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Some progress made towards ceasefire in Yemen, Washington says

March 13, 2021 at 12:02 pm

Houthis check weapons on military trucks during a tribal gathering on 1 August 2019 in Sana’a, Yemen [Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images]

The US Department of State announced on Thursday that “some progress” had been made towards establishing a ceasefire in Yemen, while calling on the warring parties to commit further to this step.

This came in a statement following the return of the US Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Linder King from a visit to the region aimed at strengthening the United Nations (UN)-led efforts to end the conflict and address a growing humanitarian disaster in the country.

Washington confirmed that Linder King: “Spent additional time in Riyadh and Muscat trying to push the parties to adhere to a ceasefire.”

“While some encouraging progress has been made, more commitment from all sides is needed,” Washington added.

The US Department of State called on the Houthis to stop the attacks on Saudi Arabia and the gas-rich Marib region, which is the last government-controlled stronghold in northern Yemen.

READ: Saudi envoy says Houthi attacks on Aramco threaten workers from 80 countries

The US also urged the parties to the conflict in a joint statement with the UK, Italy, Germany and France issued in London on Thursday to stop the cross-border attacks and the offensive on Marib.

Linder King held talks with the Houthi chief negotiator Muhammad Abdulsalam in the Omani capital, Muscat, on 26 February, at a meeting that neither side had officially announced.

During his visits, Linder King met with Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and his foreign minister in Riyadh, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan, and a number of officials in the Gulf states, amid intense diplomatic efforts made by Joe Biden’s administration to end the war.

Biden had appointed the veteran US diplomat in early February as special envoy for Yemen amid the escalation of the war in the country.

On 4 February, the US President announced that he had decided to suspend his country’s support for military operations in Yemen, including related arms sales.

Yemen has been witnessing a war for years between government forces backed by an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the Iran-backed Houthi group, which led to the deaths of 233,000 people.

The ongoing conflict in the Yemeni state has left 80 per cent of the population dependent on aid to survive, according to UN estimates.