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US slams Houthi militia over Marib escalation, says ‘fighting must end’

Biden softened Washington’s stance on the Houthis by removing them from the US terror blacklist and lifting the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) listing off its top leaders

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The Biden administration Friday, once again, called on Yemen’s Houthis to stop their escalation in Marib as the US faces increased difficulties in forcing a change in the Iran-backed militia’s behavior.

“The fighting must end,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said in a tweet after US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking spoke to UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen David Gressly.

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Since taking office, President Joe Biden has made ending the yearslong war in Yemen a priority. Biden appointed a special envoy to engage in diplomatic efforts. Simultaneously, Biden softened Washington’s stance on the Houthis by removing them from the US terror blacklist and lifted the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) decision on its top leaders.

Additionally, Biden said he would halt all support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive” operations and ordered an arms sale freeze to Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates.

On Friday, Lenderking discussed the “humanitarian imperative to halt the Houthi escalation in Marib,” according to Price. “The consequences are devastating, with one million vulnerable people overwhelming an already stretched humanitarian response,” Price said.

Earlier in the week, Lenderking said the Houthis were not cooperating or showing their interest in ending the war in Yemen.

Lenderking said the Houthis had launched at least 150 attacks against Saudi Arabia this year. The US diplomat told members of Congress and Senate that his “biggest fear” was the possibility of American civilians being killed during Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia.

The top US general for the Middle East, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, separately criticized the Houthis for their continued attacks and slammed Iran for its continued support for the Yemeni militia.

Read more: Iran still sends weapons to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, says top US general for Middle East