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US seeks to turn Yemen truce into political process

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - JULY 22: U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is greeted by Saudi Arabian Assistant Minister of Defense Mohammad Al-Ayesh, center, and U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Tim Lenderking, left, as he arrives on a E4-B military aircraft at King Abdulaziz International Airport on July 22, 2015 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Carter is meeting with Saudi King Salmon and other Saudi officials. (Photo by Carolyn Kaster - Pool/Getty Images)
US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Tim Lenderking (L) in 2015 with the Saudi Arabian Assistant Minister of Defense Mohammad Al-Ayesh (R) [Carolyn Kaster - Pool/Getty Images]

The United States yesterday said it hopes that a recent truce in Yemen could develop into a "comprehensive political process."

"If the truce in Yemen continues for two months, it could transform into an inclusive political process that includes all," the US envoy to Yemen, Tim Lenderking, told Al-Hurra, adding that Washington was hoping for both warring parties in Yemen "to abide by the truce."

The commitment of the parties in Yemen to the truce, Lenderking pointed out, would boost my confidence in the "possibility of turning this truce into a permanent ceasefire and a political process."

He added that the US government was "happy to see Iran welcoming the truce."

READ: Saudi Arabia welcomes extending Yemen truce for two months

Lenderking stressed that Washington had "strongly encouraged" Saudis to engage in talks with Iran, noting that the US administration was "closely monitoring" that situation.

Impoverished Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa. The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

The war, in which the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) back the Saudi-led coalition, has claimed the lives of more than 377,000 Yemenis and left 80 per cent of the population – about 30 million people – dependent on aid to survive, according to UN data.

Asia & AmericasIranMiddle EastSaudi ArabiaUSYemen
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