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Senior US diplomat meets Yemen PM, officials in Aden

The US delegation also condemned the Iran-backed Houthis and their offensive on Marib, which they said was exacerbating the dire humanitarian situation on the ground.

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US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking is still in the region after making the trip the last week, the State Department said, adding that he met with senior government officials in Yemen’s Aden on Monday.

Lenderking and Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy to Yemen Cathy Westley visited Aden where they met with Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalek Saeed, Foreign Minister Ahmed Bin Mubarak, Aden Governor Lamlas, other senior government officials, and representatives of Yemeni civil society.

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“The visit comes at a time when Yemenis are suffering from extreme economic instability as well as security threats,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

“Special Envoy Lenderking emphasized that now is the time for all Yemenis to come together to end this war and enact bold reforms to revive the economy, counter corruption, and alleviate suffering,” Price said.

For her part, Westley welcomed the commitment of Yemen’s premier for his government to be present in Yemen. “But the government must do more to enact reforms that will help ease the suffering caused by the war,” she said, according to Price.

The US officials also called on the Yemeni government to strengthen internal coordination, “including with the Southern Transitional Council and other groups, as division weakens all parties and only exacerbates suffering.”

They also condemned the Iran-backed Houthis and their offensive on Marib, which they said was exacerbating the dire humanitarian situation on the ground.

“The US Government calls on regional and other countries to increase economic support for Yemen, noting that improving basic services and economic opportunity is an important step to building a stronger foundation for peace,” Price said.

“This visit demonstrates that the United States remains committed to helping Yemenis shape a brighter future for their country.”

The Houthis expelled Yemen’s internationally recognized government from power in Sanaa in 2014. The yearslong war has continued to gain momentum, with the Iran-backed group refusing to engage in ceasefire talks.

Washington has increased its diplomatic efforts in coordination with the UN to help reach a peaceful resolution. But one of the first foreign policy moves made by the Biden administration was to remove the Houthis from the terror blacklist and remove their senior officials from the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) list.

Biden’s decision emboldened the Houthis, according to analysts and some US officials. The decision to lift the designation of the Houthis was meant to ease the flow of humanitarian aid into Yemen, Biden administration officials said.

Last week, the US announced its biggest arms deal with Saudi Arabia since the Biden administration took office. Citing an increase in attacks, which are carried out by the Houthis against Saudi civilian targets almost daily, the US approved a $650-million-dollar arms package to Saudi Arabia.

Read more: Houthi court in Yemen sentences model Entesar al-Hammadi to five years in prison