The United States Wednesday praised the Yemeni government’s decision to clear four fuel ships to enter through the Hodeidah port and called on the Iran-backed Houthi militia to halt its offensive in Marib.
The State Department said the Yemeni government’s move was “a step in the right direction, but many more steps are needed, particularly an immediate end to the offensive in Marib and a comprehensive ceasefire.”
The State Department did not specifically mention the Houthis, although it has criticized the group for its offensive.
Since President Joe Biden took office, the US has taken a renewed interest in ending the yearslong war in Yemen. However, as Biden has softened Washington’s stance on the Houthis by revoking their designation as a terror group and removing three of its senior leaders from the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) list, they have escalated their attacks.
These include cross-border missile and drone attacks against Saudi Arabia and a renewed offensive on Marib, one of the government’s final strongholds in the north of Yemen.
“We call on all parties to come to the table to negotiate for the sake of Yemen and its people,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price in the statement.
Price added: “The free flow of fuel and other essential goods into and throughout Yemen is critical to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance and other essential activities.
“The fuel must go to Yemeni markets without delay to power hospitals, ensure the delivery of food and access to water, and generally help alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.”
A tweet from the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs bureau said Biden’s special envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, was looking forward to continuing his engagements to promote a lasting ceasefire and peace agreement in Yemen.
The U.S. welcomes the news that fuel shipments have been cleared to enter Hudaydah Port; a positive step from the Republic of Yemen Gov’t. #USEnvoyYemen Lenderking looks forward to continuing his engagements to promote a lasting ceasefire and peace agreement in Yemen. https://t.co/KsIeLRSYyK— U.S. State Dept - Near Eastern Affairs (@StateDept_NEA) March 25, 2021
So far, the Houthis have snubbed a US ceasefire proposal as well as a Saudi Arabian proposal that was put forth just this week.
Saudi Arabia has called on the Houthis to prove that they care more about the Yemeni people than the interests of its backers in Tehran.
The international community, including Europe, the US, and the United Nations, all welcomed the Saudi initiative announced by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan.