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US asks Oman to convince Houthis to accept Saudi ceasefire 

May 11, 2021 at 3:58 pm

Senator Chris Murphy on Capitol Hill on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC [Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images]

A US delegation has urged Oman to take a tougher stance on Yemen’s Houthi-led government by doing more to convince them to accept the peace plan proposed by Saudi Arabia.

The head of the Senate’s Middle East panel, Chris Murphy yesterday said the delegation had made the request during a trip to the region last week, as part of President Joe Biden’s administration’s claim in wanting to end the six-year war in Yemen.

Murphy met with Oman’s Foreign Minister Badr Hamad Al-Busaidi along with US Special Envoy Tim Lenderking. Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud, was also present during the meeting. Oman is a mediator in ceasefire talks between Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Houthi group.

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In a briefing with reporters yesterday the senator, who recently returned from the five-day tour which included Jordan and Qatar, said, “This is the moment for a ceasefire”, in reference to the war in Yemen.

“The Saudis have put on the table a serious offer. Now it’s time for the Houthis to do their part. Their military campaign on Marib will end in a humanitarian catastrophe,” Murphy explained.

“It is imperative the Houthis stand down in the assault of Marib. And it is imperative the Saudis make commitments regarding an end to the blockade on both the Hodeidah port and the Sanaa airport that will allow for relief goods to flow unfettered into the country.”

“If those two things happen, we can get to a political process that could seek a permanent end to the war.”

US envoy Lenderking last week also called on the Saudis to ease “all restrictions” on the Hudaydah port and Sanaa airport, which have long been points of contention for the Houthi group. Riyadh proposed a ceasefire in March, however, it was rejected by the Houthis who accused the kingdom of not being serious, and demanded that the blockade be lifted before any negotiations.

READ: Iran backs Yemen ceasefire after talks with Houthi spokesman