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Iran-backed Houthis refusing to engage ‘meaningfully’ on a Yemen ceasefire: US

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The Iran-backed Houthi militia continues to block progress towards reaching a ceasefire in Yemen, the US State Department said Friday after its top diplomat for the war-torn country returned to Washington.

“The Houthis continue a devastating offensive on Marib that is condemned by the international community and leaves the Houthis increasingly isolated,” the State Department said in a statement following Special Envoy Tim Lenderking’s sixth publicized trip to the region.

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Lenderking was appointed by President Joe Biden shortly after he entered the White House in a sign of the president’s ambition to end the war in Yemen.

Last month, the US slapped sanctions on two Houthi officials for their role in the offensive on Marib, one of the last Yemeni government strongholds.

Lenderking also blasted the Houthis for rejecting a meeting with UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths last month.

The Houthis virtually met with Griffiths after the sanctions.

However, after returning from his sixth trip, Lenderking appeared to still be dissatisfied with the Houthis.

“While there are numerous problematic actors inside of Yemen, the Houthis bear major responsibility for refusing to engage meaningfully on a ceasefire and to take steps to resolve a nearly seven-year conflict that has brought unimaginable suffering to the Yemeni people,” the State Department said.

During his most recent trip, Lenderking made stops in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Jordan.

Separately, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke today with his Omani counterpart on Friday to discuss regional issues, including the Yemen war. “The Secretary and Foreign Minister noted the importance of an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire to help bring the war in Yemen and the humanitarian suffering of the Yemeni people to an end,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said.

Oman is one of the multiple Gulf and Arab countries attempting to facilitate and mediate peace talks on Yemen.

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