year campaign is estimated to have killed 10,000 and displaced more than 2 million people.
"As you discussed with President Trump on Tuesday, we must also reinvigorate urgent efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to the civil war in Yemen, and we support you in this regard," Mattis said to the prince.
When the secretary was asked whether he would discuss civilian casualties in the war in Yemen, Mattis reiterated the U.S.' aim to end the war.
"We have been working very hard with the new U.N. envoy to end the fight in Yemen, and we believe that Saudi Arabia is part of the solution. They have stood by the United Nations-recognized government, and we are going to end this war, that is the bottom line," Mattis said. "We are going to end it on positive terms for the people of Yemen but also security for the nations in the peninsula."