Saturday, May 8, 2021

Houthis ‘passed up major opportunity’ by refusing UN meeting: US | Al Jazeera

Houthi representatives “passed up a major opportunity” by refusing to meet in Oman with United Nations special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths, the US State Department said on Friday, urging all parties to negotiate an end to the brutal six-year conflict.

“There is a fair deal on the table that will bring immediate relief to Yemeni people,” the State Department said in a statement released upon the return to the United States of Special Envoy Tim Lenderking from a round of meetings in Oman, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

“Contrary to their pronouncements regarding the humanitarian situation in Yemen, the Houthis worsen it by continuing to attack Marib and exacerbating dire conditions for already vulnerable, internally displaced Yemenis,” the State Department statement said.

US President Joe Biden appointed Lenderking to revive diplomatic efforts to bring the war in Yemen to an end. Biden has announced an end to US military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, blamed for targeting civilians, and launched a diplomatic effort to find a political solution in Yemen.

The Iranian-backed Houthis have been attacking government forces in the oil-rich province of Marib in a drive to gain leverage in any political settlement. Lenderking told the US Congress last month that Iran is providing material support and weapons to the Houthis.

In Saudi Arabia, Lenderking held meetings with senior government officials, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on April 30, whom he urged to ease the Saudi blockade of the maritime port at Hodeidah and the airport in Sanaa.

After meetings in Oman and Jordan, Lenderking returned to Riyadh for meetings with senior officials and urged the Saudis to reach a ceasefire agreement and to support political talks with the Houthis, the US statement said...

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