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US raps Yemen’s Houthis for passing up major opportunity for peace, snubbing UN envoy

“Contradictory to their pronouncements regarding the humanitarian situation in Yemen, the Houthis worsen it by continuing to attack Marib and exacerbating dire conditions for already vulnerable, internally displaced Yemenis,” Friday’s statement read

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The Iran-backed Houthis have passed up a “major opportunity” to prove that they want to reach a peaceful solution to the yearslong war in Yemen, the State Department said Friday.

In a statement released following US Special Envoy Tim Lenderking’s most recent trip to the region, the State Department revealed that the Houthis refused to meet with UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in the Omani capital of Muscat.

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Since being tapped by President Joe Biden, Lenderking has been working in tandem with Griffiths to help broker a ceasefire in Yemen.

During his latest trip, Lenderking met with officials from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and permanent members of the UN Security Council in the region.

The international community, and the Biden administration specifically, have been highlighting the dire humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen; however, focus on the Houthi offensives and terrorist activities took a backseat in many reports and statements.

In what appeared to be a new sign of frustration with the refusal of the Houthis to be constructive in reaching a solution to the war, the State Department slammed the Yemeni group.

“Contradictory to their pronouncements regarding the humanitarian situation in Yemen, the Houthis worsen it by continuing to attack Marib and exacerbating dire conditions for already vulnerable, internally displaced Yemenis,” Friday’s statement read.

On the flipside, Saudi Arabia, which exerts significant influence in Yemen and with the Yemeni government, has repeatedly expressed its willingness to reach a peaceful solution. That would include the Houthis in potential negotiations for a way forward.

“There is a fair deal on the table that will bring immediate relief to Yemeni people. The Houthis passed up a major opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to peace and to make progress on this proposal by refusing to meet with UN Special Envoy Griffiths in Muscat—especially given the Republic of Yemen Government’s stated readiness to reach an agreement to end the conflict,” the State Department said.