US foreign policy

Top US diplomat calls on Iran-backed Houthis to halt offensive against Yemen’s Marib

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that Saudi Arabia and the government of Yemen are “committed and eager” to find a way to end the war in Yemen and called on the Iran-backed Houthis to do the same.

Speaking after a visit to the region by his Yemen envoy Tim Lenderking, Blinken told a UN humanitarian aid pledging conference: “He reports that the Saudis and the Republic of Yemen government are committed and eager to find a solution to the conflict.”

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Blinken called on the Houthi militia to cease the cross-border attacks and military offensives that he said had prolonged the war.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly been targeted by missile attacks claimed by the Yemeni rebels.

“The necessary first step is to stop their offensive against Marib, a city where a million internally displaced people live, and to join the Saudis and the government in Yemen in making constructive moves towards peace,” he said.

The battle for Marib has threatened camps for internally displaced people who have fled there during the six-year war.

Around 140 sites have sprung up in the region to provide basic shelter for the displaced, who number up to two million, according to Yemen’s government.

The United Nations has warned of a looming humanitarian disaster if the fight for Marib continues, saying it has put “millions of civilians at risk.”

During the donor conference, Blinken said aid alone would not end the conflict. “We can only end the humanitarian crisis in Yemen by ending the war ... so the United States is reinvigorating our diplomatic efforts to end the war.”

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