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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Yemen's exiled president met Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday, his first meeting with a top-level U.S. official since fleeing his country amid an advance by Iran-linked rebels.
"Good to see you here in Riyadh," Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi told Kerry when the pair shook hands in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. "Hopefully we'll see you in Sanaa soon," Hadi added, referring to the Yemeni capital.
"Ah, there's some work to do," Kerry replied. "Let's do the work."
Hadi is Yemen's internationally-recognized president and has been backed by the U.S. as a key ally against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He fled Yemen for Saudi Arabia in late March after Shiite Houthi rebels, backed by forces loyal to the president's predecessor, attempted to seize power.
The president's departure coincided with the start of a bombing campaign by a Saudi-led coalition. At least 646 civilians have been killed and 1,300 others injured since the airstrikes began, according to the United Nations.
In addition to his meeting with Hadi, Kerry was expected to hold discussions in Riyadh with the Saudi government about a "pause" in the conflict so humanitarian assistance could be delivered. On Wednesday, he pledged an additional $68 million aid to Yemen from the United States.
— Abigail Williams and Alexander Smith
Smith reported from London.