Top US diplomat for Yemen heading back to Middle East for third trip in two months

Lenderking previously said he would return to the region once the parties were ready to talk

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US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking will head to the Middle East for the third time since being appointed by President Joe Biden, the State Department announced Thursday.

Lenderking will meet with senior government officials “in coordination with UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths,” the State Department said.

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According to the statement, Lenderking’s discussions will focus on joint international efforts to “promote a lasting ceasefire and peace agreement in Yemen.”

The veteran US diplomat returned from the region two weeks ago after spending almost a month abroad as he attempted to mediate a ceasefire between the Yemeni government and the Iran-backed Houthis. The two sides have been engaged in a yearslong war, which has led to one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in the world.

During his last trip, Lenderking proposed a ceasefire initiative to the Houthis. They quickly rejected the US plan, which the United Nations reportedly backed.

Lenderking previously said he would return to the region once the parties were ready to talk.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat Prince Faisal bin Farhan proposed another ceasefire plan. The Yemeni government, as well as Europe, Washington and the UN, all welcomed the Saudi initiative.

On Thursday, the Houthis reportedly welcomed parts of the plan and relayed the message to Omani officials who played an important mediating role.

But the Houthis continue their offensive on Marib, one of the final government strongholds in the north, and they have escalated their cross-border attacks against civilian targets inside Saudi Arabia.

Read more: Houthis prioritizing military campaign in Marib over peace in Yemen: US envoy

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